by Philip Pullman
Although The Golden Compass might be called epic fantasy, it's light on the swords and dragons. Rather, the focus is on developing compelling characters and a strange alternate version of 19th century Europe where every person has a daemon -- a sort of second soul in animal form. The story is about Lyra Belacqua, a precocious child whose family is intimately connected to the mysterious Dust, a strange kind of elementary particle found near the north pole. This is a fun book; a particularly well-done segment involves a society of intelligent bears. Recommended.
copyright © 2001 John Regehr