Sunday, February 04, 2007
Good. Now go read a book. A good book. Then wait, and go see the movie adaptation coming out in December...an adaptation that I have heard NOTHING about but it has Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliot AND Ian McShane...so I mean, HEY! I am talking about The Golden Compass, the first of Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy. I have not read a lot of books for 'younger' readers since I WAS actually a younger reader. But having a friend who is a teacher AND an avid reader of sci fi and fantasy, means I get wind of books I would have not otherwise picked up. She went on and on about this series. And she was right to do so. I love books marketed for the pre teens and teens that does not assume they are stupid. Eragon is a good example of that attitude. Pullman expects a lot of his readers. Nothing is 'simplified' for age. I never once felt I was reading a book geared to the younger set like I did when I tried to read Harry Potter. It is only because we have a young heroine, do we get the correlation. This trilogy is a winding and dark and complicated tale of parallel worlds. Below is a bit of the synopsis from the Random House site: The Golden Compass forms the first part of a story in three volumes. The first volume is set in a world like ours, but different in many ways. The second volume is set partly in the world we know. The third moves between many worlds. In The Golden Compass, readers meet for the first time 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Jordan College in Oxford, England. It quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own - nor is her world. In Lyra's world, everyone has a personal dæmon, a lifelong animal familiar. This is a world in which science, theology and magic are closely intertwined. These ideas are of little concern to Lyra, who at the outset of the story, spends most of her time with her friend Roger, a kitchen boy. Together, they share a carefree existence scampering across the roofs of the college, racing through the streets of Oxford, or waging war with the other children in town. But that life changes forever when Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, prevent an assassination attempt on her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust. The book pulls you in right away. Lyra is an engaging character and her Oxford is a tantalizing magical version of the one we know here, on this earth. Throughout the books, we travel all around the world and you can SEE the place he is talking about, especially if you have been there or know your geography, but it is always just that bit off, just not quite what we know here. There is another book about Lyra out too that I just noticed. I will have to go pick that up, or go see if my teacher friend has it already.