Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times Best Seller
An Indiebound Best Seller
A Kids' Next Top Ten Book
A Summer/Fall 2014 Indies Introduce New Voices Selection A Junior Library Guild Selection
One of Publishers Weeklyand#8217;s Best Summer Reads
and#147;Not since Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass have I seen such an original and compelling world built inside a book.and#8221;and#151;Megan Whalen Turner, New York Times best-selling author of A Conspiracy of Kings
She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.
Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New Worldand#151;a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods. and#160;Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.
Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrackand#8217;s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrackand#8217;s life, they are in danger of losing their own.
The Glass Sentence plunges readers into a time and place they will not want to leave, and introduces them to a heroine and hero they will take to their hearts. It is a remarkable debut.
and#147;I think The Glass Sentence is absolutely marvelous.and#160; Itand#8217;s the best book Iand#8217;ve read in a long time.and#160; The world-building is so convincing, the plot so fast-moving and often surprising, and the ideas behind the novel so completely original. I love this book.and#8221;and#151;Nancy Farmer, National Book Award-winning author of The House of the Scorpion
and#147;I loved it! So imaginative!and#8221;and#151;Nancy Pearl
and#147;An exuberantly imagined cascade of unexplored worlds, inscribed in prose and detail as exquisite as the ... maps young Sophia uses to navigate such unpredictable landscapes. A book like a pirate's treasure hoard for map lovers like me."and#151;Elizabeth Wein, New York Times best-selling author of Code Name Verity
and#147;Brilliant in concept, breathtaking in scale and stellar in its worldbuilding; this is a world never before seen in fiction . . . Wholly original and marvelous beyond compare.and#8221;and#151;Kirkus Reviews, starred review
and#147;A thrilling, time-bending debut . . . Itand#8217;s a cracking adventure, and Grove bolsters the action with commentary on xenophobia and government for hire, as well as a fascinating system of map magic.and#8221;and#151;Publishers Weekly, starred review
A Summer/Fall 2014 Indies Introduce New Voices Selection
A Junior Library Guild Selection
One ofand#160;Publishers Weeklyand#8217;s Best Summer Reads
and#8220;Not since Philip Pullman'sand#160;The Golden Compassand#160;have I seen such an original and compelling world built inside a book.and#8221;
and#8212;Megan Whalen Turner,and#160;New York Timesand#160;best-selling author ofand#160;A Conspiracy of Kings
and#8220;I thinkand#160;The Glass Sentence is absolutely marvelous.and#160; Itand#8217;s the best book Iand#8217;ve read in a long time.and#160; The world-building is so convincing, the plot so fast-moving and often surprising, and the ideas behind the novel so completely original. I love this book.and#8221;
and#8212;Nancy Farmer, National Book Award-winning author ofand#160;The House of the Scorpion
and#8220;I loved it! So imaginative!and#8221;
and#8220;An exuberantly imagined cascade of unexplored worlds, inscribed in prose and detail as exquisite as the ... maps young Sophia uses to navigate such unpredictable landscapes. A book like a pirate's treasure hoard for map lovers like me."
and#8212;Elizabeth Wein,and#160;New York Timesand#160;best-selling author ofand#160;Code Name Verity
* and#8220;Brilliant in concept, breathtaking in scale and stellar in its worldbuilding; this is a world never before seen in fiction . . . Wholly original and marvelous beyond compare.and#8221;
and#8212;Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* and#8220;A thrilling, time-bending debut . . . Itand#8217;s a cracking adventure, and Grove bolsters the action with commentary on xenophobia and government for hire, as well as a fascinating system of map magic.and#8221;
and#8212;Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for THE APPRENTICES:
Sequel to the New York Times bestseller, THE APOTHECARY!
STARRED REVIEW FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
“features the same fun, fast-moving formula as the first book, with charming characters and exciting intrigue mixed with a handful of magic . . . Schoenherrs moody illustrations (not all seen by PW) add to the atmosphere of this magical (in multiple senses) story.”
FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“This . . . well-constructed adventure accurately conveys the geopolitical instability of the era and is leavened with just enough magic, chaste romance and humor to appeal to middle-grade readers through teens.
