Northern Lights, by Phillip Pullman (Review)


“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”

Rating: 5 stars

I read this book when I was a teenager, and reread it this week as part of my 100 book bucket list challenge, with the entire series listed on the poster. I loved Northern Lights as a child, and I absolutely adored the Golden Compass movie. I even played the Golden Compass game. Rereading books I loved as a kid always worries me, because I know there’s a risk I’ll ruin something I’ve loved for years by finding out it’s not as good as I always thought. This is not the case with Northern Lights.

This book is so good. The world-building is ridiculously good and immersive, and considering that Lyra is 11-years old, she’s a fantastic main character. It’s very easy for young protagonists to be frustrating or annoying to read, especially when the whole book is from their perspective, but she’s realistically portrayed. At times, Lyra is selfish, naive and childish – exactly as she should be. She’s also clever, and a fast learner which means even as an adult reader I didn’t feel slowed down by her perspective. 

Also, more importantly, this book has Iorek Byrnison in it, who is one of my favourite characters ever. I love him, and everything about him. The fight between Iorek and Iofur gives me life every single time, especially the moment when he rips Iofur’s jaw clean off. I haven’t watched the movie in years, and I still vividly remember that scene. “Yes, that is all.” 

The ending of this book also gets me every single damn time, and I feel just as angry as betrayed as I did the first time – even ten years later and knowing what’s coming. 

I’m moving straight onto Subtle Knife next, but I’m less excited about that, because I remember disliking the second and third books the first time I read them. When you created this freaking amazing world, why send her to a different universe? I wanna read about Lyra’s world foreverrrrr with witches and daemons. I am hoping that reading them as an adult, I’ll see something that I overlooked as a teenager that makes me love the second and third books too.

Note: This review was copied verbatim from my Goodreads account dated June 6th 2019.

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