Skip to main content

The Golden Compass | Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass is about an orphan, Lyra, who lives with scholars on a college campus. One day her friend, and many other children, get kidnapped by evil Gobblers. After overhearing her uncle tell the scholars about a mysterious “Dust” that is causing problems in the North, Lyra decides to set on a journey to rescue the kidnapped kids and help her uncle solve the mystery of the Dust. 

Well…this book was a tough one to get through. I am always leery of starting trilogies since they are such a big commitment. You are basically committing yourself to 1200+ pages if you want a complete story, but typically the second and third books are rushed to get published and are therefore never as good as the first. I was definitely not in the mood for that long-term relationship when I started this book. Honestly, I wouldn’t even have had the strength to finish it if it wasn’t required for my Folklore and Fantasy class. I normally love high fantasy novels—which are basically books that create their own universe. This one just didn’t do it for me. Usually fantasy trilogies are so long because they spend a lot of time creating their own universe and allowing the reader to feel immersed in this new world. The Golden Compass spent very little time describing the setting. I had a hard time picturing this world. It is essentially still our world, but just a parallel dimension of it—or rather our world if we had talking animals, witches, and polar bears with thumbs and human-like skills. I wish that Pullman had spent less time on dialogue (which consumed the majority of the book) and more time on descriptions. This book also took a very long time to build up to the climax. Nothing really happened in the first hundred pages. 

Supposedly this is a controversial book because of its religious/anti-religious undertones. There was no mention of anything related to religion until the last few chapters. By that point I was so fed-up with this book that I was disgusted by Pullman’s attempt to relate the whole theme of the book to an issue of religion and sin. The only part of this book that I really enjoyed was that each human had a daemon—no not an evil creature—it’s actually an external representation of each human’s spirit that takes the form of an animal. Children’s daemon’s can constantly change their forms, but adults’ daemons are stuck in their “true” form. I think it would be cool to have this sort of “spirit animal” as a full-time companion, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want my inner feelings to be displayed to the world via my daemon. 

This book would be good for people who like long-winded adventure books with religious undertones. However, I will not be recommending this book to anyone. I actually will not even be finishing the trilogy. I made no connection to any of the characters and I honestly don’t care how the story continues. I try to be fair in reviewing books, but I really just didn’t enjoy reading this book. Reading should be pleasurable, not dreadful. I started this review thinking that I would give the book two stars, but after relfecting more about the book, I really think that one star is more appropriate. 

Fun fact: the movie version of The Golden Compass did so poorly, that they decided to not even film the last two movies in the trilogy. 

Let me know what you think if you have read this book!


 *   1/5 Stars

Popular posts from this blog

El Deafo | Cece Bell

And being different? That turned out to the best part of all. I found that with a little creativity, and a lot of dedication, any difference can be turned into something amazing. Our differences are our superpowers.”
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel/Memoir. Number of Pages: 233. Perspective: First. Location: Virginia.
This graphic novel follows the author throughout her time as a young girl in the 1970s and her experiences losing her hearing from meningitis at the age of four. She learns how to make friends and accept herself. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This was a beautiful story about someone who copes with becoming deaf. I took an American Sign Language course in college and we talked a lot about the deaf culture; it was interesting to learn about some of the daily challenges that someone who is deaf faces. This book explains those challenges in a way that children can understand and relate to. We have come a long way with accessibility since the 70s, but we all could use …

5 Reasons Why I Hate Book Series

Many of you know that I hate book series. If at all possible, I try to stick to stand-alone novels. A few rare trilogies land on my bookshelf and an even rarer few get a good review. Here are my reasons why I hate trilogies: 

1. The first book is perfected.

Authors have an unlimited amount of time to perfect the first book. They may have many rewrites and rejections before it is finally accepted by a publisher. By that point, the book should be pristine. The author may not have a deal with the publisher for a series yet, but once the first book proves its worth, the publisher will definitely ask for the rest of the series. Depending on the popularity, the author will be forced to get the next books out quickly—unless you are George R.R. Martin. There will be less time to perfect the story and it will be sent out without many rewrites, as to appease the fan-base. As a result, the rest of the series suffers in comparison to the debut. 
2. The waiting is torture. 

Part of the reason why the …

Hex | Thomas Olde Heuvelt

“Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves."
Genre: Horror. Number of Pages: 384. Perspective: Third. Location: New York.
Hex is the story of a town that is cursed by a witch with her eyes and mouth sewn shut. She shows up in houses and just stands and stares for days at a time. The people of the town can never leave and are plagued by the fear of what would happen if the witch’s eyes and mouth are ever opened. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This book started off kind of funny and light-hearted. The middle starts to get a little creepy and suspenseful, and the end is downright strange. It was an enjoyable book, but you’ll have to wait a long time for the climax. The bulk of the action happens in the last 50 pages. For me, that felt rushed and left me with more questions than answers. 
Hex was originally written in Dutch and translated to English. With that in mind, I am utterly impressed with the flow and readability of the story. Th…

Ten Things Writers Need to Know

This is a guest post by Heather Weidner. I was asked recently what advice I would give to someone who wants to write. Here’s my list…
1. Read. Read. Read. 

Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn about the genre. Learn about techniques and style. See what works and what doesn't.



2. Seek out writers like you. 

Find a writers' group. I write mysteries, so Sisters in Crime was a perfect fit. I am also in the online community, Guppies. They have tons of resources and advice. And they are so supportive and helpful. 
3. There are a lot of books out there on the craft of writing. 
My favorite is Stephen King's On Writing. Invest in books that help you. But use your library too. FREE is good.



4. If you are serious about writing, find a critique group. 
It's an investment in your time to read the submissions. Make sure that the feedback is helpful. Critiques need to be constructive and not personal. My critique group specializes in mysteries and crime fiction. And that works fo…

5 Things I Would Have Done Differently Before Self-Publishing

This is a guest post by Mark Benjamin. 
About three-quarters into 2015, I decided to self-publish. My novel was stuck in that phase of completed / nearly done, and I had been agent shopping for three years prior, and the brief thought (if at all) of self-publishing had been pushed out of my mind by the traditional method. That is, until my wife, Lucy, sent me the Amazon Kindle Publishing link. At the end of May 2016, my debut novel, A CHANGE OF HEART, Book One of The Royal Blood Chronicles, was released, an urban fantasy novel bringing back vampires from whence I first found them, cue in Lestat and Louis. There was a lot to learn throughout the entire self-publishing process; emotions ranging from doubt to hope, anxiety to determination, fear to belief. I would like to share my experiences, then and now, and how I would have done things differently.


1. Just Do It
Those three words are the beginning and end of it all. The story hit me and I ran with it. I could have waited until I thought …

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required