The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Golden CompassLyra Belacqua is a ten-year-old orphan girl with free run of the school where she has been raised. Along with her companion daemon, Pantalaimon, she sneaks into places she does not belong and learns secrets about her protectors and her home.
Lyra and Pan sneak into the Retiring Room at the school when an important visitor is there. As she hides, Lord Asriel shows the scholars slide pictures of the north. She sees pictures that show Dust (whatever that is), the Aurora Borealis, and cities in the sky. He talks about the importance of his work.
Meanwhile, children and their daemons are disappearing from England. There are rumors abound how the children are eaten by the war bears up north, or how they are killed for sacrifices, or how their daemons are tortured. Lyra’s best friend, Roger, disappears the next day.
This novel pulls the reader right in. It is not an action novel in the true sense, but it never stops. We quickly learn about the inhabitants of this planet and how important their daemons are to each person. Lyra is identified quickly as a focal point in planetary change, but she herself is unaware of this.
Lyra goes to visit London Society, lives with the gyptians on a boat, and goes on an adventure up north. Before she left the school, one of the Scholars gave her an alethiometer to help guide her. It is a type of compass that she has to learn to read. This book is fascinating. It is also the beginning of a trilogy that will continue the tale.