The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
For a cold magical adventure, for children who are cleverer and braver than adults, for surprising philosophical discussions, for a really masterful balance of chaos and calm to keep you pulling effortlessly through the pages
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–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.
Edit: the above blurb does not do this book justice. That is the absolute bare bones of it all, and I’m astonished that such a long-lived and excellent novel has such a lackluster blurb. I guess they figure it doesn’t need any help at this point…? But trust: it’s a wonderful and exciting story!
This is one of those books that I thought I missed the boat on because it came out when I was too young to read it. Technically it came out when I wasn’t even 1 year old, so definitely not on my radar at that point. Kind of like with Harry Potter, I figured that even if it was a good book it wouldn’t have the same impact on me as it might have at that time. Essentially, my expectations were kind of low going into this. I didn’t think it would be a bad book, but I wasn’t sure I was going to be the target age or audience at this point.
Having just finished it today, I’m not sure what the target audience is! This is one of those books that has a main character who is a child and yet it’s extremely entertaining and accessible for an adult. I assume there’s a lot in it that a child would like as well, such as adults being terrible, magic bears, shape-shifting demons, and children outwitting adults. Frankly, three out of four of those are things I enjoy as well at my age. And enjoy it I did!