I was reading this book on the subway when a woman started talking to me about what a great book it was. She felt it was much better than Harry Potter and the writing was fantastic. No one had ever done that to me before but I think I would have done the same thing if I saw someone else reading this book.
I loved The Golden Compass. I've never been a big fantasy fan — I read the first Harry Potter and stopped there - but this kept me hooked from start to finish. I was even sneaking to the bathroom to sneak in some reading. It's the first part of the His Dark Materials trilogy and begins the story of Lyra, a twelve-year old girl in Oxford in an alternative universe where everyone has an animal daemon. She begins and epic quest involving disappearing children, talking bears, her mysterious uncle and an even more mysterious woman. The less you know, probably the better so forget I told you even that. Except that Iorek Byrnison is now my fifth favorite fictional character.
The writing is really first rate. The fictional world felt real to me and the action scenes were thrilling. There's a serious theme of the danger of organized religion and government's control over the truth. In fact, the controversy over whether this book is anti-religion was the first place I heard of it. I think this book is more about how any giant organization bends the truth and performs awful acts to support its own agenda but I have two books to go.
This series is so popular it has it's own Wiki, which is pretty cool.