Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour Day 2: Book Review -- "North! Or Be Eaten" by Andrew Peterson

Ok, I started reading the Wingfeather Saga with the second book.  I know that this is normally not the "accepted" thing to do... you start a series with the first book and work your way up.  However, I can't say that it was a bad thing that I started "late" as one might say.  In fact, I believe starting with the second book influenced my outlook on the first book for the better.

At the end of the first book in the series, Janner Igiby and his family are forced to leave their beloved town of Glipwood and hide out out in the dangerous forest where their half demented protector, Peet the Sock Man, has made his home.  Janner finally has found out the truth about his family -- and his father -- and there is far more to their family history than Janner every thought even possible!  Now the fun and games have ended and the adventure truly begins.  Gnag the Nameless is still determined to find the Jewels of Anniera, and he has reason to believe that they are being hidden in Glipwood.  With the furious Fangs of Dang pouring into the little town in search of the jewels, Janner and his family leave Glipwood behind in a desperate attempt to reach the Ice Praries before Gnag can find them and discover the powerful secret of their family line -- a secret that could do more than help Gnag take over the world... it could help destroy the world as well.

As they travel they are constantly in danger.  Pursued by Fangs with every step,  Janner and his family must escape the jaws of the dreaded Gargun Rock Roach, evade the knives of Stranders, hide out in hidden tunnels, avoid the terrible teeth (not to mention the awful breath) of Bomnibles, and out run the unbearable beaks of the hideous flesh-eating Snickbuzzards.  It's going to take a lot of courage to get them to the ice prairies... all in one piece, that is.

And with Tink thrown into the mix, one can never be too grateful for the words "all in one piece".  Who would have thought that little brothers could be so much trouble?  Who would have thought that Tink's protection would fall squarely on Janner's shoulders, or that Tink would go off and grow a tale?  Literally?  And who would have thought that a Quilldiggle could taste so good, or that a Fork Factory could be so dreaded?

Besides that, Grandpa is hiding yet another secret... a secret that he's never even told his daughter Nia... a secret that just might have the whole family in pieces by the end after all.

My Thoughts:

I will never forget the day I first started reading this book.  I was sitting in my bedroom, talking to my little sister, and telling her about this book I just borrowed that I was excited about reading.  She asked me to read a bit to her.  So I flipped open the first cover, admired the hand drawn maps, and then went to read the first chapter...

"Toothy Cows!!"

No, literally... those are the first words.

My sister and I both fell into hysterical laughing.  "What did that just say?"  She asked me.  So I read it again and we both doubled over.

Wow.  Now that's one way to draw a reader's attention.  Especially if that particular reader hasn't read the first book in the series  yet.

It didn't take me long after that to understand the seriousness behind the words "Toothy Cow".  I shall never look at a toothy cow the same way again.  Don't be fooled by their similar appearance to normal cows... while it would seem the toothy variety taste just as good as the normal variety (ask the stranders, if you don't believe me) they also tend to think that people taste good. 

See what I mean?  Terrifying creatures. :)

Personally I loved this book as well if not more than I loved the first one.  However, starting in the middle of the series was a little difficult, so no... I don't recommend starting with the second book. At first I really didn't understand what was going on (you sort of need to read the first book for that.)  After a while I caught on.  And once I caught on, the pace just picked up.  

Andrew seems to have a way with words and humor that just flows over the page.  And when I say humor, I don't mean like the riddle kind, or like knock-knock jokes. He simply slips every day simple humor into the pages and when you catch it, it's like a little jewel of laughter... or perhaps like an inside joke.  Guys will especially enjoy the humor, but even girls with a few brothers in the family or a silly father could easily catch on and would get a chuckle or two out of it.  It's so worth reading.

I refuse to give away any of the amazing adventure in this book.  You simply have to read it for yourself to understand. :)  But I will say that the ending left me so on edge that first I gasped, then I went back and reread it three times, and then I started to cry and I couldn't pick up the third book for two days until the amazement had finally worn off enough to leave me literate again.  No I'm not joking.  I couldn't even think of starting the first book until my awe of Andrew Peterson's way with words and plot twists came back down to a somewhat normal status.  

I don't think I need to say it again; you should already know by now that you absolutely HAVE to read this book.  If you are Christian and a fantasy lover, then it is practically a required thing. :D (not really... but EXTREMELY recommended.)  Again, this book gets a 5 out of 5 stars.  

But just wait until you read my review on the third book. *rubs hands together gleefully*  That one is by far the best book of the series in my opinion.  At least up to this point.

Now, yesterday I mentioned that I would talk more about Andrew's other amazing talents.  I told you that he was a recording artist, but I forgot to mention that he was also an illustrator.  Illustrations from his own pencil are scattered throughout the book, and (as an artist myself) I just have to say that I love his cartoon animation style.  I could totally see movies being made from these illustrations... perhaps in the style of Focus on the Family's Adventures in Oddesy series.   You just have to love it when you find someone this talented... I mean, seriously... how much more awesome can this man get?

Oh wait... he's a father and a husband as well?  Did I mention that he was born in IL... not too terribly far from my area.  Yeah, my esteem just went up another notch. ^_^

Here's some of his artwork which you can also find here... http://wingfeathersaga.com  

1)  Glipwood Township: 

2) A map of Skree:

3) Peet the Sock Man's Castle:

4) A ferocious Fang of Dang: 

5) A terrible flesh eating Snickbuzzard:

6) A Bomnible:

7) A Chorkney (from the Ice Praries):

And now I shall leave you once again with a picture of Andrew himself.  This time he's playing the guitar. :D  Gotta love it! 

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
* Eve Nielsen
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nichole White
Rachel Wyant


Rachel Starr Thomson said...

Quite enjoyed this review as well! In my opinion, the books just keep getting better :).

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Wow, wow, wow. Love how you weave your reading experience in with your opinion. This, to me, is an invaluable review. Love it!


Jake said...

And what's worse? Bellybutton. :|