Review: Northern Lights (aka. The Golden Compass)

Friday, 14 November 2014
Author: Philip Pullman
Edition: Scholastic Paperback
Released: 1st March 2011
Series: His Dark Materials #1
Pages: 413 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

"Without this child, we shall all die"

Lyra Belacqua 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 far beyond her own world...

I'd wanted to read this book ever since I'd learnt that The Golden Compass movie was based off of it. I loved the movie and really wanted to know if the book was just as good and hopefully re-experience the same feeling I felt whilst watching the movie when reading the book. Luckily, I did and really enjoyed it!

This is one of those books where you couldn't help but acknowledge the fact that you'd probably have loved it more if you were younger. Don't get me wrong, I did still thoroughly enjoy it (and I'm not saying anyone older shouldn't read it) but as a child, I always craved a fantastical adventure and a good, old-fashioned quest, and this book provided just that. I would have loved it so, so, so much was I 11, 12 or 13 but, as it stands, I did still adore it a lot because of these things! (I do still crave adventure. A lot, by the way.)

Not only did I love the fact Lyra was on a quest, of sorts, I also loved how a lot of different characters were introduced to us along the way and all the hiccups that occurred on the journey. I just love it when you're introduced to a good bunch of varying characters! I was unsure of Lyra to begin with - I thought she was going to be a really selfish, self-centred character who was almost too childish for my liking but she developed throughout the course of the novel and I really adored her by the end! Pan, Lyra's daemon, was also a great character. Loyal and, though similar to Lyra in some respects, slightly different. I liked how they balanced each other out. I just basically loved how people in this world had daemons. It made me want a daemon so bad! I also loved Ireuk (the bear) and the way his relationship with Lyra developed.

If there's something I could say about it that falls on the negative side, it would be that it's a little slow-going. Not in the way that it was slow-paced - something was always happening - but in the way that it just felt like I wasn't getting through it as speedily as I should have been. Agh, I don't know. I don't really know how to explain it. Maybe there was just so much to process? I'm not quite sure.

In conclusion, Northern Lights ended up being a delightful read that still managed to capture and interest fragments of my imagination, although maybe not as much as it would have had I been slightly younger, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I adored the array of characters and the relationships that cultivated between them. I hope to pick up the sequel at a later date!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo


  1. I know what you mean about enjoying it more when you were younger! I still love the entire trilogy but rather in a way that I respect it more now because of how much I loved it when I was 9/10! Funnily enough I actually read the last book first when I was like seven, I usually needed to pull out a dictionary between chapters ;P [which at the time was a big accomplishment for me because i had tiny wrists and it was in hardback and like 400+ pages, haha] Great review Rachel! Fi xx


      Yeah, I still enjoyed it now but I would have loved, loved, *loved* it at 9/10!

  2. I love this book and the series, I'm glad you mostly enjoyed it too.

    1. Hopefully I'll be able to say 'I love the series' if I read all the books! :)

  3. For years I thought Northern Light and the golden compass were two different things *face palm*.
    I'd love to read the series, my cousin has been telling me to read them for yonks. But I found the Golden Compass so so confusing....
    Lovely review! ^_^

    1. Maybe reading the series would clear up some of your confusion? ;)


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