Like many other people, I watched and loved the new BBC adaptation of Northern Lights. It was absolutely captivating and inspired me to re-read the series.
The chance for this came recently and I picked up this stunning copy of the first book of the series. I won’t lie, it took me a little while to get through but that wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying it! I had quite simply forgotten how rich and detailed this book was. I haven’t read this book since I was a lot younger and this time I found myself savouring it.
For those of you that don’t know, this is the story of Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon. Lyra is thrust from the relative safety of Jordan College into a world of danger, deceit and deadly experiments. Lyra must find herself some allies and find out the secrets about Dust, a mysterious substance which is the topic of much debate.
It is impossible to review this book without discussing Lyra. I loved her when I read this book as a child and I love her now. She is brave and passionate (the fish scene!) and impulsive and caring and a true trouble maker. This series wouldn’t be anywhere near as magical as it is without her. Now that I’ve started reading book two as well, I’m loving seeing her grow and adapt to the ever changing scenes around her. I think she might be one of my favourite protagonists ever.
She is supported by a wonderful cast of interesting and complicated characters who are superbly written. Pullman has a real talent for morally complex characters that I’m always blown away by. Revisiting some of my favourites has been a genuine pleasure.
Finally, I have to praise the rich depth to the world Pullman has created. I enjoyed it the first time round but I’ve noticed so many extra details this time round. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a little older or just because it’s my second time with the book, but I’ve loved finding so many extra threads to this story that I had either forgotten or missed the first time o read Northern Lights. This is a real testament to making a complicated story feel detailed rather than clunky and allowing readers to glimpse behind the curtain of wonderful world building. I’m so excited to continue to explore the fantastic world of Pullman’s brilliant series.