It's hard for me to consider The Golden Compass a children's book. I suppose the things we read as children, we understand as children. In that sense, I am sorry I didn't read this sooner, as it must be cool to grow up with this book and to have your understanding of it ever expanding. Things I Loved- Lyra. I didn't always love Lyra, especially at the beginning. Her being 11 and very rough around the edges made it hard for me to relate to anything, to like her or to grasp onto anything about her. Ironically enough, it ended up being her imperfections that endeared me to her the most. I liked that she was brave, but she sometimes cried and felt hopeless. I liked that she was trying to do right, but that she often relied on her keen ability to lie. I liked that she was fooled, even though in the end she finally saw very clearly what was in front of her. - The daemons. Hands down the best characteristic of this fantasy world. Wonderfully imagined and crafted, I truly fell in love with the idea of the external soul, of this companion and second half. The most emotional moments for me came at the hands of the daemons, really. When Lyra found Tony, I truly, truly felt heartbroken and had to step away from the book. Pantalaimon was as wonderful a character as any other and the bond between the two characters we felt rather than merely spoken of. - The world. In addition to the daemons, I found the the world as a whole, fantasy with a sprinkling of steampunk, was layered and juicy and delicious. From the gyptians to the zepplins. Dust to anabraic lights. I loved the setting. - Iorek. Pullman did an amazing job of writing these sentient animals and I swear my heart was squeezed every time Lyra called him "dear." The evolution of their relationship was lovely as well. Things That Lacked- The beginning was a little slow. I did not feel fully engaged until Lyra was with the gyptians and it was around that point that I began to like her too. - Lord Asriel and Roger. Lord Asriel seemed a little too maniacal and Roger was too one dimensional. - I was thrown by the alethiometer. It's hard to write such a powerful instrument because I was constantly wondering why she didn't just use it. USE IT GIRL. But, whatever. Overall, I very much enjoyed it, which I know will please a few of my friends who claim it a favorite.