“A beautifully written novel full of vivid descriptions some of which left me in awe for some time after reading them.”



The first book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, the Nothern Lights introduces the characters and begins the epic story of Lyra Belacqua, Daemons, and dust.

Set in a world very much like ours, there are however some noticeable differences. One difference is that it seems to be set in a time without technology, and where men are the majority of academics with few women in this field. Religion also plays a part in this book, however, the churches’ influence is very different to that in modern society.

The very noticeable difference, though, is the magical side of the novel from other worlds within the aurora (northern lights), dust and of course Deamons.The Daemons, in particular, are what make Pullman’s novel so unique and intriguing. Each human has a Deamon which is a person’s soul in the form of an animal. These animals can shape-shift into different creatures when a person is still a child but upon becoming an adult Daemons stick in one shape which in some way reflects the person they are linked to. The bond between a person and their Deamon is a brilliant exploration of identity, imagination, and magic in our every day lives.

A beautifully written novel full of vivid descriptions some of which left me in awe for some time after reading them. One of my favourite passages painted a truly amazing image in my mind…

“The moon had set by now, and the sky to the south was profoundly dark, though billions of stars lay on it like diamonds on velvet. They were outshone, though, by the aurora, outshone a hundred times. Never had Lyra seen it so brilliant and dramatic; with every twitch and shiver, new miracles of light danced across the sky. And behind the ever-changing gauze of light that other world, that sunlit city, was clear and solid.”

It is not only the Daemons and stunning descriptions that make this novel a great read but the twists, turns and fast-paced nature of the plot which will keep you gripped throughout. With a cast of heroes, villains, and mystical helpers the story makes for a twisted fairytale-like fantasy which appeals to both young adults, teenagers, and adults. Not only this but the complex vocabulary, and themes of identity will also help teenage readers to develop as a reader and a person.


Reviewed by:

Catherine Muxworthy (Booksbirdblog)

Added 16th January 2018

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Catherine Muxworthy