If you loved the His Dark Materials trilogy, you'll love this story, which continues some of the threads in the trilogy. It takes place after the trilogy, and probably won't be comprehensible if you haven't read the earlier books. The reading is excellent -- one of the best I have ever heard -- with the author reading the narration, and various actors reading the character parts. My only quibble with the reading is that the actress who does Lyra's part sounds about 10, though Lyra must be 15 or 16 at the time of the story.
Stephen King's first book, with many of the themes carried out in later books -- horror in an everyday setting, mysterious psychic powers, bullying. He says in the introduction that it is dated, but I didn't find it so -- the only thing that would be needed to bring the story into the 21st century is the addition of cell phones (the shower scene would be all over YouTube if it happened now), and maybe some bureaucratic ass-covering by the principal about the school's zero tolerance for bullying policy.
The reading has some minor problems, though. The story is set in Maine, so her Southern accent isn't right for this book. And she reads some passages in a low whisper, which means that if you are listening in a noisy environment, all of a sudden you can't hear anything until you turn up the volume, and then you get blasted with too-loud sound when she resumes speaking in a normal voice.
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