I feel like I am barely scratching the surface of this book. I did do a bit of research and learned that it is a retelling of Milton's Paradise Lost, which I have never read. I am not well grounded in either theology or particle physics, so a lot of the references are obscure to me.
However, from a surface level, I love the atmosphere of the book. There are strong nods to Victorian style, and the first several chapters at Jordan College in Oxford are really enjoyable. Lyra is a bewitching character, bright, fearless and a bit of a savage. I love the fact that the people in this world have a manifestation of their inner selves - their daemon - that takes the form of an animal. The golden compass has made it's appearance, but Lyra seems to have no idea what to do with it, and has just been told that it is a device to tell her the truth.
I've read this book once before, but didn't go on with the series, and it has been many years since my first experience.