Northern lights – Philip Pullman

No, I didn’t start this one before the New Year but I might not have done much except for read this morning…

Northern Lights is about a young girl called Lyra, who runs wild at a University where she has been left by her Uncle. Her childhood starts off seemingly innocently enough but her strange, slightly wild, upbringing drags her into a situation where she sees someone try to poison her uncle.

Saving him sets a train of events in motion, acting as a catalyst to throw Lyra from her comfortable safe environment of a University in Oxford all the way up North to Alaska, and at the end of the book, to beyond.

The story has a habit of unfurling slowly, even though its action packed, its starts off seeming like each event is dependant on the previous one, and that they are seemingly coincidental, yet as the book progresses it seems destiny rather than free will is the winner.

The story is set in a world that seems familiar and at the same time very different, its Oxford, yet not as we know it. It also left me wishing it was possible for us to have a daemon (a creature/animal which is separate to the human but also part of them, almost like an external soul). I’m sure life would be more interesting if my cat could come everywhere with me, although I have a feeling its my tortoise I resemble more!

The writing is clean, although a little too descriptive for my taste occasionally. The book tells us that Lyra is one thing, but her actions show her to be slightly different sometimes, but overall it didn’t let down my childhood memory of it. In fact the first thing I did when I finished was by the second in the series, The subtle knife. If I finish all my January reading this fast I might squeeze this one in too.


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