The Golden Compass introduces the reader to Lyra, an orphan growing up at Oxford under the care of her uncle. She is rather like a tomboy, spending her time playing with her best friend Roger and getting herself into all sorts of mischief with her daemon (oh yeah, every person has their own daemon...and if you don't know what that is until you read the book, don't feel bad, neither did I). When a lovely, intelligent woman, Mrs. Coulter, arrives at Oxford and offers to take Lyra away with her for hands-on schooling, Lyra is incredibly excited and rather enjoys herself at first. When she realizes that the schooling Mrs. Coulter plans for her is of the sinister and evil nature, she knows that she has to take matters into her own hands to save the children of the world.
Filled with armored bears, witches, and a special golden compass that will explain everything, Pullman's book was a pleasure to read. I truly enjoyed this book and definitely feel it will appeal to adults AND children. It should not have been shelved in the adult science fiction section in my own opinion, possibly young adult would have been better, though I really don't see why it's not in the juvenile section! Before watching the movie, which happens to star Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter, please read this book...it is definitely worth your time!