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I was so thankful that I have endured reading the Golden Compass because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have known that this was such a superb piece of creation. Surprise, surprise. For the first pages, things are a bit confusing with all the talk of daemons, Dust, Aurora and other weird words that if you’re not patient enough, you’ll just lose it. But Philip’s done a good job in narrating the story that along the way, everything just fell into pieces wonderfully. By the middle part, I felt that I’m already one of the gyptians going with Lyra to the North.
There are a lot of things that I love about the book. I love the idea of the steampunk and how it basically controls the whole plot of The Golden Compass. I love the characters especially Lyra, Farder Coram, Lord Faa, Lee Scoresby, Serafina and most of all, Iorek Byrnison. Lyra’s tough, wild and an occasional liar yet loyal, compassionate and brave… a heroine through and through. While Lord Faa and Farder Coram gave me impressions of security and leadership. And then, there’s Iorek Byrnison…OMG, he is the Zeus of all bears (as in literally) with his dangerous aura, muscle prowess and rogue ways. Who would have ever thought that a gigantic of a bear is something to admire? But yes, he is. Take my word for it. Philip Pullman’s characters are so well developed that they’re mirrors of parts of our personalities.
The Golden Compass also creates a very vivid setting for the story, not too farfetched (though I thought of the contrary a year ago) but totally different. The plot was even more riveting: it talks about death, the good and evil, the beginning of sin, the abuse of children which actually disturbed me and most of all, its daredevil move to drag show the Church in another light was simply fascinating. There were heart-wrenching scenes that I found my inner self shouting for the villain’s condemnation in hell. There were also parts of the book that would make your adrenaline pump with suspense as the heroine tries to outlast the villains.
However, I have a few regrets with this book. One is that Lyra doesn’t seem to suffer from being abandoned by her parents. I didn’t feel that she grieved for the years being parentless. I mean it’s kind of weird since Lyra was able to display deep emotional attachment for people she cared about. I was just hoping that there should have been a bit of drama about it. And the second thing is that at the end of the book, the important characters were suddenly left out without giving the readers an inkling of what happened to them. Lyra did not even think about them that much.
On an overall note, this book is a delightful portal for those who wanted to explore different worlds in one package. Read it now!