Sunday, September 13, 2009

North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson

The Wingfeather Saga continues in North! Or Be Eaten, sequel to Andrew Peterson’s first novel, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby have learned the truth about the Jewels of Anniera and the Wingfeather family. So, unfortunately, have the evil Fangs of Dang, henchmen of ruthless ruler Gnag the Nameless. Glipwood Township, the only home the Igibys have ever known, is but a remnant of what it once was, mostly destroyed by a storm the night they escaped to Anklejelly Manor and is deserted by nearly all its occupants.

The Igibys, along with Podo, Nia, Nugget, and Peet the Sock Man, are at Peet’s castle preparing to flee to the northern Ice Prairies and the increased safety brought by its freezing temperatures. The Fangs, unable to manage the cold, will be unable to pursue them. Nearly all their preparations must be deserted, however, when they receive warning from Oskar N. Reteep, a friend thought to be dead, of another betrayal by Zouzab the Ridgerunner.

The Fangs are coming for them. Now.

The Igiby journey is rife with adventure and close calls. The family narrowly escapes Fangs and trolls and a gargan rockroach and snickbuzzards and even a toothy cow of Skree. Or two. They face the dangers of Dugtown, the Stranders of the East End, and a fork factory so horrible it earns two exclamation points, as in Fork! Factory!

But after the events of Book One, adventure in Book Two is a given. Seeing the Igiby children grow as they face new responsibilities and dangers, not only as people, but as royalty, is where North! Or Be Eaten excels. Janner’s reluctant acceptance of being Throne Warden, coupled with shaky confidence in fulfilling his call, has him walking a fine line between honored Throne Warden of Anniera and the despair of Artham Wingfeather, previous Throne Warden. Tink simply longs for the lost peace of the Igiby cottage and refuses to seize his role as High King. Leeli transforms from little sister to one who brings confidence to her family and calm maturity to times of distress.

Podo, Nia, and Peet don’t show growth as characters as much as their true character is revealed. Podo’s pirate past, thus far only casually mentioned, becomes a major factor in whether the Wingfeather legacy will continue. Nia gently slips back into her previous role as royalty, and the mystery of Peet’s past comes to the forefront as he must either give in to despair or move ahead in a new role.

Darker than its predecessor, North! Or Be Eaten draws readers into the hopelessness of Skreeans without allowing readers to completely lose hope themselves. The magnitude of Gnag’s evilness is infinitely clearer, but through it all is a family who refuses to give up, believing their quest to reestablish a kingdom of good can ultimately prevail. The family is not perfect. Individuals make decisions that clearly won’t move them toward their goal, but a loved one is always there offering encouragement and forgiveness.

Together is the only way they can succeed.

Additional thoughts can be found at Help Readers Too!
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  1. Yep, I'm back. And I'm even working on new reviews! Nothing like a good, refreshing school year to recover from a busy summer. Thanks for visiting again after my long hiatus.


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