‘Northern Lights’ by Philip Pullman

My rating: 3 stars

The universe of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman is similar to our own but with additional magical elements. Although the first book in His Dark Materials trilogy is set in an intriguing world where humans have daemons, I didn’t fall in love with the storytelling and the characters. It deals with complex topics, such as class issues, desire and the original sin from the Bible. Nonetheless, the writing is sometimes too simplistic and superficial. I would have probably enjoyed it far more had I read it for the first time as a child.

The protagonist of the story is Lyra, a fierce child with an adventurous spirit. She had been told that her parents were Count and Countess Belacqua and that they had both died in an aeronautical accident in the North. For that reason, she was living at Jordan College in Oxford. It was the richest college in the city and was dedicated to experimental theology. Lyra had no idea what that meant. She thought it had something to do with magic and the movements of the stars and planets.

Despite knowing that she wasn’t allowed in the Retiring Room of the college, Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, went there to see what it looked like. As she heard the Master coming, she hid inside a wardrobe. She heard him speaking with the Butler about the imminent arrival of Lord Asriel, her uncle. She believed that they were trying to poison him. Lord Asriel and the Master were both members of the Cabinet Council, an advisory body of the prime minister. Continue reading

Book Haul – April 2019

I hadn’t planned to buy any books this month, but the desire to take part in the Daphne du Maurier reading week in May had me looking for new ones to add to my already overflowing small shelves. Could have I just bought one book? Yes! Did I? Of course not! This is a somewhat diverse haul, featuring a couple of different genres – classics, fantasy and literary fiction.


The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier is one of the authors that I want to read at least one book by every year. I read Jamaica Inn in January and wasn’t planning to read any other of her books in the following months. But then I discovered that Ali is dedicating a week (13 to 19 May) to du Maurier and decided to join in. For that purpose, I chose The House on the Strand. The main character, Dick Young, drinks a potion provided to him by a chemical researcher that allows him to time travel. He ends up in fourteenth-century Cornwall where he witnesses murder and adultery.


In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan

In the latest years, I’ve been reading the fantasy book series The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. In the Labyrinth of Drakes is the fourth instalment and reveals how Lady Trent gained her position in the Scirling Royal Army. All the other books were a mix of adventure with feminism and anthropological elements. I expect the same from this one. Continue reading