“Meloy boldly weaves the disparate strings of the story together in inventive—sometimes breathtaking—ways. More nuanced than the first book, this brings together a large and intriguing cast and explores their knotty relationships . . . the characters become more memorable as the pages fly by.”
Praise for Maile Meloys THE APOTHECARY:
A New York Times Bestseller
E.B. White Read-Aloud Book Award Winner
2011 Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
2011 Wall Street Journal Best of the Year
2011 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Reading List
“Inventive, smart and fun, an absolute delight.”
—REBECCA STEAD, Newbery Award-winning author of WHEN YOU REACH ME
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK
“[Meloy] brings to her first book for young readers the same emotional resonance that has won acclaim for her adult fiction, grounding her story in the intricacies of family love, friendship and loyalty blended here with the complicated fluctuations of adolescence.”
FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:
“Maile Meloys sly commingling of the real and the imaginary make this a witty and entertaining Cold War romp—with a touch of age-appropriate romance.”
FROM USA TODAY:
“The title of Maile Meloys smartly written, page-turning adventure/fantasy refers to a magical druggist in London in 1952. . . . Its for curious readers who, like Meloys characters, can make room in their imaginations and ‘allow for the possibilities.”
STARRED REVIEW FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
“[A] thoroughly enjoyable adventure, filled with magic, humor, memorable characters, and just a bit of sweet romance. With evocative, confident prose and equally atmospheric spot art from Schoenherr, adult author Meloys first book for young readers is an auspicious one.”
“Those who know little about blacklisting, the Cold War, and European life after WWII will just have to dive into the fantasy-adventure pool, which runs long and deep. Magic elixirs, transformational disguises, and everyday cunning help Janie, Benjamin, and several scientists elude capture.”
FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“[I]ts blend of history, culture and the anxiety of the time with magical “science” will keep readers just as spellbound as the characters.”
“[G]ood, strong historical fiction spiced with intrigue, magical realism, mystery, suspense, and science…the spies and historical twist give it a lot of flavor. The illustrations are fluid and delightful.”
In a landmark epic of fantasy and storytelling, Philip Pullman invites readers into a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, or Redwall. Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.
FOR THE FIRST time, the hardcover editions of Philip Pullman's awardwinning His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) with the original, classic covers by Eric Rohmann, will be available in a boxed set.
Published in 40 countries, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy – The Golden Compass
, The Subtle Knife
, and The Amber Spyglass
– has graced the New York Times
, Wall Street Journal
, San Francisco Chronicle
, Book Sense
, and Publishers Weekly
The Golden Compass forms the first part of a story in three volumes. The first volume is set in a world like ours, but different in many ways. The second volume is set partly in the world we know. The third moves between many worlds.
In The Golden Compass, readers meet 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Jordan College in Oxford, England. It quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own—nor is her world. In Lyra's world, everyone has a personal dæmon, a lifelong animal familiar. This is a world in which science, theology and magic are closely intertwined.
The Subtle Knife is the second part of the trilogy that began with The Golden Compass. That first book was set in a world like ours, but different. This book begins in our own world.
In The Subtle Knife, readers are introduced to Will Parry, a young boy living in modern-day Oxford, England. Will is only twelve years old, but he bears the responsibilities of an adult. Following the disappearance of his explorer-father, John Parry, during an expedition in the North, Will became parent, provider and protector to his frail, confused mother. And it's in protecting her that he becomes a murderer, too: he accidentally kills a man who breaks into their home to steal valuable letters written by John Parry. After placing his mother in the care of a kind friend, Will takes those letters and sets off to discover the truth about his father.
The Amber Spyglass brings the intrigue of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife to a heartstopping close, marking the third and final volume as the most powerful of the trilogy. Along with the return of Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, Dr. Mary Malone, and Iorek Byrnison the armored bear, The Amber Spyglass introduces a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust; Gallivespian Lord Roke, a hand-high spy-master to Lord Asriel; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. And this final volume brings startling revelations, too: the painful price Lyra must pay to walk through the land of the dead, the haunting power of Dr. Malone's amber spyglass, and the names of who will live—and who will die—for love. And all the while, war rages with the Kingdom of Heaven, a brutal battle that—in its shocking outcome—will reveal the secret of Dust.
