I liked this book even more the second time around. Being able to take thing slow because I know what is going to happen makes it possible to catch the nuance that I missed the first time around. I loved the witches and wished there were more about them.
Pullman seems to love his characters and lovingly describes them and what happens to them. That is why I find it puzzling to read of the actions of Lord Azriel and Mrs Coulter. No explanation is given for their differing names and objectives. Perhaps it is explained in later books.
Lyra moves from her artless naivete of an child running around the campus of an alternative Oxford University to bearing the burdens of an adult. Each episode causes her to grow and expand while maintaining her childlike innocence. At time the knowledge is almost too much for her to bear. She is helped by her demon Pantalaimon, whose courage makes it possible for Lyra to do what is necessary.
There is more to be found than can be done in two readings. Like other great stories this one requires many readings to uncover its true meaning.