Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman

You speak of destiny as if it was fixed. Phillip Pullman

This was such a gripping read. I carried this book pretty much everywhere with me (which wasn’t very many places due to being off of work sick) but the point stands. As I’ve grown I’ve steered away from books focusing around teenage girls mainly due to the unnecessary drama that comes along with them, but I loved Lyra and her independence. Usually the strong independence is what turns me off because in most stories there is no need for them to be so difficult, but Lyra had a reason to be so independent, essentially alone in the world save her dæmon, Pantalaimon, she has to fight to get where she wants using her skills and knowledge to her advantage.

The story-line moved forward delicately as not to rush the reader into new surroundings but still quick enough to keep them interested. I admit, I tried reading this when I was younger but put it down after the first chapter because I couldn’t get my head around the multitude of additional characters and the odd names. This is definitely a book for older readers, it definitely falls into the young-adult category which is strictly for confident readers, not the pre-teens who believe their reading ability is far superior to any writer believes it is (yes, this used to be me).

Northern Lights has such an original story I found myself unable to predict the next scene which I find in most genres it is easy to figure out what direction the story is bound to go. It wasn’t plainly obvious to me that the world in which we find Lyra and Pan is actually a parallel to our own, with part of the mystery in the book surrounding parallel worlds, I only found out through online research and it was actually a feeling of “oh, how could I miss that?” not “well that wasn’t made clear at all”.

Pullman manages to use writing to transport the reader into a new world whilst creating a familiarity through the character dialect and the setting. Although many people have not been to an armoured bear palace Pullman manages to describe such a clear scene that we are able to see it, smell it and hear it in our minds, a true mark of great writing. I intend to finish the trilogy at some point but for some reason I only own book one and three, until I can find a matching copy of the second I will take a book from the rest of my growing collection!

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