“We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.”
I have heard SO MUCH about this book and its two sequels that initially I was disappointed when I started it because it didn’t really live up to my expectations right away. It takes a while to get going. By halfway through, however, I was hooked on Lyra and Iorek, an armored bear. Here’s a hint: if your story features armored bears, introduce them ASAP. Iorek was my favorite part.
The Golden Compass is about an orphan named Lyra who has grown up at Oxford College in some sort of parallel universe where Texas is a country and, well, there are armored bears who fight as mercenary soldiers. Also, every person has a little creature called a daemon that stays with them at all times. Lyra has free run of the school, and has been receiving a muddled education as she plays and fights and climbs.
One day, she hides in a wardrobe and overhears some cryptic conversations about “Dust” and an alternate universe. Meanwhile, children are being captured by “Gobblers” all across the country. When Lyra’s friend Roger is kidnapped, she is determined to find him.
The problem the book has initially is that very little is revealed to Lyra, and the story is mainly from her point of view. It’s frustrating because the reader has very little understanding of what’s going on. As more and more information comes to light, Lyra and the reader start to put things together, and the mystery of these children and the Dust becomes much more interesting. Hopefully the second and third books continue to captivate.