A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

May 25, 2008

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

My review

The Golden Compass is a very fun and imaginative book, featuring a young child protagonist in a dreamworld of obtuse reference in a similar genre to the Narnia series, Holes, or The Secret Garden.

As my friend Jeana pointed out, this is not a novel of deep character development. The characters are developed by the things they do and the book does employ an overall "good guys" and "bad guys" world-view that is only experimented with when characters we thought were bad guys turn out to be good guys or vice-versa. To be fair, though, this is one of those stories aimed at children that is literary and layered sufficiently to appeal to adults, so a certain amount of moral compass is to be expected.

Where depth of character may be the weak point in this novel, pacing of action is its great strength. The plot moves very rapidly and if the reader feels to be in a lull she need only wait a page or two for her head to be spinning again.

Great imagination and inventiveness are the foundations of any novel in this genre and The Golden Compass delivers in spades. I've begun reading the second novel in the series and only know are the purposes of some of the characteristics of the world becoming clear. It is effortless, however, for the reader to buy in to the devices because their internal logic is solid.

I'm really looking forward to reading this book to my daughter - and even to seeing the movie.

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