The His Dark Materials series came highly recommended to me as a modern YA classic. The Golden Compass is the first and frankly my favorite of the three. The Daemons were such an interesting magical construct and so much of the story centered around their importance. Lyra was another in the line of come from nothing, do something great protagonists but she was very easy to root for.
A puritanical church rules over England and Lyra must find her way while avoiding their oppressive grasp. Sounds simple enough but the magic and characters we see along her journey paint a great picture of this alternate world. The sequels were not quite as engaging for me (though still interesting and good), but The Golden Compass still stands out as an excellent read.
(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)