Pullman, Philip: (01) The Golden Compass

After watching the movie adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass last night, I gave the book a quick re-read today.

The book is better, as it makes more sense and is far less anvilicious. I love the rich strange compelling nature of the world-building and the characters here, and the range of emotions, and the hints at hugely ambitious goings-on. My memory of it is by far the clearest of the series, though I’m not sure if that’s because I liked it best or I just had more opportunties to re-read. I’m likely to go on and re-read the second book, too, though I’m unsure whether I’ll bother with the third, which I do not remember fondly—which puts me in the odd position of not recommending this book, for all that it’s excellent.

(I’ve just noticed that our mass market edition, a first edition of Del Rey’s May 1997 printing, promises an introduction by Terry Brooks on its cover, but contains no such thing inside. I can’t say I regret the omission.)


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  1. which puts me in the odd position of not recommending this book, for all that it’s excellent
    I’ve been wondering about that. I have not read these, and my impression from what I’ve read about them is that I would probably enjoy the first one very much, and would probably seriously regret having read the third.
    Can you offer an opinion about how well it would work to simply read the first one and then stop?

  2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

  3. How do you feel about cliffhangers?
    Carefully, making no sudden movements and taking care not to tickle.
    Feh. No, I require more closure than that. I take it the trilogy is really one long story — like The Lord of the Rings, as opposed to (say) The Chronicles of Narnia?

  4. Definitely more like _LotR_ than _Narnia_.

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