Book 40 is an older book, one that I had though I had read when I was younger but I don’t think I did. The Golden Compass is the first in a series called His Dark Materials. “His” I do believe refers to the main antagonist who you don’t know about until the very end. If only our dear heroine Lyra hadn’t stopped a small plot from happening in the beginning, this whole book would not have needed to be written. Well I would like to tell you a small synopsis for this book but it would be very hard are you are finding out what the book is about as the story is told. I guess you could say that this a story about a girl who makes a small decision that puts into effect a series of events including rescuing a bunch of kidnapped kids, forging alliances with polar bear (they are more intelligent and great fighters in this world), gyptians, and witches. All of it centered over the exploration of a mysterious substance called Dust and who her parents really are.
So I know I have seen it somewhere that there has been this allusion of how the Church and science don’t get along in this world, much like our own reality (remember this book was written and published 13 years ago, I KNOW things have changed some). You can see the similarities. This world that Lyra lives in is just like our own but more steampunk, as our technologies are not the same as theirs. If you don’t know what steampunk is, its like late Victorian style with instruments and technology fueled by steam. If you have ever watched Atlantis the Lost Empire (an older Disney movie) you can see some of that there. Anyways, as I was saying, Lyra’s world isn’t too different from ours geographically speaking as there are countries, continents, and such that are the same. The people are a little different because each human has something called a daemon, this little animal companion that is linked to the human’s spirit or soul. It is hard to describe. There are also other groups of culture that we don’t really have now. They are similar to cultures present in our world but have been changed.
As for the similarities of science verses Church. In the book, there is also a Church (though not ruled by the Pope) who thinks this particle that has recently been proven true is bad. It thinks that it is the origin of the original sin and it must be severed so that sin is no longer present in that world (which is stupid to think this because sin comes from a person not a particle but whatever). Lyra’s parents (and you will find out who they are) are trying to destroy this Dust, each in a different and horrible way. Poor kid comes from fanatics but since they didn’t raise her, it seems she is unaffected. She just wants everything to be back to normal (which was living in a world of ignorance). In the end, Lyra comes to the conclusion that Dust isn’t bad. Her reasoning? If bad people , ie her parents, think Dust is bad, then it must be good. My opinion? After reading this book, I have concluded that Dust is part of what makes the world go round; it is neither bad nor good, it simple exists. If you look at the clues, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what the conclusion is. Dust makes the daemons possible, since there is a connection there. Where it comes from, it has been concluded that it is from another world only seen through the Aurora lights in the North. What that other world is like, you have to read the second book, as that is where Lyra is headed to next.
My final thoughts on the book? It was an interesting read and I do want to see the movie adaptation again (maybe that is why I thought I had read it when I was younger, cause I had seen the movie). The ending I didn’t really see coming. Lyra has thought this whole time that she was going to rescue and help the person that is supposed to be on the side of good but turns out is the true evil that she must stop. It is weird. I kind of saw it coming but not in the way that it turned out. I thought maybe the person she wanted to rescue was only someone meant to help Lyra as she is the true hero, not this other person. Didn’t think it would turn like it did. Well all in all, interesting book. Will I read the rest of the series, maybe. I haven’t decided yet. I kind of want to know what will happen but I kind of just want to look it up on the interent (remember how old this series is, trust me the whole plot is probably on Wikipedia by now). Well I’ll see you next book.
Let's enjoy the many worlds there are to enjoy, in just our own heads.