I read this partly out of curiousity and partly because my students were about to begin working with it in their regular English class (but that all changed and I read it anyway).
As much as I enjoy children’s books (and I am certianly a Harry Potter fan) this book just didn’t really grab my attention too much.
It was about a girl named Lyra (a very adventuroud tom-boy) who was adopted by her ‘uncle’ and lived in Oxford University in London (in a different world parallel to ours). She lived among scholars and researchers. In her world every human has a ‘daemon’ which changes forms into all sorts of animals during childhood and eventually settles into one form in adulthood. These ‘daemons’ are essentially one’s essence or soul and are inseperable from their humans. The scholars who she lives with are in the middle of conducting important research which involves the kidnapping of children for experiments which essentially involve separation from their ‘daemons’ (in other words torture which may lead to death of the child). So, Lyra, horrified by the kidnapping of her best friend, eventually gets involved in the search and rescue of these children. This involves a journey to the North Pole. A journey of self-discovery in an adult world. She is guided by a rare instrument called the Golden Compass.
I wasn’t very fond of the way it was written which was not very captivating. The story is quite interesting but the way in which it was written just didn’t work for me which is very unfortuante because the concept is quite different and interesting and a lot can be read into the story as a whole or in parts. Kids can learn a lot from such a story but I’m not sure it was presented all that well even for pre-teens. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’ll let you know how that goes if and when I do.