First Impression Friday: “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman

First of all, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Today, I’m starting The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. It’s one of those kids’ series that I missed growing up, and now that my husband has moved in with me, I have access to all of his books, too, and there are so many that I haven’t read yet or that I missed out on when I was younger. The Golden Compass is one of those books. I don’t know what I’ll read after I finish this; maybe I’ll finish this trilogy before the end of the year! I’m hoping to start 2021 off with a re-read of The Lord of the Rings and then The Expanse (because I have only read books 1-4 of that, and I own the next three as well).

From Book Shop:

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steall–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.

But what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other…A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman’s award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which continues with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

I love how you’re thrown right into the fantasy setting from the very first sentence: “Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall–”

You’re thrown into the action from the start, with Lyra moving about the college and into rooms where the narrator takes care to tell us that no females were ever invited – it was just for the scholars. Of course, something goes wrong and Lyra gets trapped in the room, hiding in a wardrobe (a nod, at least in my head, to the Narnia books) and watches as the Master of the college poisons wine meant for Lord Asriel, who also happens to be Lyra’s uncle.

Lyra ends up showing herself to her uncle when he is alone in the room (for he arrived first, before anyone else finished dinner), and although he is furious at her for breaking the rules, he uses her as a spy in the wardrobe, to keep an eye on the Master. And of course, I’m over here thinking that this is great, because obviously the Master is the bad guy, right?

By the end of Chapter 2, I’m no longer sure, because we’re swung away from Lyra’s point of view for a few minutes to watch a conversation between the aforementioned Master and his companion, the Librarian. The Master wishes Asriel had taken the wine, because then Lyra could have been saved. Apparently, she’s got a prophecy or something about her, and she’s got a much bigger role to play than anyone would have ever imagined. (Surprise, it’s a kid’s fantasy series!)

I have absolutely nothing to go off of for the rest of this book. I’ve never read anything about this series, nor have I ever seen the movie, nor have I watched the HBO series (if it’s even out yet). I am completely flying in the dark about this one, and I am very excited.

Merry Christmas! And as always, keep reading.

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