Two years have passed since Janie Scott last saw Benjamin Burrows, the mysterious apothecary’s defiant son who stole her heart. On the other side of the world, Benjamin and his father are treating the sick and wounded in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam. But Benjamin has also been experimenting with a magical new formula that allows him to communicate with Janie across the globe. When Benjamin discovers that she's in trouble, he calls on their friend Pip for help. The three friends are thrown into a desperate chase around the world to find one another, while unraveling the mystery of what threatens them all. Acclaimed author Maile Meloy seamlessly weaves together magic and adventure in this breathtaking sequel with stunning illustrations by Ian Schoenherr.
Its 1954, and Janie Scott is in boarding school in New Hampshire, trying to make a new life. Two years have passed since she last saw the mysterious apothecaryor his defiant son, Benjamin. All she knows is that her friends are out there somewhere, trying to keep the world safe in an age of mounting atomic power. On the other side of the world, Benjamin is treating the wounded in a jungle war, and experimenting with a magical new formula that will let him communicate with Janie across the globe.
But Janie has her own experiment underway, and its attracting interest from sinister forces. Benjamin calls on their friend Pip for help, and they have to race to find one another, and to unravel the mystery of their powerful new enemies.
A magical new adventure, following Maile Meloys critically acclaimed novel The Apothecary, with captivating illustrations by Ian Schoenherr.
About the Author
“The most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings.” --The Oregonian
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal--including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.
Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.
But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other. . . .
A New York Times Bestseller
A Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time
An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times
"Superb . . . all-stops-out thrilling." --The Washington Post
"A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"The Golden Compass is one of the best fantasy / adventure stories that I have read. This is a book no one should miss." --Terry Brooks
Reading Group Guide
The questions, discussion topics, and author information that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of The Golden Compass
. We hope that this guide will help you to navigate - alongside the story's young protagonist, Lyra Belacqua - Philip Pullman's richly imagined universe, populated by armored bears, gyptians, witches, and human beings, whose dæmons are never far from their side.
Dæmons are one of the most striking, charming, and powerful images in The Golden Compass. These spirit-creatures, which seem like physical representations of the human soul, can change form to reflect the myriad of emotional states their humans go through as children. But in adulthood, each dæmon settles into the animal form that best reflects the inner nature of its human counterpart. It is in this unusual and imaginative creation that Pullman turns his sharpest mirror back onto his readers, helping us to imagine our own souls as precious, living extensions of ourselves that we can love, challenge, or even betray.
The Golden Compass is a complex story that turns on a simple word: "Dust." This Dust does not gather in the unswept corners of Jordan College, Lyra's Oxford home. Rather, this Dust seems to reveal - or perhaps contain - the thing that makes each human being a unique creature. The concept of Dust provokes fear in some; others realize that mastery over Dust could be the source of great power. Although she does not quite realize it, Lyra - along with her dæmon Pantalaimon - finds her life inextricably entangled with the exploration of Dust. And as her understanding of Dust and her mastery over a mysterious tool called the alethiometer increases, the dangerous journey that she seems destined to make takes some astounding twists and turns.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Philip Pullman's iritriguing and haunting trilogy sends fantasy lovers on on incredible journey through other worlds where they meet mysterious creatures and a brave and extraordinary 12-year-old girl, Lyra Belacqua, who has the power to seek truth.
In The Golden Compass, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by evil scientists.
The Subtle Knife takes Lyra to Cittagazze, where she meets Will Parry, a fugitive boy from our own universe who becomes her ally and friend. On their journey from world to world, Lyra and Will's lives become forever intertwined as they uncover a deadly secret.
The Amber Spyglass is the crowning conclusion to the intrigue begun in The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. Each of the novels in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy offers an exciting adventure that takes readers, young and old, on a journey through different dimensions to unknown worlds. The electrifying plots and unusual and mysterious characters make these novels excellent choices for reading aloud.
Religion plays an important part in many works offantasy, which often include themes ofgood versus evil and characters searching to understand the basicfoundations of theirfaiths. Ask students to use the Bible, a storybook, or an encyclopedia to read about the Garden ofEden and the fall ofAdam and Eve (Genesi's 2-3). Have students discuss original sin, why Godforbade Adam and Eve to eatfrom the Tree of Knowledge, and how Adam and Eve ~ lives changed once they gained knowledge.
