The Golden Compass
A delightful bedtime story, and so the perfect tale to hear each morning on the way to work, and each evening driving home after a long day of coding. Lyra is eleven or twelve, and she's grown up as the ward of Jordan College, Oxford. One day, she and her demon sneak into the Retiring Room, that sanctum sanctorum into which only the senior dons are admitted. She hides in a cupboard, hears things she should not know and witnesses astonishing and abominable acts.
The comparison with Harry Potter is, I suppose, inevitable. But there are dark things -- and ideas -- that hover at the margins of this trilogy, things that never seem to worry people in the land of the muggles.
I heard this in the unabridged Audible edition, read by Pullman (who has a lovely voice) with the assistance of a large and talented cast.