2nd attempt to read this and I finally made it. Perhaps if I had come to this at a younger age, I may have got hooked by it, but alas after finally getting through it I'm left deeply underwhelmed. It's an interesting concept and reasonably well paced but I think i've finally come to the conlusion that I'm just not a fan of Pullman's style. The writing seems smug to me and the characters irritating. Needless to say I won't be reading any further into the series but I am glad I made it through this one.