Rereads Challenge Review: Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) by Phillip Pullman

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north

When Lyra’s friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him.

The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her – something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights…

I’ve always thought of Northern Lights as one of my childhood favorites even though I had only read it twice. The last time was probably when I was about 16 – almost 15 years ago (EEEEEK) – so it was long due a reread. Added to that, I went off on an adventure of my own in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, so I thought it would be the perfect book to get me excited about it.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the book felt more like a chore this time round. It’s funny how you always remember the good parts (Lovely Lyra, the badassness of Iorek Byronison, the magical descriptions of the arctic and the Aurora) but forget the bad parts (the slow pace and drawn-out plot).

But thankfully, my disappointment didn’t last too long. I’m pretty sure the reason I fell in love with this book when I was younger wasn’t just the fantasy, magical elements of it, but Lyra herself. She’s such a great protagonist. She’s inherently good and powerful but she doesn’t know it. She has no idea of her potential but runs on the simple instinct to do what’s right and to help the best she can. In the beginning her only motivation is to save Roger and a longing to explore the north, but little did she know where it would lead her.

I probably missed a some of the underlying themes in this series the first time round. It’s infamous for being anti-religious (or at least void of Christianity) much like the Narnia books are infamous for their not-so-subtle Christian themes, but that wasn’t what was new to me this time around. I’d somehow missed the onslaught political and racial commentary.

Also, it’s totally Steampunk, right?

All that aside, by the middle of this, I was hooked again, I stopped peeling back the layers and just enjoyed the story of a plucky girl and her daemon (oh how I wanted my own daemon growing up – OK I still do!) on a thrilling adventure to the arctic to save her best friend and find out the truth about the family that disowned her.

And it’s dark, really dark – with the human experiments, kidnappings and gory deaths…

And as he said that, the Aurora flickered and dimmed, like an anbaric bulb at the end of its life, and then went out altogether. In the gloom, though, Lyra sensed the presence of the Dust, for the air seemed to be full of dark intentions, like the forms of thoughts not yet formed”

Perfect!

I’m so glad I can still call it a favourite.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, I own it.
Title: Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1)
Author: Phillip Pullman
Details: Paperback, 399 pages
Publication Date: October 23rd 1998 by Scholastic Point (first published 1995)
My Rating: 4/5

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Rereads Challenge Kick Off & Poll Results

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January was a good month reading wise, but I totally failed on starting most of my challenges. However, February is the month!

A few weeks ago asked the blogosphere for help in choosing two books to complete a list of 10 that I plan on rereading this year (you can check out my original post here if you missed it) .

The results are in:

The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffennegger 40%

The Gates by John Connolly 20%

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon 13.33%

The 10th Kingdom by Kathryn Wesley 13.33%

The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas 6.67%

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman 6.67%

Thank you so much to everyone who voted!

So, here is my final list of rereads. I’m not doing them in order or anything but I’ve just started Northern Lights. Whoop!

  1.  Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) by Phillip Pullman
  2.  Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  3.  Peter Pan by J.M Barrie
  4.  Sunshine by Robin Mckinley
  5.  The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey
  6.  The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger
  7.  The Gates by John Connolly
  8. – 10.  The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Reread Challenge *Vote Now*

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As I mentioned in my Challenges and Goals post last week, one of the challenges I’ve set myself this year is to reread at least 10 of my favourite books.

Not many books make it onto my ‘books-I-can-read-again-and-again list, but the ones that have, have been neglected since I started blogging. Hence, this challenge.

The only thing left to do is to decide which 10 I want to reread this year. There are some I want reread for particular reasons, and others that I try to read once a year regardless. And then there are books that I count as favourites but that I’ve never gotten round to rereading.

Here are the books I’ve decided on so far, and I need your help to pick the rest!

1. Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) by Phillip Pullman: It’s been a good few years since I last read this so it’s long over-due another read. Plus, my mum is taking me to Iceland to *hopefully* see The Northern Lights in February, so what better book to get me all the more excited!? Eeeek!

2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: I still love this book. It’s trashy and flawed but I just can’t help but love it. GET OFF MY BACK. Last year was probably the first year since the book came out that I haven’t read it. I’m getting withdrawals.

3. Peter Pan by J.M Barrie: This is my favourite book of all time. I failed to read it in 2013 so it’s a must.

4. Sunshine by Robin Mckinley: I want to reread this before getting my hands on Shadows.

5, 6 & 7 The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: I’ve read The Hunger Games 4 times, because clearly it is amazing. But I’ve only read the other two once each and my recollection of them is patchy, which I’m not happy about.

8. The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey: I love James Frey (which I’ve already declared once before) and this book was brilliantly insane. I’ve only managed to read it once since it came out in 2011.

And so, to your help. I have 6 more books in the running and only two spaces left, so please vote for your favourite below, or the one the you’d most like to read a review of. More details about the books below

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When Ariel Manto uncovers a copy of The End of Mr. Y in a second-hand bookshop, she can’t believe her eyes. She knows enough about its author, the outlandish Victorian scientist Thomas Lumas, to know that copies are exceedingly rare. And, some say, cursed.With Mr. Y under her arm, Ariel finds herself thrust into a thrilling adventure of love, sex, death and time-travel.

re10

Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into a new beginning.

She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead, then simply got up and walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets–what turned one to ice and the other to fire.

reread2
A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant

re5
At fifty-seven, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels, listening to a bit of light jazz. Then Katie, his tempestuous daughter, announces that she is getting remarried, to Ray. Her family is not pleased – as her brother Jamie observes, Ray has ‘strangler’s hands’. Katie can’t decide if she loves Ray, or loves the way he cares for her son Jacob, and her mother Jean is a bit put out by the way the wedding planning gets in the way of her affair with one of her husband’s former colleagues. And the tidy and pleasant life Jamie has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to the dreaded nuptials.Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.

re9
Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don’t mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe. A gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out…Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?

re12
‘The 10th Kingdom’ is a contemporary drama set in a fantasy world where magic and fairy tale characters come to life. This is an Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups and children alike, a witty and satirical reflection of contemporary society told as an epic tale of good versus evil. Follow the thrilling adventures of Virginia and Tony, a father and daughter from New York, who unwittingly find themselves in a parallel universe known as The Nine Kingdoms. Virginia and Tony join forces with a schizophrenic man-wolf, and Prince, a handsome golden retriever formally known as Prince Wendell, grandson of Snow White until his wicked stepmother turned him into a dog. The unlikely heroes then embark on an epic quest to save Prince from the evil Queen and restore him to the throne.