BETRAYAL-Ask the class to look up the various meanings of the word betrayal. How does Lyra betray Roger in The Golden Compass? Discuss whether she was aware that she was betraying him. How does she try to rectify this betrayal? What is Lyra's great betrayal in The Amber Spyglass? How do Lyra's mother and father betray her-and then protect her? Discuss how Lyra deals with these betrayals.
GOOD VS. EVIL-The trilogy challenges our assumptions about good and evil: some witches are good, while some members of the church are evil. What are other examples of unexpected forms of good and evil in the trilogy? At the end of The Amber Spyglass, what do Will and Lyra learn about good and evil, about actions versus labels? How will this affect the way they will live the rest of their lives?
COURAGE-Have students trace Lyra's courage as she travels from one dimension to another. At what point does she almost lose her courage? How does Will show courage in The Subtle Knife? Discuss how Lyra and Will help one another sustain their courage throughout their quests in The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
Engage the class in a discussion about whether having possession of the alethiometer and the subtle knife either gives Lyra and Will courage or threatens it. How does it take courage to leave one another and return to their own worlds at the end of the trilogy?
FEAR- At the end of The Golden Compass, Lyra is afraid of her father, yet admires him. Why does he evoke fear in her? How can she be afraid and admire him at the same time? How is fear the basis of Will's mother's illness? Discuss how fear is related to courage. Engage the class in a discussion about how Lyra and Will sleas 0 contribute to their courage as they face the evil forces.
TRUST-In The Subtle Knife, Will accidentally kills an intruder who wants his father's personal documents and then labels himself a murderer. Why does this enable Lyra to trust him? Which characters do Serafina Pekkala and Lee Scoresby decide to trust? Is their trust warranted? Who are the characters that Lyra once trusted, but in the end finds that she cannot? In what other way does trust play an important role in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy?
LOVE-In The Amber Spyglass, Will says to Serafina, "Thank you, Serafina Pekkala, for rescuing us at the belvedere and for everything else. Please be kind to Lyra for as long as she lives. I love her more than anyone has ever been loved." (p. 509) Trace the development of Will and Lyra's love for one another from the time they first meet in The Subtle Knife until they part in The Amber Spyglass. How does their love affect the fate of the living-and the dead? How does Lyra's adventure help her to discover a new meaning of love?
LANGUAGE ARTS-The Golden Compass has been described as a heroic novel. Ask students to identify the qualities of a hero. Who are the heroes in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? Have students select a hero from one of the novels and write a poem about that hero. Encourage students to share their poems in class.
It is quite common for writers of fantasy to create their own vocabularies. Vocabulary, including the names of characters, is often symbolic of the underlying themes and messages of the story. Make a glossary for Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy that represents the unique vocabulary he created.
SOCIAL STUDIES-At the end of The Amber Spyglass, Will and Mary return to their world and Will accompanies Mary to her flat. Mary explains to Serafina that she can't just give Will a permanent home because in her world you must follow rules and regulations regarding keeping children. Find out today's rules regarding foster care. What is the purpose of foster care? Discuss whether Will would qualify for foster care. Would Mary qualify as a foster mother?
ART-Masks have been used through the ages to represent animals, monsters, supernatural spirits, dream creatures, etc. Ask students to think about which animal would most likely be their daemon and create a mask to represent that animal. Allow students time to share their masks and to explain why they chose that particular animal as their daemon.
SCIENCE/HEALTH-Mary says that Will's mother sounds like a "classic manic-depressive." Ask students to research the symptoms and characteristics of manicdepression or bipolar disorder. How is it different from other types of depression? From anxiety? Research the treatments for various types of depression. What type of treatment is Will's mother likely to need?
SCIENCE-In Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, Lyra has the alethiometer, Will has the knife, and Dr. Malone has the spyglass to aid them in their quests. Though these items are fictitious, scientists have always used tools and instruments to conduct investigations. Have students research the type of instruments used through the ages and construct a time line that reveals their development. What instruments do scientists use today?
MUSIC-Music plays an important role in modern fantasy and science fiction films. Play music from films such as Star Wars and ask students to analyze the music as it applies to plot development. How is music an important link in communicating story? Divide students into three groups and assign each a novel in the trilogy. Instruct them to locate music that would be appropriate for a film of their assigned novel. Allow time to share the selections.