This is book two in Phillip Pullman's Dark Trilogy and when I started reading it I was a little disappointed because it was introducing another new character with complicated plot line. I wasn't sure how good of a decision that was considering The Golden Compass already has many different characters with enough issues to fill a least one more book, however I didn't question it past the first chapter.
The way the plot deepened and twisted and developed all the complexities of these worlds created by Pullman was something I appreciated greatly. This book is the shortest in the trilogy, but the writing moves the story very quickly and very well. I have read that people didn't like this as much as The Golden Compass, but I liked it better, found myself trying to see what I could skip during the day or night to read this and upon completion immediatly started The Amber Spyglass.
If I felt confidant all science fiction could be this good, I might find myself converted to another genre in my reading. I highly recommend this book with great praise.