North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson

September 14, 2009 | By | 1 Comment

His voice was like thunder now. “You put your characters through hell. You put them through hell. That’s the only way we change.” – Donald Miller quoting Robert McKee

My affection for Andrew Peterson is deep and longstanding.  It is nearly impossible for me not to love anything the man sets forth to do.   Still, I mainly know him in the context of his music.  I have read many of his jaw-droppingly insightful journal entries, but wasn’t sure how this would translate into full-fledged fiction novels.  For all I knew, this would be like watching Michael Jordan attempt to play baseball.

I’m happy to report that his books are just as good.  They are just as good because Peterson is a master storyteller.  Whether it be songs or books, he is one of the most gifted people I know at putting things into words.

Peterson weaves a delightful tale of mystery, surprise, adventure, suspense, secrets and intrigue.  The pacing was great.  The character development was (literally) other-worldly.  The imaginative genius behind it all is hard to fathom.  The story can’t help but make the reader want to be more courageous.  The ending is so beautiful, it can make you cry.  I’m still shaking my head as to how he came up with all this.

Initially, I was afraid of getting lost in the fantasy world which Peterson creates.  Like an N64 controller, I feared that the names of the characters, creatures and places would get too complicated.  I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep things straight.

These fears quickly diminished as I got lost in a good way.  Peterson paints this fantasy world of Aerwiar so clearly, it seems as if it isn’t a fantasy world at all.  It felt as real as this keypad upon my fingers.  The characters’ inner worlds are described in such detail, it’s hard to remember that they are fictional.  I got to know the Igiby family so well, I felt like a hidden member.  Not only that, but I developed a sincere fondness for all of them.  I dare say that I even started to love them.

I often found myself trying to guess what would happen next.  Thankfully, I was hardly ever right.  Each chapter ended with a wonderful cliffhanger and I couldn’t wait to find out for myself the answers to the very questions the main character Janner was asking himself.

Apart from trying to figure out what on Aerwiar was going on, Janner was asking himself questions about his very nature.  Who am I?  What am I made of?  Do I have what it takes to fulfill my unique calling?  Can I satisfy what life is demanding of me?

I went through so much with this family, I couldn’t help but feel as though I grew with them.  I don’t know what Peterson’s goals were in writing these books, but I can’t think of a better measure of success.

Rating: 5/5.  The book starts off a bit slow, but gets better with every page.

Please note: This book is the second in what could be a 3 or 5-part series.  I would not recommend reading this if you have not read “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness“.  There is too much development and background that you will have missed out on.  Both books are approximately 300 pages.  The back cover lists this book as “Young Adult”, but the books are for readers of all ages.  The exception would be young children prone to nightmares.  Parts of these books are quite grim.

For more information on this series, visit The Wingfeather Saga Online.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.  To purchase this book on Amazon, click here.

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  1. Jana says:

    Now I want to read it/them.

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