Reviews | Written by EdFortune 22/11/2020



Phillip Pullman’s novel Northern Lights came out in 1995 and was declared a modern classic. This happens all the time in publishing but is rarely true. With a hit TV series on our screens, millions of books sold and Pullman hailed as a master of fantasy, it’s fair to say that they got it right.

Northern Lights is the story of Lyra Belacqua, a young girl who is still finding their way in the world. Raised in a fantastic version of an Oxford college, Lyra comes from a world where part of a person’s soul manifests in the real world as an animal, which is a called a daemon. Lyra is still quite young and thus her daemon, Pantalaimon, can shapeshift. Lyra becomes embroiled in a conspiracy that affects not only her own world but heaven, hell and the multi-verse itself.

Part of the book's popularity is that this is a children’s story set in a very adult world; though they are armoured talking polar bears, magical compasses and mystical pets, the story itself is one crammed with complicated themes and deep ideas, whilst being an amazing fantasy adventure at the same time.

The new illustrated edition is an enormous hardback book filled with full-colour illustrations. Pullman’s world is a vivid and rather frightening one. Artist Chris Wormell digs deep into Pullman’s narrative to bring some of the most vivid parts of the story to life. His art is beautiful yet dark, which fits the story perfectly.

His Dark Materials Northern Lights Illustrated Edition is not a lavishly painted fantasy work filled with huge vistas; the art is more intimate and it matches Pullman’s vision. This large book is unlikely to be the first Phillip Pullman book you buy but it is an ideal gift (for others or yourself) for fans of this fantasy classic.

Please note delivery times may be affected by the current global situation. Dismiss