3rd April 2023

Northern Lights

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Northern Lights

by Philip Pullman

From witches to armoured bears, love to violence, my favourite book is a rollercoaster ride that elevates oneself right into the heart of this magical world. Casting Lyra, a 12 year old girl, as its heroine, this fearless child soon embarks on a journey that will change her life.Joined on her adventure by her ever-present, shape-shifting companion, Pantalaimon (an externalisation of her soul), their quest is to reach Lord Asriel who is engaged in a daunting mission- as well as rescue Billy Costa- in the far reaches of the Northern lights. The amazingly strong bond between these two characters is expressed beautifully in Pullman’s prose, and is truly unlike any fictional relationship I have ever encountered. This courageous young girl has to battle the power of the state, the beautiful, yet dangerous Mrs Coulter whilst carrying the weight of her friends’ expectations of her victory on her young shoulders.


With a breath-taking ending (an almost literal cliff-hanger), Northern Lights’ marks the start of an epic and complex trilogy of books. Touching, well-written and with a profusely discursive philosophical sub-text, this is an incredibly original work of fantasy with a twist of counter-factual history about it. At times violent and shocking, heart-breaking and funny; Northern Lights’ is a book well worth clearing your diary for.

Reviewed by Mr Warmoth

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