Review | The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass cover
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armoured bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavours? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.

A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman’s award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which continues with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

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I read The Golden Compass for the first time when I was about 10 years old – while I didn’t understand a lot of the themes, I loved the armoured bears, witches, and Lyra. Naturally, when I came across a beautiful hardcover copy in Shakespeare and Company, I just had to pick it up again and see if it was as magical as I had remembered.

Lyra was just as much of a treasure as I had remembered. She’s precocious and clever, a compulsive liar (this behaviour is reflexive enough to earn her the nickname “Lyra Silvertongue”), and is filled with such love.

It’s also very easy to get sucked into the magical world that Pullman created: the daemons, witches, armoured polar bears, and mysterious energy called “Dust” are vividly imaginative and completely enthralling. I was pleasantly surprised that I remembered so many of these magical details (including one rather intense scene involving Iorek), although as a child their associated religious undertones went completely over my head.

Overall, I loved The Golden Compass just as much as (if not more than) I did when I was a kid and can’t wait to re-read the rest of the series.

Top Ten Books That Should Be Turned Into Movies

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten books that should be turned into movies.” I’m quite wary when books that I love are about to become movies, since theyre usually fairly disappointing. In an ideal world, though, these are some of the ones that I’d love to see.

1. A Series of Unfortunate Events
I love these books, but unfortunately the movie that combined the first three books was slightly disappointing. I’d eventually love to see all thirteen books turned into a movie (or tv series) since I would love to see the Carnivorous Carnival and all of the other spots the Baudelaire orphans travelled to.

2. Shadow and Bone
I’ll admit that part of this is because I love the Darkling. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see him on the big screen? The world of Ravka is so wonderfully imaginative, and it would be so neat to see the Fold, the volcra, the stag, the Grisha… the list goes on! It’d be an instant box-office hit, I assure you.

3. Throne of Glass
The world needs more movies with kickass female assassins, which Throne of Glass certainly possesses! It’s the perfect mix of action, romance, suspense, and supernatural occurrences, which seem to be requirements for most movies. And the gruff yet loveable Captain of the Guard is also a point in its favour.

4. Looking For Alaska
This is one of my favourite John Green novels. Each time I read it, I fall more and more in love with the characters, and I would love to see them brought to life on the big screen. I would probably spend the entire movie crying, but that’s okay!

5. The Night Circus
I feel like this book always makes my top ten lists, but that’s because it’s absolutely amazing! Imagine a maze of clouds, an ice garden, a wishing tree… Now picture adorable red headed children who train kittens to jump through hoops, and two duelling magicians. It sounds like perfection, and I would gladly line up for hours to see it on opening night.

6. Angelfall
This was the book that redeemed angels (of the book variety) for me. It’s home to a horrifying post-apocalyptic world, compelling characters, and the occasional cannibal. And brutal, destructive angels that aren’t anything like their cherubic counterparts. What’s not to like?

7. The Infernal Devices
It’s no secret that I love Will Herondale. The clockwork creatures are neat, the banter is beautiful and sarcastic, and the story is better than The Mortal Instruments (in my opinion). As long as it doesn’t turn out like City of Bones, I’m happy.

8. The Archived
The idea behind The Archived is so neat: there’s a library of the dead, but sometimes they wake up, forget that they’re dead, and wander around, occasionally killing people. It fits into both the paranormal and zombie genres, so Hollywood should get on it ASAP.

9. Anna and the French Kiss
This would be the most adorable movie. Etienne and Anna’s relationship is realistic yet cute, and is quite high on my list of favourite book relationships. Swooning over Etienne and marvelling over Paris for a few hours sounds quite nice.

10. The Golden Compass
I know that this already is a movie, but I’d love for it to be remade since I was disappointed by it. I love Lyra’s Oxford and her daemon, and would love to see how a filmmaker envisions it.

What books would you love to see as movies? Leave me a list or a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post below.
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