I once said that the Golden Compass is the book that I am most jealous of people who haven't read it yet, because they get to read it for the first time. So I was thrilled when I heard that Phillip Pullman was coming out with another book in the Golden Compass Universe.
We read this is book club (look out for book club post coming) and so it was interesting to hear the experiences from people who have and haven't read His Dark Materials and to try to avoid spoilers.
One note: I forgot this was a part I of three, so I ended up being a little unfulfilled by the ending, but luckily there is more coming.
I found this to be a very endearing story, that evoked some of the best parts of The Golden Compass. Malcolm is very different than Lyra, but it was nice to see some of our old friends and have a greater exposure to her past. However, the new characters are fully defined, and interesting.
There are definitely some parts where suspension of disbelief is required. It also reminded me of the Mists of Avalon at times (one part in particular.) Pullman is a masterful world builder (probably one of the best ever) and that shines in this book.
I recommend for fans of His Dark Materials and new fans alike, although I am suspicious that fans will get more out of it. Share it with some smart kids, or smart anyone you know.
I also want to make a note that in the dedication to The Golden Compass, Pullman thanks every other writer, and I always have to thank him. My life is so much better because he shared his stories.