When Lyra's friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, set out to find him. They travel to the ice kingdom of the North, where armoured bears rule and the witch-queens fly through the frozen skies. Lyra possesses a device that will aid their quest - if she can decipher its mysterious messages. But it knows terrifying secrets about their journey, and the dangers that await them in worlds far beyond their own.
I have wanted to read this book (and the following two) ever since I watched the Golden Compass in the cinema, and I have only just got round to it - but boy, do I wish I had read it earlier! It was truely a great novel - Pullman is just a brilliant author, and somehow manages to make these alternative worlds and creatures totally believeable - you expect to look out of the window and see witches flying in the air and children running through the streets with their dæmon's by their sides. I would highly recommend it to anyone between the ages of 10 - 18, because even though Lyra is 12 years old (aka, younger than me), I could still relate to her (despite that its a fantasy world set in a kind of different world to what we live in) and at the end of the book, I felt like I had known her, Pan and Iorek since forever. I absolutely fell head over heels for every character - well, apart from Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter, but that's pretty understandable right from the start - and I'm itching to get the next two books from the library to see what happens to Lyra and Pan next.