I read this book (and series) for the first time when I was in seventh or eighth grade, loved it a whole bunch, reread it shortly after, and didn't think too much about it for the next several years. I'm so glad I picked it up again; besides enjoying all (well, most of--there were a few things I remembered) the suspense and mystery all over again, it was deeper this time.
I guess a lot of reviewers think The Golden Compass was best, and the rest of the series didn't live up to it, or that the whole idea & execution itself was a bad one. And, well, maybe that's true...but I was too busy being pulled into an enchanting and super riveting story to notice. I wish more fiction could be so engrossing and exciting.