The first 1/3 of this story starts on the campus of Jordan College in Oxford, England. In the very first part a little girl named Lyra Belacqua, the main character, is introduced and is immediately pegged as being a very adventurous little girl. In the very first scene of the book, she is sneaking into the Scholar Retiring Room. When in the Retiring room she sees the Master put white powder into the glass of Lyra’s visiting Uncle Asriel. Uncle Asriel is a very involved in high politics and exploration and she is very proud to be his Niece. When he arrives, she warns him of his glass and he accidentally spills it. Before she could sneak out, the Scholars arrived and she had to hide again. Uncle Asriel was at Jordan College to ask for more funds to continue his research on “dust” in the north. Lyra is fascinated with hearing stories of her Uncle Asriel’s adventures in the north. At this point in the novel we do not know what the term “dust” means. Then after that, it is all fun and games for a while. Then, Strange disappearances start to happen. At first, they are far from Jordan College. Then, slowly, they start to happen closer and closer to Oxford. Then, one day Lyra’s best friend Roger the kitchen boy, is “captured” by this group called “Gobblers”. At this point in the novel this is all we know about this group. Then one day, a very nice lady comes to visit. Lyra is very fond of the lady. Her name is Mrs. Coulter. After the dinner they have, the Master of Jordan College takes Lyra aside and tells her that she must go with Mrs. Coulter because she is not safe at Jordan College any longer. Lyra is curious about what she is not safe from. But she doesn’t really care too much because she really likes Mrs. Coulter and she is mesmerized by her adventurous tales of the north. They were to leave in the morning. But in the early morning, she was called to the Master’s private quarters and said that he had to give her something. He gave her a small, golden, compass-type-thing. He called it an “Alethiometer”. He told Lyra it could answer that she asked it. He said there was no time to explain how to use it so he told her to figure it out by herself. So she goes with Mrs. Coulter. When she gets there, Mrs. Coulter gets progressively crankier and crankier. Then when she decides to throw a party before she goes north with Lyra, she yells at Lyra and this frightens her. So she decides to run away. She leaves and after travelling a short distance, she gets chased by shadowy figures and then rescued by people she knew from Oxford. They are called “Gyptians” and they travel in boats. This particular family is called the “Costas”. She learns from the Costas that the “Gobblers” hit the Gyptians hardest and they are venturing north to rescue their children. So they venture north. About halfway, they stop to attend the meeting with all the other Gyptians and formally plan their attack. At the meeting Lyra talks to the elders and learns a lot about the Alethionmeter and herself. She learned that the Alethiometer is only one of three that exist. And it turns out that Mrs. Coulter was the head of the Gobblers who kidnapped children. And, Mrs. Coulter was Lyra’s mother! And Lord Asriel was really her father! WOW! I never saw that coming and neither did poor Lyra! The overall reaction to this part of the story was at first one of unexpected lack of excitement. It was fine, but I craved for some adventure. Then it came to the part where she was just frolicking around Oxford and exploring Jordan College further. This part I thought was much more interesting. She was always getting into trouble and at one point she angered some spirits and they haunted her for one night. All was well, but then the disappearances started and they gradually became closer and closer to where Lyra lived and, of course, you know that she or someone close to her will be kidnapped. And so, as expected, her best friend Roger the kitchen boy gets kidnapped. They were really good friends and I can imagine how bad she felt at this point. Then when Lyra moves in with Mrs. Coulter, I knew immediately that something was not right about her. If I were Lyra at this point, I would have thought things were too good to be true. This is how the writer conveyed that there was something not right. I would have left right at that moment. But what kind of story would it is if the main character escapes danger all the time? A bad one because all stories need conflicts. I like the part where Lyra runs away from Mrs. Coulter because nothing exciting ever happened while at Mrs. Coulter’s apartment. The “travelling north with the Gyptians” part was kind of boring but all right nonetheless. I liked this part of the book because of its action-filled parts. They are so vivid and realistic. I think that she will venture north and get captured by the Gobblers in the next part because that is what happens in books like this. There is always a lot of mini-crisis-type situations. But, overall, I loved the first part of this book. I can’t wait until I read the rest of the book.
my name is mason prouse.