“North! Or Be Eaten: The Wingfeather Saga, Book Two” by Andrew Peterson
The sequel to “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness” is even better! It includes all of the strengths of the first book (mentioned in my review) but none of the weaknesses. It is obvious that Peterson’s skill as a story-teller and novel-writer are improving as he goes.
Where the first book got off to a bit of a slow start, the second was non-stop action from page one. Where the language in the first seemed a bit awkward at times, there was nothing in the second to detract from the engaging story. The characters we got to know in Book One receive much more depth in Book Two. Readers feel very attached to the characters as we are drawn into their lives.
The story focuses primarily on Janner, the oldest of the Igiby/Wingfeather children. As the family flees their home in Glipwood for the hidden city of Kimera in the Ice Praries, 12-year-old Janner is forced to grow up fast as he is counted on to protect his younger siblings from all manner of dangerous creatures (illustrated by the author) and “the ghastly Fangs of Dang”. Periods of intense action (with page-turning cliffhangers ending each chapter) are interspersed with introspective looks into the entire spectrum of emotions experienced by a very realistic pre-teen boy facing man-sized tasks.
***SPOILER ALERT*** Do not read the following paragraph if you don’t want to have important details of the story revealed before you read the books! I want to point something of interest to parents who might like to read these books to their children.
One of my very favorite aspects to Peterson’s story is that, when we find out that the Igiby children we met in the first book are actually the hidden royal family (the Wingfeathers) of the defeated island nation of Anniera, we learn that this country featured a very unique system of succession to the throne. The Kingship of Anniera is not passed to the eldest son in the royal family. Instead, it is the second-oldest who becomes King. The oldest (who in this story is Janner) is bestowed the title of Throne Warden. The Throne Warden’s responsibility is to be the protector of the King and the rest of the royal family, serving his family and his nation self-sacrificially. Though he has no official power in the governance of the Kingdom, the Throne Warden is accorded a level of honor among the people of Anniera on par with that of the King. There are some really great lessons here for young boys on the importance of being a protector and of leading and serving by placing the needs, desires, and success of others above oneself. As a father of a young son, this is greatly appreciated!
***END SPOILER ALERT***
I absolutely recommend this series for any fan of fiction, especially for those who have children! I can’t wait for the next book in the Wingfeather Saga! Buy “North! Or Be Eaten” here.