I first chose The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman as one of the books to join my “Year of the Series” rainbow list because it’s been on my shelf for too long already. It’s a book I’ve wanted to read for awhile, especially since I picked up a copy at a random used book sale.
It then found a place on my 2017 Reading Challenge list as #26, a book set in a country I’ve never been to. Finding a country I’ve never been to wasn’t hard. I’ve only been outside the United States on three occasions. Finding a book set in another country, however, proved more difficult. The majority of the books I’d chosen were fantasy novels set it a world all their own, and not in the real world. By process of elimination, therefore, The Golden Compass ended up in this slot.
It turns out, The Golden Compass isn’t technically set in our world after all. It’s an alternate universe version of our world. Pullman has created a beautiful world filled with stunning language and imagery. His fantasy realm is anchored on our own world, at once both familiar and foreign.
This is the story of Lyra, an eleven year old girl who ends up caught between forces much larger than herself. But that’s not to say that she is merely driven along the path of the story by destiny. Lyra is a precocious, curious little girl who is quite capable of taking matters into her own hands. Her decisions impact the direction the story will go.
The tale that ensues is a fantastic ride. The writing is so smooth, it’s not difficult to set aside the questions and wait for the answers. There is so much I liked about this book, but to share it here risks spoiling the fun for someone else. I found this to be a phenomenal and satisfying read, and book two is set up perfectly at the end of this one. (Making a mental note to acquire the rest of the series!)