Northern Lights

I finished Northern Lights by Philip Pullman yesterday. What a fantastic book!
It’s one of the best fantasy stories I have read in a long time. The cover blurb likens it to Tolkein, but I wouldn’t quite go that far. It’s not really comparable to be honest, it’s a different type of fantasy story. The main characters in the story; Lyra, Lord Asriel, Mrs Coulter, Iorek Byrnison, and the rest are really well developed. Lyra particularly, as the principal character, is really well depicted. You soon come to like her character. She at first comes across as you would expect a 12 year old to be in the setting in which you first meet her. But she soon develops depth and strength of character.
The setting, a parallel world were humans have personal Daemons, physics and other sciences are disciplines controlled by the church, where witches can really fly, and bears can talk, is fantastic (pun intended). It feels like a mixture of the Victorian London of other novels with the grand life for the privileged, but dirty streets populated with urchins who disappear without too much fuss, and middle ages Europe with the overarching power of the church suppressing scientific discoveries they don’t like.
The plot too is twisted enough to keep you intrigued without being overly complex. Lots of political intrigue which Lyra slowly becomes aware of and then to understand from her own twelve year old viewpoint.
I bought this knowing it was the first of a trilogy, but waited to see whether it was worth buying the others. I have them now and I’m already half way through the second book, The Subtle Knife, and it too is brilliant.
Recommended!

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