I picked up this book, well the series really, in order to spend some time reading a few stories to my eight year old daughter. However, she wasn't very interested in the book because there were so many words she didn't know the definition of. However, I fully enjoyed the tale.I picked this book specifically because it appeared to have a strong young female lead character and the story didn't disappoint in that regard. In fact Lyra is, perhaps, one of the bravest characters I've ever read. Considering she is, maybe, 11 years old she faces and overcomes incredible circumstances throughout the book.The setting of the book is an alternate earth that is very similar to our own world, but in an age gone by, but also one that is very foreign. For instance Texas is a country and Polar Bears are warriors who can talk. However, the most unusual part of the world is also one of the main elements of the overall story - the daemons; an animal representation of each person's soul.Lyra and her animal companion, Pan, experience a wide range of adventure as well as a a colorful cast of characters. One of the coolest aspects of the book is that it isn't obvious who is actually doing good and who is doing evil - or if either of the two main characters that are a focus of Lyra's attention are doing good at all. The only thing we really know is the people who befriend Lyra all seem like really good people.I hope to get my daughter to come back and read this book either by herself or with me in the future because I think she would really enjoy the story.