Title: The Golden Compass
Author: Philip Pullman
Number of pages: 368
Genre: fantasy, young adult
Book Number/Goal: 51/52
My Rating: 4/5

Adventures of Lyra, a young tomboy girl who wants to save her friends kidnapped by cruel Gobblers, and to join her uncle in his mysterious scientific research on far North. The world is very Earth-like, with several significant differences, such as witchcraft being real, and most importantly, every human has a "daemon": a sentient animal companion, which is an obvious metaphor for soul (inseparable from the person, disappears upon death, reflects the owner's personality, only humans have it), influenced also by Native American concept of spirit animals, and Jung's anima/animus (daemons are usually of the opposite gender).

The language is slightly old-fashioned and peculiar, nicely reflecting the way children talk, but without the slang abuse. Naturally, Lyra is "the chosen one", and moreover, several plot turns sound like a soap opera. The action is a bit slow but it involves some intriguing mysteries. The Golden Compass itself is a curious device strongly reminiscent on Tarot. But the most impressive and exciting part of the book (for me) is the humans/daemons relationship, described in much detail, and all the associated symbolism and allusions, which will probably keep me pondering the subject long after finishing the book.


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