|Image: Penguin Random House|
#tbt features The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. This is book one of a trilogy entitled, "His Dark Materials." It was originally published in the U.K. under the title, Northern Lights. It won the Carnegie Medal there, which is like winning the Newbery Medal here. This epic high fantasy is the story of an orphan named Lyra Belacqua who lives with the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. She is a curious, free spirit. Something which worries her daemon, Pantalaimon to no end. All humans in this world possess a daemon companion. Until puberty, these beings can change shape. Lyra eavesdrops on her uncle, Lord Asrial giving a talk about something called "dust." Her best friend, Roger also goes missing. She fears he has been snatched by "the gobblers," a ring of child-abductors. When the powerful socialite, Mrs. Coulter decides to adopt Lyra, the Master gives her a strange device called an alethiometer, or truth teller.
The world-building is brilliant and suspense builds as pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together. The cast of characters is large and eventually introduces an exiled polar bear king. The book was turned into a film in 2007, which did not do it any justice. It has been recently redone as a Netflix series and has been adapted as a graphic novel. If you enjoy high fantasy, you will love The Golden Compass and its sequels.