North or Be Eaten
Beware of Toothy Cows, Terrible Trolls, and Evil Fangs!
Book - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400073871
Series site - http://wingfeathersaga.com/?p=464
Author site - http://www.andrew-peterson.com/
from the publisher, the nice people at Waterbrook Press.
North or Be Eaten positions itself as a young adult fantasy, but you might also think of it as a teacher of spiritual truths. The Igiby family often refer and defer actions to The Maker, the creator of their world.
Recapping the job description of the Igiby family members, everyone has a job and each is important. Nia, the mother, loves and nutures her family. A member of the royal family, at times she must step in and take charge when things get out of hand. Podo, grandfather and former pirate, is a wealth of first-hand knowledge about the world and self-protection. Peet the sock man, or Uncle Artham the previous Throne Warden, strikes me as a sad character. As first son, he was presented the responsibility of protecting the his younger brother, the King. With overwhelming forces killing the King, Artham lost both his brother and his sanity.
The next generation begins with Janner, the new throne warden, and I couldn't help but notice the similarities of Janner and Peet. Both care for their brother, the King, but if something happens to Tink, the new king, will Janner better cope with the loss? As the new protector, Janner finds an inner strength and braveness when the family faces legions of Fangs and trolls. He looks to his Uncle Peet and wonders how Peet would handle the situation. The youngest, Leeli, must use crutches to move because of a troubled leg. Rather than dwell on her problems and sink into self pity, Leeli works to improve her gift, her voice, and finds she her singing brings encouragement, hope, and happiness to the sea dragons and other people.
Oskar Reteep, brings a new hero class to the story, a book-loving librarian. A bit chubby, and balding on top, Oskar provides comic relief with his recounts of various facts he has learned over the years. This guy would excel at Trivial Pursuit. What's nice about Mr. Peterson's story,is the way he meshes the various personalities and gifts into a group that's stronger than it's parts. Each party member has a job, and without one of its members, the group would be a little weaker, and a little less likely to accomplish their goals. Like our own place in life, everyone has a purpose and the best place for each of us is where the Maker would have us be. When we work contrary to that plan, or that job with which we are gifted, we accomplish less and go through more troubles than needed. Mr. Peterson's book, North or Be Eaten, illustrates that point well by showing everyone has a worth and a contribution they can make.
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