Title: North! Or Be Eaten (Second book in the Wingfeather Saga)
Author: Andrew Peterson
Publisher’s Synopsis: Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby thought they were normal children with normal lives and a normal past. But now they know they’re really the Lost Jewels of Anniera, heirs to a legendary kingdom across the sea, and suddenly everyone wants to kill them.
In order to survive, the Igibys must flee to the safety of the Ice Prairies, where the lizardlike Fangs of Dang cannot follow. First, however, they have to escape the monsters of Glipwood Forest,1 the thieving Stranders of the East Bend,2 and the dreaded Fork Factory.3
But even more dangerous are the jealousies and bitterness that threaten to tear them apart, and Janner and his siblings must learn the hard way that the love of a family is more important than anything else.
1. All possessing very sharp teeth.
2. Murderous scoundrels, the lot.
Oh this was another one of those books where they sent the second book before I’d ever heard of the first. However, I went out to buy the first and prayed I’d enjoy it. The first introduction (yes, there are two introductions labeled long and short) of the first book started off well, but I was quickly bogged down in the excessive use of phrases like, “Everything was wonderful in Aerwiar, well except for the toothy cows, the cave blats, and horned hounds that attacked at every turn.” (not an actual quote from the book) The first couple of times I read those caveats, I was amused. However, until the story rolled along on its own accord, that got old very quickly.
The great news is that the story really does roll along beautifully. Once I got past my initial distaste of what should be (and would be if there were fewer of them) a unique use of literary license in writing exceptions, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The author’s footnotes, in particular, are hysterical. They remind me much of the annotations that Roy Maynard used in his Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves (annotated version of Edmund Spencer’s Faerie Queene). The author truly has an amazing ability to write absolutely impossible to believe adventures while making you quite certain you’re living them. So, having grown excited about the next book, I picked it up eagerly and began.
Oh my how the second book whirls you immediately into the story. I mean, there’s nothing more terrifying in Aerwiar than toothy cows and you’re thrown at one in the first sentence! The problem is, I really can’t tell you about the story. I mean, I want to go on and on about the adventure, the romance (of the Anne Shirley variety… not mushy drippy bodice rippy stuff… just that feeling-that-you’re-lost-in-an-amazing-experience kind of romance), and the brilliance of Mr. Peterson’s amazing “world” where Dang isn’t a euphemism for other words, but I can’t. I’d ruin the experience.
I can say that this book has everything you could want in a fantasy story and nothing that you would dread in one labeled “Christian”. Forgive me, but as much as I love Christian fiction (come on, I write the stuff!), it does tend to get a bit pietistic or worse, preachy (and yes, I am guilty of the latter for sure… but it’s part of my own personality. Sue me). I loved that this was fiction that reflected an author’s worldview rather than an author’s worldview was outlined step-by-step in the story. That is good writing, and I truly loved it.
I want to tell you all about the adventures of the Igilby children. I want to immerse you into a piece of the story so you’ll want to read it without simply taking my word for its worth, but I can’t. I’d ruin it. You really do need to start at the beginning of book 1. Do keep reading, past the constant contrasty sentences that annoy to no end, because I promise, they stop. Well, I don’ t know if they actually stop or not, but they become infrequent enough that they didn’t annoy enough for me to notice anymore.
So, if you haven’t read On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, go get it… and then get the sequel. I simply can’t wait for the next book in what I understand is a TRILOGY! YIPPEEEEEEEEEE