Saturday, May 7, 2016

Northern Lights

Title: Northern Lights

Author: Phillip Pullman

First Published: July 1995

Series: His Dark Materials #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Available As: Hardcover, paperback, ebook

Pages: 399

My Copy: Physical copy

My Rating: 8/10

Goodreads Summary
Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the alethiometer. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.

This book is beautifully written, with great descriptions and world building. Lyra lives in a world similar to ours, but is different in little, subtle ways.

Lyra is quite young, compared to other female protagonists in the YA genre these days. She's around 12-13, and she's already as determined, as wilful and as courageous as - let's say - Katniss.  Even though she's only a young girl, don't underestimate her! The lengths she goes to find the truth and save her friend are astounding. She is also a girl of many talents. Her biggest one is: telling lies. Ironic, no? Equipped with the aleithometer (i.e. the truth-o-meter), she gets to ask any question and it will tell the truth. Lyra lies a lot. And with fluency. She rarely stutters when coming up with a lie, and that's what gets her out of sticky situations.

There are a couple of religious themes in this book. The Magisterium (The Church) is the main ruling body. There's also something called the Dust, which is ominously referred to throughout the whole book, and we only really find out what it is in the last chapter. No spoilers here!

It was a little difficult to keep up with the number of characters introduced in this book. I found myself mixing up Iofur and Iorek when I wasn't paying attention! Did that happen to you? Anyways, even with a huge number of characters, each played an important role in Lyra's journey north. Not everyone was a friend - some foe - but there were many who opted to help Lyra.

This is a captivating book that is suitable for anyone who likes some good fantasy. It's a little different from the fantasy books we read nowadays (with bloodshed and love triangles and wars), but Northern Lights focuses on Lyra's search for the truth and her thirst for adventure.

My Chosen Quote
“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”

1 comment:

  1. So enjoyed this one when I read it. I liked it best in His Dark Materials


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