Release Date: This edition: 2005 – First edition: 1995
Publisher: Scholastic Children’s Books
Age Group: Children
What Lyra likes best is “clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war.”
But Lyra’s carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust.
Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from “gyptians“ to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.
This one is difficult for me to review. I liked the story, but I didn’t love it.
Lyra reminds me a bit of Arya from Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”, although Lyra clearly acts like a child and Arya kind of kicks ass on a whole other level. I never really liked Lyra, although I could sympathize with her at some point. I’m not fully satisfied about a book when the connection with the main character isn’t there, or barely there.
There’s not particularly anything wrong with this book, the story itself must have sprouted from a very imaginative mind, but it just didn’t touch my heart. When you read a really, really great book, you just know. It will have conquered a very special spot in your heart. This one was just a good read, but it didn’t give me that special feeling, it didn’t make me jump around in excitement or gasp in shock. It didn’t make me read hours on end, just so I could know what would happen next.
There were some great twists in this story, which were kind off spoiled for me because I watched the movie when it came out some years ago. Maybe I would have thought differently about this books if I hadn’t seen it, but we’ll never know now. But that is another indication this wasn’t a great book for me. There are a few books I’ve read over and over again and although I know all the twists and all the details of the story, I can’t get enough and I devour the book every time. The fact that this books was less interesting because I’d already seen the movie and knew the plot twists says a lot.
I like the concept of a daemon as a sort of life companion. I kept wondering how my daemon would look like if it settled and what I would like it to be. All of us get lonely sometimes, but with a daemon, you’ll always have someone to talk to and confide in, he or she is a part of your soul. It’s also very interesting, because once a daemon settles it represents your own character. This can be very confronting or come as a relief, but it’s something you’ll have to live with and accept. This part of the story gets a big thumbs up because it has a deeper meaning than just being a “companion”, it makes you think and speculate and it brings something extra to the journey you make in this book.
All in all, this was a good read and as it’s kind of a classic, one you should read just to know what it is all about. I’ll read the next books in this trilogy and I hope I can make a better connection with the characters in those. My rating: 3,5 dragons.