8.03.2011

Currently Reading: North! Or Be Eaten

North! Or Be Eaten (The Wingfeather Saga, #2)“You know what I want? I want a long string of days like yesterday, when we walked through the forest, listening to poems about Uncle Peet, laughing together. No swords or bows or Fangs. I want to rest. But I’m afraid that we won’t be able to for a long, long time—not until we make it to Anniera. Until we make it home. If we have to fight to make it there, I’m willing to do it. And if I have to pull you by the collar, you’re coming with me. Look.” Janner pulled Esben’s sketchbook from Tink’s pack, flipped it open, and held it in the light that crept through the tent flap. “See this picture? The lawn below the castle wall, where the people are sitting by the shade tree?”

“Yeah. I’ve looked at it a hundred times.”

“That’s a real place. And it’s ours. And I’m going to wallop you at zibzy on that lawn someday.”

Author: Andrew Peterson

Synopsis: Janner, Tink and Leeli aren’t just three children driven by Fangs from their small-town life—they’re the Throne Warden, High King and Song Maiden of Anniera. But they’ve got a long way to go to reach their rightful kingdom. They must face many monsters, including their own jealousies and fears, and learn what it means to be who they are in a world run by evil (a very specific evil named Gnag the Nameless.)

Notes: First, this book is the sequel to On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, book two of the Wingfeather Saga. Book three, Monster in the Hollows, is recently out and there should be a couple more.

Second: move over, Terry Pratchett and Lloyd Alexander. Make room on the bench for Andrew Peterson.

It takes me a little work to get into humor-based fiction—all of it, not just this series. My sister told me to plan on reading this entire book through in one sitting. My brother-in-law wants to see it made into a movie. But I reacted to it very much like I did The Colour of Magic or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or The Book of Three—fantastic books all, but more humor and action than emotional sympathy, especially at first. I laughed a lot, but my heart didn’t dive headfirst into the story till perhaps the Fork Factory. Though I teared up a number of times, once well before then.

Yes, there’s a Fork Factory. In the words of the venerable author, Woe!

Peterson’s footnotes, his Creaturepedia pages, and the quotes Oskar N. Reteep is always spouting were just brilliantly funny. As was the Florid Sword. I got a big kick out of the Florid Sword.

The amount of action should make this a good book for young boys. The characters are always on the move, running into danger after battle after murderous scoundrel. And the characters themselves are interesting: Peet the Sock Man, Podo the pirate, fierce little Maraly and gentle Sara, and of course the Wingfeather family. Then there are the non-humans. Creepy ridgerunners. Fearsome toothy cows and a gargan rockroach. Sea dragons and Snickbuzzards and bomnubbles...

But what I loved best about the book was Janner’s relationship to his younger brother. His understanding of his protective role over Tink went through a good deal of growth. I’m an eldest sister, and I could empathize strongly with that. That storyline made the ending worth crying over. And I did. Much more than I expected to.

Also, hopefully we'll see more of Sara Cobbler in the tale's future installments.

Recommendation: Read it by an open window with the breeze blowing through, and think of adventure. (A treehouse would be better, if you have one.) But watch out for gargan rockroaches.

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