His Dark Materials: Northern Lights – Philip Pullman

February 22, 2010 § 16 Comments

Some of my favourite blogger friends have been so excited when I ‘announced’ that I would be reading His Dark Materials, and have said rave things about it. They told me how much they loved this trilogy, how it was their favourite fantasy genre book of all time, and how much they hope I love it too. So it’s only natural for me to have some form of expectation going into this book.

Well. Much as I had my hopes up for a good story, I had not set myself up for such an adventure. And I’m not buttering anything up when I say that I loved this first volume, Northern Lights.

I cannot do a proper review of this book. Not right now. All I can really say is, I’m loving Mr Pullman for writing such a magnificent piece of work. And I just can’t wait till I finish this post and get right on with the next book in this trilogy, The Subtle Knife.

There were just so many things about this story that I loved. I’m absolutely in love with Lyra, but more so with her dæmon, Pantalaimon (or Pan for short, but really, that’s just such a beautiful name). I love Lyra’s spirit, her strong sense of friendship and justice and doing what’s right according to what her gut and her dæmon tell her. I love how she lets herself get into trouble, how she lies to get herself out of it, and how she just pieces things together without really knowing how she does it herself.

And I love the gyptians (they travel in boats!); and the cast-out armoured bear, Iorek Byrnison; and the witches, particularly Serafina Pekkala and her dæmon. But really, how in the world did Pullman even imagine and create that alethiometer (an instrument to measure truth)?! That thing is just pure magic. In fact, the whole story has been pure magic for me.

I know the book had been made into a movie before this, The Golden Compass, but I didn’t watch it then. I’m wondering if I should watch it now that I’ve read and enjoyed this book so much, or if I should just leave the movie alone while I allow myself to fully immerse in the world that Pullman so skilfully created for me in the pages of his book. I’m guessing I shouldn’t risk watching the movie, but I’m still open to suggestions, especially from you fellow lovers of His Dark Materials, you know who you are. =)

Rating: 5


§ 16 Responses to His Dark Materials: Northern Lights – Philip Pullman

  • Am glad you enjoyed this as much as I did – well, your thoughts make it sound like you did!! Lyra’s a great character, and I do love Pan!

    Believe it or not, the adventure doesn’t end, nor does it become stale. It keeps on going, and even when you finish the final book in the trilogy, you’re begging for more.

  • Susan says:

    First of all, I love the cover on this book. Secondly, your enthusiasm is quite contagious–I am adding this one to my TBR list!

  • Vishy says:

    I love the cover of the edition you are reading! I haven’t read this trilogy by Philip Pullman, but have been wanting to, for sometime. I haven’t seen the movie series too, because I wanted to read the books first. Looking forward to reading the second part of your review 🙂

  • Aimee says:

    whoohoo! I must admit I was a *little* scared of this post when I first saw it….i thought OMG what if Michelle doesn’t like it??!!
    Well, thank goodness you did.
    I must suggest NOT watching the movie until you’ve read the all the books…in my humble opinion the movie was nowehere near the standard it should’ve been…it was confusing and too deep in places where it should have been light, and it was too shallow in places where it should’ve been deep. And they totally effed up the ending. You will see what I mean when you watch it, but PLEASE try not to watch it before you’ve read the series, otherwise I’m afraid it might marr your view of the books.

    SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT. I can sleep now.


    • Michelle says:

      *That* nervous, Aimee? Guess you really did love the book to bits!

      I’m actually wondering if I should watch the movie after all. It scares me sometimes, to watch adaptations of books I really really love, especially books I’ve only just read.

  • Nymeth says:

    Hooray! I’m THRILLED that you liked it 😀 I haven’t watched the movie because I love the series so much that I’m scared to 😛 That sounds silly, I know, but I can’t help it.

  • chasing bawa says:

    I agree with Aimee about the film. Better to watch it after as it may not meet your expectations. The thing that I loved about His Dark Materials were the Daemons. Imagine having a physical manifestation of your soul!

    • Michelle says:

      Ooh, I so loved the dæmons. It almost makes you want to have your own, doesn’t it? Like having this constant companion to hold close and keep you company. And imagine being a child, and your dæmon keeps changing its appearance! So awesome.

  • farmlanebooks says:

    It has been a long time since I read this trilogy, but I loved it! It was so original! I hope that you enjoy the rest of the trilogy, but don’t expect much from the DVD – it is terrible in comparison.

    • Michelle says:

      I’m already well into the second book, and loving it. And I’ve made a decision to NOT watch the movie. It’s just scaring me more and more, how it doesn’t measure up.

  • Nish says:

    I made a mistake watching the movie and then reading the books…somehow it spoilt the pleasure for me.

    The books are really good. Do finish them before attempting the movie

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