North! Or Be Eaten
“Peterson deserves every literary prize for this fine book. It is obvious that his musical talents have been put to good use as his use of words, plot and narrative read like a well scored film script. A very fine book, by a very fine writer and future talent. Amazing - thrilling and well worth reading again and again.”
–G. P. Taylor, New York Times best-selling author of Shadowmancer and The Dopple Ganger Chronicles
“Toothy cows are very dangerous. Andrew Peterson convinced me and shivers run down my spine at the very thought of meeting a toothy cow face to face. The author spills characters like Podo and Nurgabog onto the page, then weaves a tale of danger that holds the reader captive. Believe me, you will relish being held captive by this master storyteller. But be sure you don’t get caught by the Stranders. Those people just ain’t civilized.”
–Donita K. Paul, author of The Vanishing Sculptor
“In a genre overrun by the gory and the grim, Peterson’s bite-sized chapters taste more like a stew of Gorey (Edward) and Grimm (the Brothers). North! Or Be Eaten is a welcome feast of levity—and clearly a labor of love. Andrew Peterson has awakened my inner eight-year-old, and that is a very good thing.”
–Jeffrey Overstreet, author of Auralia’s Colors and Cyndere’s Midnight
“An immensely clever tale from a wonderful storyteller - filled with great values and even greater adventure!”
–Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales
“Thrills, chills, spine-tingling mystery, and lots of smiles. It’s not easy to combine heart-pounding danger with gut-busting laughs and make it work, but Peterson pulls it off. For readers who want nonstop action infused with powerful, life-changing themes, North! Or Be Eaten is a must-read.”
–Wayne Thomas Batson, best-selling author of The Door Within Trilogy, Isle of Swords and Isle of Fire
“Andrew Peterson is a gifted storyteller, scene painter and wordsmith who takes you on a rollicking white-water ride of adventure. Readers of all ages are sure to find North! Or Be Eaten worthy of a big mug filled with a favorite beverage and a cozy nook near a crackling fire for hours on end. Here there be tales within yarns within stories. Listen, reader, bend your ear, but keep an eye peeled lest the dreaded Fangs of Dang be near!”
–R. K. Mortenson, author of Landon Snow and The Auctor’s Riddle
Comments & Reviews
North! Or be Eaten is a breath of fresh literary air. The plot of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness did not pull me in in any big way, but this book remedied that. Mr. Peterson has a wonderful habit of being funny. He does not try to convince the readers that the tale he is telling is epic; he lets us find out as the story is unfurled, what a refreshing idea. Also, his evil characters are very disturbingly evil. I think this is an absolute necessity if a story is to have truly good characters. Powerful moral characters can only be painted on a canvass of uncommonly immoral and vile ones. Having said this, his main heroes and heroines struggle with guilt and selfishness the readers will relate to. Leeli may be an exception to this, but if Mr. Dickens could have a divinely good female character in almost every one of his novels, so can Mr. Peterson!
The common view of a book series is that you need to read the first installment in order to appreciate the second, but in this case I’d argue that you need the second to appreciate the first. I truly believe that my second reading of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness will be seven—or even eight times more enjoyable because I read this book.
On Monday night I finished On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, started North, or be Eaten on Tuesday night and finished it last night. Such an incredible story! I do hope there is more to come. Too much story has been left untold.
I’m quite confident that the world of Aerwiar will be a part of my 2 sons’ lives, right along with Narnia and Middle Earth. Thank you, Mr. Peterson for your songwriting and storytelling.
If The Dark Sea of Darkness is meant to introduce us to the world of Anniera and the (memorable) characters of Podo, Janner, Tink, Leeli and the rest, North! takes the story and advances it forward at a relentlessly exciting pace.
It seems as if even the narrative has added layers of meaning and significance as the characters encounter new trials and difficulties. One of my favorite parts of the book was watching (or reading in this case) the way that the characters are maturing. What were once one-dimensional characters (Tink as the reckless, speedy one; Janner as the selfish, older brother) have become quite dynamic. Even supplementary characters have added layers and unique backstories.
As an engaged 24-year-old, I cannot wait to read these stories to my kids. My fiancée and I are reading them during our long car rides to our parents’ places for the holidays. I cannot wait to see how the adventure continues.
