Northern Lights / Golden Compass Audiobook Review: Whether adult or child, you will adore Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy heroine Lyra Belacqua.
Northern Lights / The Golden Compass Synopsis:
(His Dark Materials Book 1)
‘Without this child, we shall all die.’
Lyra Belacqua lives half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle – a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armoured bears.
As she hurtles towards danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, the biggest battle imaginable.
Audiobook, 10hrs 48mins, narrated by Philip Pullman and ensemble cast
Genre: Fantasy, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Audio
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Wonderful. I challenge everyone – man, woman or child – to not adore Philip Pullman’s plucky heroine Lyra Belacqua.
It is uncommon for me to read from the young adult genre, let alone middle-grade fiction, but Northern Lights, Book 1 His Dark Materials Trilogy is something special, a modern classic.
Pullman’s world building is impressive. Drawn detail by detail, Lyra’s world unfolds to a grand scale with a sense of longevity and magic reminiscent of CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia.
The idea hovered and shimmered delicately, like a soap bubble, and she dared not even look at it directly in case it burst. But she was familiar with the way of ideas, and she let it shimmer, looking away, thinking about something else.
As with the very best of children’s stories Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights touches on lots of adult subject matter. I was however surprised by, and admired, just how much of the darker side of life Lyra (and readers) are exposed to.
We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.
Not shirking from death, deception or the choices we make affecting others in ways we may have never intended, this tale illustrates some strong life lessons. While entertaining and humorous in parts, Northern Lights resonates strongly as a battle-cry for doing what is humane and right, and self-empowerment and courage in the face of adversity.
The talented ensemble cast of narrators on this audiobook including some of my favourites Rupert Degas and Sean Barrett, combine together beautifully to bring this story to life.
Filled with unforgettable characters and touching friendships, Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights is a must-read/listen.
UPDATE: One of my best audiobooks of 2016 so far.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5 — Overall 4.75
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About the Author, Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman is a British writer. He is the author of several best-selling books, most notably the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. In 2008, The Times named Pullman one of the “50 greatest British writers since 1945“.
Northern Lights, the first book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, won the 1995 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year’s outstanding English-language children’s book. For the 70th anniversary of the Medal it was named one of the top ten winning works by a panel, composing the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite. Northern Lights won the public vote from that shortlist and was thus named the all-time “Carnegie of Carnegies” on 21 June 2007. It has been adapted as a film under its U.S. title, The Golden Compass.