North or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson
Peterson, Andrew. North or Be Eaten: The Wingfeather Saga–Book Two. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2009. 338 pp. $13.99. Purchase at Amazon for $11.19 or less.
Read the review of the first book in the series, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.
Andrew Peterson is a noted singer (check out his YouTube videos) and song writer as well as an author. He is a storyteller through and through. You can check out his other website, The Rabbit Room, which was inspired by the Inklings–a group of writers in England that included both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The Wingfeather Saga is a series of three fantasy books for children thus far that draws the reader into the world of Anniera. For parents that may be concerned about this particular genre of writing (and Peterson’s motives, more specifically) you can read his Note to Parents.
One week after the first book, On the Edge, ends, North or Be Eaten begins. With the new identities of Janner, Tink, and Leeli, we now race with them as they make their way to the Ice Prairies. Podo, their grandpa, is an immense help though he, too, has secrets to keep. Peet the Sock Man winds up being a family member to the Igiby’s. Nia, their mom, turns out to be more than their mother though the children have no idea. What is more, the children, especially the brothers, must learn to live with each other given their new roles in life.
As their lives are turned completely upside down and they run from the Fangs of Dang, we are introduced to more intrigue and deceit from fiends and foes alike. The question at the beginning of this novel is how long will it take to get to the Ice Prairies. As the story moves along, the question shifts to will they even make it?
Peterson does an excellent job of deepening the characters from the first book (including the main characters). As the layers of the past lives of the adults are peeled away, the children (and the reader) remain on edge as they wonder what could happen or be revealed next.The footnotes–also in the first book–help the reader to understand the fantasy world of Anniera all the more. The drawings of the various creatures, found in the Creaturepedia, help the reader to visualize the Toothy Cow and the monstrous Fang of Dang. It is easy to become frightened as Tink or Janner as they fight these creatures. You definitely need to read these books in chronological order as the characters are given a history that is important to the interaction that is taking place in the story.
It takes a lot of creativity to keep the characters interesting throughout a series and Andrew Peterson is definitely up to the task. Before you read North or Be Eaten–which is worth the read–you need to read On the Edge. I have become a huge fan of this series and cannot wait to review the third book (tomorrow).