Lyra lives in another world, where the thoughts and values of our society are as foreign as you could possibly imagine. The most obvious point of difference is the daemon that each character has, which is a visible manifestation of the owners personality. Each of these Daemons is attached by an invisible thread, and should this thread be cut, or destroyed, then both the owner and the daemon will die a painful death.
Lyra is introduced as an irresponsible, indulged and somewhat irritating character, who has a penchant for making trouble wherever she goes. What Lyra doesn’t know is that she has a very special mission in her life – one which will change not only those around her, but those on different worlds, and even those who have already died.
She is in an unenviable position of not being able to be guided by those who know of the prophesy, and rather has to make her mistakes and learn from them while continuing on her path towards a goal that she cannot see. To assist her she has a talent for reading ‘the golden compass’ or symbol reader, or alethiometer. Most of the Alethiometers have been destroyed by the ruling religious order of the day, and the one which Lyra holds is one which was kept for her. The ability to read this compass is an inane talent which only Lyra possesses.
The twists and turns of this book bring Lyra from a rather unlikable and untamed character, to a strong young woman on the brink of womanhood, who is on the cusp of discovering who she really is.
This first book of the trilogy, ‘Northern Lights’ has been made into a movie, the other two books, ‘The Subtle Knife’ and ‘the Amber Spyglass’ are still available in book form only.
The trilogy has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Book of the year and the public’s favourite Carnegie Medal winner of all time.