I read this book about 18-Jul-2006. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1995. This note was last modified Saturday, 29-Jul-2006 15:57:15 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
First volume of His Dark Materials. Originally titled Northern Lights, which is probably a better title. The "golden compass" thingy is too powerful and too weak and not explained well enough and pretty magical. And comparing it to a compass is all wrong, it's a watch; it has multiple hands that point to symbols around the dial.
Very Nordic. None of the characters became big friends of mine, though. Lyra has fairly realistic limitations on her attitude and viewpoint that makes her hard to get too close to. The tech level is interesting and probably picking stuff where the Victorians were fairly advanced. Electric trolleys sound advanced to me.