When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder, and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra's unfettered imagination has conjured up.
Though she has been raised at the college in an atmosphere of benign neglect that has allowed her to become a half-wild child of the streets, Lyra soon finds herself apprenticed to the elegant Mrs. Coulter, and in possession of a strange device called the alethiometer, a "golden compass" that reads not true worth, but truth itself.
But truth is a precious commodity, and before long Lyra and Pan are running for their lives, the object of an obsessive hunt by mysterious forces who have been stealing children for dark purposes that no one understands. Lyra will need all her street-learned wiles if she and Pan are to survive.
An international sensation from the moment it was published, The Golden Compass comes to spectacular new life in this unabridged recording, narrated by Philip Pullman himself, with the support of some of the finest actors of the London stage.
Listen to the rest of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.
©1995 Philip Pullman; (P)1999 Random House, Inc.
"Superb...Wonder-filled." (Washington Post Book World)
"Very grand indeed...Scene after scene of power and beauty." (The New York Times)
"A rousing, page-turning adventure that promises to please fantasy readers of all ages." (Library Journal)
In my opinion novels read by the authors are generally inferior to those read by actors, and this is a case in point. To make matters worse, the dialogue is read by actors but the editing is so poor that there is a jarring abruptness each time there is a transition from non-dialogue to dialogue, as in there is no pause at all between the two. This is a fabulous book and I recommend it highly, but this audio rendering leaves a lot to be desired.
This is a surprisingly complex, sophisticated story for a kid's book. I'm an adult SF fan, and I loved it. However, such ideas as daemons, experiemental theology, etc. will have most kids younger than their teens scratching their heads and asking for an explanation. The entire story line is also substantially darker than the Harry Potter books. This book should probably be avoided by pre-teens and religious fundamentalists.
This excellently produced rendition features not just the author reading (well) from his own work, but a full cast performing all the voices. They do a splendid job, really bringing the book to life.
Fantastic cast. Much better than the film version. One of the best audio books I've listened to. Definitely worth the investment.
If you like Harry Potter you will enjoy this story of a little girl
and her journey in a world like ours, but a little different. It's
not magical like Harry but the supernatural is there, and so
is the suspense and adventure. Great characters that you
learn to love and hate. So much better than the movie.
Read the book!
I've already order the rest of the series and am busy reading
Read/listen to this before giving it to you children.
I read all the reviews before deciding to write this. I felt that parents should be aware of what is in these books but feared the relious ferver could be misleading. There are many angry reviews about God but that may not be the only problem. The books are not that long. Listen to them first and decide about your own child.
I have enjoyed them and intend to listen to them again. They are thought provoking on a physics level. I think sci-fi lovers will love these books.
The Golden Compass is a wonderful story, engaging and thought provoking, to say the least. As a story for adults, I think it's marvelous, but perhaps a bit too advanced in its theories and ideas for the children it seems to have been aimed at.
I've read the other reviews that say it's better than the Harry Potter series, but I disagree. It's like comparing apples and oranges, in my mind. The Golden Compass doesn't create a world that can exist comfortably within our own as do Rowling's tales. Instead, it forces you to question our world by revealing a slightly skewed one just next door.
The characters are all there. There were interesting plot twists and I appreciated the full cast of character voices. But the characters are very 2 deminsional. There are some gaps in logical character movement. I had a very hard time caring about the main character and the ending was just plain annoying. The question of What is Dust is something that keeps coming up in the book but it's never answered. I guess that's what the next book in the series is for, but at this point I don't care.
The Kid D
If you're looking for an antidote to those awful "Left Behind" books -- His Dark Materials is it. There are no easy answers here -- but a treasure trove of wonderful characters, a surprisingly mature theology, and deeply accurate (if disturbing) psychology. The bonus for listeners is not only Pullman's terrific narration (he's a born storyteller) but the wonderful cast of actors that play characters ranging from armored bears to the angels above. Probably the best books on tape I've ever heard. Plug this one in and you won't want your daily commute to end.
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