26 September 2013

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials #1
Release Date: October 23, 1998 (This edition)
Publisher: Scholastic Print
Source: Bought
Goodreads Stars: 3
Rating: Enjoyable

When Lyra's friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. 

The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies - and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her - something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights... - Goodreads

Why was it banned?

Apparent attack on religion and the church. The main character also goes through a ~sexual awakening later on in the series. How very risqué.

Why did you choose it?

Because I've been wanting to reread this series for ages. Simples.
 Lyra and her dæmon moved through the darkening Hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.
I first read this about seven years ago, when I was a young teenager and just picking up whatever I could find in my library. I remember adoring this book back then. I absolutely devoured it. I think this time around I was expecting too much from this book, and I ended up being a little disappointed that I wasn't sucked in like I was before.

I really enjoyed the world that Pullman has built here. The idea of everyone in this universe having dæmons, which are sort of an extension of themselves, is wonderful. Thinking about it for too long gives me all the feels. Wouldn't it be great to have a dæmon of your own? Someone who you could confide in, someone who would always be there for you, and someone to love you. You'd never truly be alone. Question: what do you think your dæmon would be? I think mine would probably be a fox called Bob.

I also liked the plot that involved the children going missing, and the reveals that were made later on in the book, when we discover what exactly is happening to the missing children. That shit was creepy. 

But even my interest in the story couldn't keep me entirely captivated due to the dragging pace, and the less than engaging writing style. 

I'm having issues pinpointing exactly what I didn't like about Pullman's style, since I didn't have a problem with it all those years ago. This time around, I just couldn't get into the story. I found myself reading as quickly as possible, just to get to the part where Lyra goes north. I wanted to see Iorek Byrnison again, and I wanted the book to get to the bloody point.

After the first two hundred pages or so, the book did pick up. I started to speed through it, and I found myself enjoying it once again, but my level of enjoyment was nowhere near what I had been expecting.

I think this is a case where tastes change over time, and holding a book in such high regard for so long leaves the reader bitterly disappointed upon rereading. I will continue with my reread of this series, but I think I'm going to wait for Judith and co. before I start The Subtle Knife. That way I'll have motivation to keep reading.


  1. I have to read this trilogy. Thx for the review

  2. Noooo :O I plan to reread the series soon, I hope I still feel as excited as I was at twelve. Oh snap, this is awkward. But I agree, tastes do change, happened to me before. It's a bit sad but what can you do. :)

  3. I really liked the movie, but I've never read the books before. I'm actually curious to see how the story continues and I think it's a shame they aren't filming the other two books.

    1. That's because the movie cut off the ending of the book. The books are way better. I read them as an adult and love them!

  4. Uh oh. I hope I will like it more than you did. But I get what you mean about taste changing over time. I have that a lot with books I used to love, especially because I have read so many books since those childhood favorite. I am very excited about this series though, but I'm worried it will be for me what reading Harry Potter is for people who read it at a later age: good, but nothing spectacular. Hmmmm we'll see.

    "Judith and co." *snorts*

  5. Hmmm I read this whole series when I was like 13. I re-read bits and pieces over the years but I haven't re-read the full thing since my first read. I wonder if I'd run into the same issues you did... perhaps I will find out soon... ;)


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