This post may seem to come out of left field, but here it goes anyway. I just finished “The Golden Compass” (1995) and it was an excellent read. Pullman creates an inviting fantasy world, populates it with interesting characters and hurtles them through the story as a propulsive pace. In addition to being a narrative feat, Pullman's novel manages to weave in some philosophical depth, which he does without derailing the narrative. And beyond that, he has armored polar bears with fun Scandinavian names, which, if you ask me, would make just about any novel better.
Considering the praise the book and its successors have received, perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but I was pleasantly surprised by the novel’s quality. Nary a word is wasted, and surprises abound. It’s a classic example of a children’s book entirely worthy of being read by adults. In this sense, it’s on a par with “The Hobbit” and the Harry Potter series.
I probably won’t dive into the second and third books in the trilogy right away — more pressing reading material awaits — but I will get to them eventually. Basically, I want to know how things turn out. However, I do plan to rent the movie tomorrow and watch it with my younger daughter, who, although a good reader, has not embraced this series — yet.