Title: Northern Lights
Author: Phillip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials #1
Genre: Fantasy / Middle Grade
Pages: 397 pages
Spoilers? Not really, just general stuff.
Synopsis: “Without this child, we shall all die.”
Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world…
I got Northern Lights as a gift when I was 8 years old, but it sat on my shelf until I was around 11. I fell in love with this book. But, even at the time, I had a feeling that some themes being portrayed in the story were going over my head.
I was completely right. Reading Northern Lights as a 24-year old is a completely different experience. Religion and the concept of sin play a big part in the world building and lore of the story. It is also much dark than I remembered. Women are seen as the inferior sex, there’s unexpected gore and some nods to possible sexual abuse and pedophilia.
The main character, Lyra Belacqua, is a fighter. She is the “Chosen One”, born from two power-driven, awful people that left her alone to raise herself. Lyra is cunning, a natural leader, and she does what needs to be done. She is a joy to follow, and connecting with the main character is something I struggle with when reading middle-grade books.
Northern Lights sets the stage for a story that has much more depth than it seems. And I’m super stoked to continue my journey with these characters and in this world.