Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
Release Date: 28th March 2011 (originally 21/01/95)
Other Titles in the Series: The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass
“Without this child, we shall all die”
Lyra and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. But the destiny that has awaited her since birth takes her on a dangerous journey to the frozen North in search of a kidnapped friend. It is a journey that will have immeasurable consequences for her own world...
When great modern children’s literature is talked about, Northern Lights is one of the most frequently mentioned books. And I hadn’t read it until last week.
My expectations for the first book in Philip Pullman’s beloved trilogy were sky-high – I was expecting to fall into this world and never want to leave, to love Lyra and Pan so much it hurt and to gobble down all three books within days. And while I did eventually enjoy Northern Lights, it didn't quite meet all the hype that I’ve been hearing since I became attuned to the book world. I think that the problem that I had with this book was that Philip Pullman didn’t explain all of the different terms and names and there was barely no exposition at all.
However, I do think that this is what captures children in this novel. You were firmly planted in Lyra’s world as if you lived at Jordan with her or travelled with the gyptians – there would have been no reason to be told about your own world. There are of course, things that Lyra doesn’t know or understand as well so we learnt along with her about Dust, the Gobblers and the daemons. But though I understand this, it didn't get on my nerves a little and I would have liked a little more exposition earlier on in the novel.
When I first started Northern Lights and was a little disappointed that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I wanted to it was the mysteries and my curiosity that kept me going. The idea of the daemons and their connection to the humans fascinated me and I really, really wanted to know how that worked. I also felt the same about Dust, especially with what was going on in the North...
I’m really glad I picked up Northern Lights and that I ended up enjoying it. I shall definitely be reading the rest of the trilogy.
For my 2011 British Books Challenge