Review: Northern Lights

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was probably my favourite book when I was younger. I loved the idea that a human soul could exist separately from the human itself, even more so when I discovered that the form the soul takes in Pullman’s novel is that of a “daemon”. Daemons within this context, are animals that accompany their humans at all times. The daemons of children can take on any form, but as the humans grow older, the daemons settle in to one stable form. All of this, is a concept I love.

The first part of the novel takes place at Oxford University’s Jordan College, where Lyra is waiting for her uncle to arrive. Here there is mention of “Dust”, which is the mysterious element that left me asking questions all throughout the novel. As readers, Pullman sucks us in to a confusing world full of “Gobblers” (people who kidnap children), secrets and an Alethiometer that will assist Lyra on her journey through the narrative. But all of it is truly captivating.

I particularly liked Mrs Coulter’s character; the hard edged, cruel, beautiful and merciless woman who is driven by power but has a soft side for Lyra. The twist that comes with her character is a shocking one and also one that crafts an intriguing story line. I am sure that in later books, even more layers of her character are revealed to us. She is definitely a character that held my interest throughout the novel.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to people of all ages. It is (just like Gatsby) one of those books that I could read over and over again and never get bored of. It’s an enthralling world full of adventure and I look forward to continuing the series.


I’ve given this a 4 tick rating because Pullman is a really great writer. Everything is easy to follow and the description is elaborate, helping us to follow the world he has created, with ease. Considering that he is introducing new and interesting concepts to us, it’s important that we are able to keep track of what we’re writing and he is certainly successful with his writing in helping us to do this. 

Reviewed by: Tanya Marie

View all my reviews

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