You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t already know that “North! Or Be Eaten” (one of the single greatest book titles ever) is the second book in Peterson’s fantasy fiction Wingfeather Saga.
Some people won’t read fantasy. It’s a genre that has built itself some off-putting stereotypes, but they don’t apply here. This is a very human story, and its fantasy setting just expands the colors on the storytelling palette. Take the first words on the first page, for example. “’TOOOOTHY COW!’ Bellowed Podo as he whacked a stick against the nearest glipwood tree.” Fourteen words in and I’m already startled and smiling at the same time.
In book one of the Saga, “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness,” we meet the Igiby family and the three children who carry the story. Janner is 12, the eldest son, and it is his thoughts and feelings to which the third-person-limited narrative gives voice. He and his brother and sister, Tink and Leeli, have a secret. Book One exposes it, Book Two explores the implications.
North! spends far less time on character development than its predecessor, so I must recommend starting with the first book. Much of North! is intense action; the story moves quickly and we have to carry our understanding of the characters to appreciate their reactions.
As in his lyrics, Peterson has an extraordinary ability to sprinkle little lines of the sublime here and there, little moments of brilliance that pass by effortlessly. It is the mark of a confident writer that such lines, for which he must be proud, are not accorded unnecessary pomp. Chapter 15, a sad part of the tale, offers a few examples:
“They climbed the bank slowly, dragging heavy hearts.” “Her tears struck Janner as the right kind of tears.” “He laid his head back on the stone and looked at the sky. White clouds slid across the deep blue dome, peaceful as a sigh.”
There is also wonderful humor throughout. A rotund bookseller named Oskar is a fount of literary quotes that are a fantastic comic device. Footnotes in the text lend authenticity to the imagined world, and sometimes tantalize. There’s a creature, the Bomnubble, that keeps getting mentioned but has yet to be explained. When introduced, the usually informative footnote states only this: “Bomnubbles! Woe!”
I read the book aloud to my family, and if you can muster an audience, I highly encourage this practice. I’ve had a grand time with the accents. My Podo is Irish, thought the rest of his family speak quite American. Most of my Fangs are all James Earl Jones-as-Darth Vader, Stranders are Cockney, and Ridgerunners speak in a skittish but proper British accent. Inexplicably, my Overseer turned out like Archibald from Veggie Tales. Oh, and the title has become a catchphrase in our house. When I finish reading each evening, I announce, “Bed! Or be eaten!”
You know, I am a southern-drawl talking, sweet tea sipping girl raised in the South. And I love a good story.
As you can imagine…or maybe not because Peterson is pretty inventive - the road north is filled with adventure and despair. Remember this is the middle book in the series, so it has to get darker before dawn. Let me tell you, the sky gets pretty black. But in the midst of the darkness, we learn more about each of the Igiby children, Peet the Sock Man, and others as they learn some valuable lessons about sibling rivalry, survival, sacrifice, and love. And at the end, we do glimpse that flicker of light - hope.
At times the humor is broad, it is laugh out loud funny. Then, there is also the subtle stuff. Very witty, if you catch it. But there has to be something more to keep me reading past the first book in a series. Humor can’t stand alone. There has to be heart. Andrew Peterson excels at this. And that is what keeps me interested in the lives of Janner, Tink & Leeli Igiby.
The chapters are short and very entertaining, so it makes for a wonderful book to read to your children. Or it is also a great escape from the real world for just a little while.
I have been a fan of Andrew Peterson for a long time now. His ability to tell a story, a truly captivating story, will never cease to amaze me. Whether in the span of a 3 minute song or a 352 page book, he truly proves himself a master wordsmith.
North! picks up just where On the Edge left off. We follow Janner, Tink and Leeli through perilous adventures physically, spiritually and emotionally. Peterson’s story is more than just an adventure. We see our hero, Janner Wingfeather, fight battles with rockroaches, jealously, fangs of Dang, anger, toothy cows, disappointment, evil men and guilt. As you read the story you bond with the characters. I was aching to join their journey to experience the emotion leaping off the page.
- Recommended age 10 and older