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Aug 2014 by PCI College

Bite-Sized Book Review: 'Northern Lights' by Philip Pullman

Continuing our summer read book reviews, 'Northern Lights' by Philip Pullman is reviewed this week by Sinéad Ní Mháille

What first appears as a book for teenagers proves to have many interesting ideas for readers of any age.  Northern Lights is the first in a trilogy titled 'His Dark Materials' by Philip Pullman which introduces us to 'a universe like ours, but different in many ways' and to the central character of Lyra. From a free and sheltered existence at Jordan College, where orphan Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon roam, she finds herself on an extraordinary adventure to the snow-covered far north. Here Lyra discovers some terrible truths, where experiments on lost children are being overseen by the mysterious Mrs Coulter and under the patronage of a rogue branch of the Church. With a combination of wits, grit, true friends and a strange truth-telling device called an althiometer, Lyra races to discover what the Gobblers are doing and to rescue children tricked into a wicked fate.

Northern Lights is an incredible adventure story for young and older adults alike and Pullman carefully weaves in concepts of soul, consciousness, Church dogma, dark matter, physics and other worlds in a way that will intrigue and inspire all ages. At the heart of the drama is a fierce warrior child, a young lady coming of age and learning the depths and importance of friendship and love alongside the necessity for self-reliance and the courage to go on, even in the face of great danger. I've read this book, and its sequels time and again and never fail to be taken by its magic and the philosophical questions posed through its pages. I highly recommend it.

Sinéad Ní Mháille (August 2014)
PCI College

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