Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Book review: The Golden Compass

Apparently this is a book that I should have read 20 years ago or so. The people I know who were big readers as kids all did.

The story happens on an alternative England where people have beings that are tied into their very being and can change shape until the person reaches puberty.

There's a little girl who thinks she's an orphan being raised by her uncle on the campus of a prestigious university. Of course, she's the chosen one. She can't know it or what she's supposed to do won't happen.

Children are disappearing all over England including a friend of the girl's.

One day a woman comes along to take her off to a proper ladies school and make the girl her assistant. Of course, the woman is one of the "Gobblers" who have been kidnapping children.

Before leaving the Dean, or something, gives the girl a golden compass that can tell you the truth if you know how to ask and how to read.

Once the girl finds out that this woman is responsible for kidnapping her uncle and the children she runs away. She flees with some gypsies whose kids have been taken. They head to the north to free the uncle who is being held captive by talking, armored, polar bears and the children who are being held, not completely against their will, in a school/laboratory. In this school/lab the kids are tested regularly to see if they're attracting a strange substance called Dust that is attracted to you when you hit puberty. Then their spirit creature thingy is cut off so the Dust isn't attracted to them. This is very traumatic for the kids and they're never quite right after that.

The Gobblers are a church based group that thinks the Dust has something to do with original sin. They're trying to find the source of the Dust and stop it.

The book is written for kids to young adults. Not just in subject matter, but in the way things are worded. Like the reader is simple. The story ticks right along and should convert well to a movie.

Some people are complaining that this book and the pending movie are anti-christian. Not so much. It doesn't attack a belief system. However, one of the significant bad guys is an unnamed, Old Testament based, church. It's the church that's bad, not the faith.

I think the movie should make better use of the story than the book. The book is best for reading to kids before bed.

There's two more books. I'm not rushing them to the top of the stack, but I hope to get them read and reviewed in the next few months.

1 comment:

Mike Rhode said...

It's the second two books that are strongly anti-religious, or at least anti-Christianity.