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.
Don't be put off by the "Young Adults" designation--anyone who loves The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter should read or listen to all three of these excellent books. I can't think of any books that I could recommend with more enthusiasm for a worthwhile excursion beyond the mundane.
All books in this series are just wonderful. The story is creative and new, the characters are complex and fascinating, and it is full of shifts and turns that keep you wondering what the author is getting at. I want to listen to the series several times to try and unfold the layers. But, other than the main characters being children, I have a hard time seeing these as children's books. Evan for a middle-aged woman who has spent considerable time mulling over religion, spirituality, and the true nature of man, the themes in the series can be unsettling and disturbing. I imagine for younger or less "mature" readers, this could be just plain confusing and distressing. If your kids are deep thinkers, and you intend to discuss the book with them, it could open the way for some very engaging exploration and discussion. But if your kids are younger, don't be fooled by the cute little "demons" and bears, this book could be very frightening, and could raise questions about God, parents, society, and life they simply may not have the life experience to sort through without help. But if you are over 21, you might as well download all three books now, and wait until you have some serious down time before you start, because these books will suck you in.
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
I can't see what the fuss is all about. Some WONDERFUL ideas (people having daemons, the aliethiometer, armored bears, etc.) but I honestly thought the writing was clunky and far overrated. Random events throughout whose only purpose seem to be closing gaping holes in the plot or to get a character to the next plot point. Some wonderful characters, but many seem to exist only as "devices" to provide exposition. One word to describe the storytelling? Forced.
That said, Pullman is the best author/narrator I've yet heard, and my only criticism of the audio was the shrillness of the screaming young girls at certain moments that I wish the engineers could have toned down a bit---I had to turn down my IPOD in sections just for these bits.
Last fyi comment on the trilogy as a whole. I wasn't in the least turned off by the authors views on religion, in fact, I agree with him so I was looking forward to the trilogy. But along with the above criticisms was also a "preachy" tendency in parts of the third that I could have done without. Not a terrible read, but not even close to what I expected based on all the praise I'd heard.
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.
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