The Golden Compass is an awesome story about the rambunctious girl, Lyra, and her spiritual companion, Pan, who attempt to rescue her friend from the clutches of the mysterious Gobblers. This audacious child defies her dictatorial uncle, school administrator, an oppressive Catholic Church, and all social norms, deals with the outcast Gyptians (Gypsies?), armored bears, witch clans, and vicious Tartars to such affect that I fell in love with her. This is why I urge everyone to read this children’s story and stop! Sadly, the trilogy continues with The Subtle Knife which turns the incredible Lyra into a helpless nothing, completely submissive to Will, a boy who joins her quest to seek the answer behind the extraordinary Dust. Will isn’t especially interesting to me, despite us both being momma’s boys, and I missed the intrepid Lyra. The series finally concludes in The Amber Spyglass with an interminable rant again Christianity and a romance novel quality love story. Listen, I’m not going to defend the Church, but the theme could have been infinitely more poignant with a fantastical religious organization and not risked the wrath of fundamentalists. It’s a shame that such an awesome start ended so disappointingly.