Really slow in the beginning. The story didn't really pick up until Part Two. There was a lot of world-setup in Part One, but it didn't fully describe what was going on and made the text kind of confusing (the presense of daemons and why they are there). But once Part Two began, I was hooked. There was nonstop action and great narration.
I really liked Lyra's character throughout the text. She was so adventurous and headstrong, but in a way that was still realistic for her age. At times she was naive and made mistakes. I loved that she was presented as a three-dimensional character. This book was great and I can't wait to read the second one in the series.