written by Philip Pullman
. Ostensibly, a children's book as evidenced by the publisher's efforts to market it as one, Northern Lights improves with the age of the reader. Set in a fantasy world where each human has a personal daemon
, the physical manifestation of the person's soul. Religion
, and Magic
are all closely related in this world. The protagonist, Lyra Belacqua, is a precocious orphan in the hands of an esteemed college, though her journeys take her far from there. Throughout the novel, Lyra uncovers a plot to enter a world outside her own through the sacrifice of children to Religion
. Rather heavy themes for children, I would say. The first novel in a trilogy entitled "His Dark Materials".
This novel is, in my opinion, rather excellent, because it doesn't use the fantasy elements to its own advantage. The realism of characters is more important that the setting it occurs in. In the end, this is a very rare novel that doesn't act arrogant in its own worldview, which makes other similar stories, such as C.S. Lewis's fictional works fail in their efforts to grasp the mind.
The two sequels, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, continue the story of Lyra and her friends and enemies.