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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (The Guardians #1)

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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,990 ratings  ·  529 reviews
Before SANTA was SANTA, he was North, Nicholas St. North—a daredevil swordsman whose prowess with double scimitars was legendary. Like any swashbuckling young warrior, North seeks treasure and adventure, leading him to the fiercely guarded village of Santoff Claussen, said to be home to the greatest treasure in all the East, and to an even greater wizard, Ombric Shalazar. ...more
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kacey
This book was exactly the sort I love to find in the children's section: it had the wonder and imagination of childhood while still offering danger and adventure. It kept me turning pages and the illustrations were gorgeous.

There were so many things about this book that I loved. All the twists given to childhood characters was one of the best. The Man in the Moon, the Boogeyman and of course Santa Claus were all done in fresh ways. I even liked how djinns and Abdominable Snowmen were used in the
...more
Christian
“The possibilities were endless. Battles would be fought. Wonders revealed. Many journeys. Many lands. Many joys. Many sorrows." -William Joyce, Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (The Guardians,#1)

In the center of a large forest, protected by a spirit that tempts trespassers with glittering jewels, and guarded by a ferocious bear that stalks the shadows, lies the hidden village of Santoff Claussen. This strange place is hidden from the world and is home to an odd group of i
...more
Laurel
Dec 08, 2011 Laurel marked it as to-read
This is where Rise of the Guardians is coming from?!
And Joyce himself is directing?!
AND JACK FROST'S CONCEPT ART LOOKS TOTALLY HOT?!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sign. Me. Up.
Lea
Another lovely book from William Joyce, this is the first book of his "Guardians" series. This installment is a magical, fairytale style story of St. Nicholas (here, Nicholas St. North). In Joyce's world, St. North is a master thief who is magically persuaded to travel to the village of Santoff Claussen by the wizard Ombric. Ombric believes St. North is the one person who can help him defeat the evil Pitch and his shadowy Nightmare Men and Fearlings.

I really enjoyed Joyce's creativity in this bo
...more
Beth
This enchanting tale glitters with the magic of the far north. An ancient evil has been unleashed on the unsuspecting village of Santoff Claussen: the evil Nightmare King and his army of Fearlings have come to steal the dreams of innocent children and replace them with terrors of the night. It’s up to the learned wizard Ombric, his young protégé Katherine, and the swashbuckling theif-turned-hero Nicholas St. North (who will one day be known as Santa Claus) to save the day.

The story unfolds in a
...more
Beth Nieman
I gave this book a 2-star rating because it means I thought the book was "ok," and that's pretty accurate.

I expected to like the story a lot more, based on my enjoyment of some of Joyce's delightful picture books; also, I think the idea of the Guardians of Childhood sounds really exciting.

However, the writing in this book seems a bit shallow and hurried to me, and I felt didn't quite do justice to the grand concept. I kept wanting more character development. I wanted to linger in the imaginat
...more
Roy Gloeckl
I saw the movie "Rise of the Guardians" and it blew me away. Then I found out that it was based on a series of books and my first thought was: AHHH! If the movie was that great, the books are probably even more incredible. Not so much.
It may be because these books are meant for ages 7-11 so I won't be too critical. The language is pretty simple and there is not a lot of depth to the story. I'm probably too used to YA stuff like Harry Potter to really appreciate this book but it just doesn't seem
...more
Angela
I saw the movie trailer and decided that maybe this book would be the one that grabbed my twelve year old sons attention to reading. You see, he has a reading disability and tries to shy away from reading at all cost. Yesterday, I started reading this book with him and tonight was the first time that he asked to try to continue reading without me. So, thank you William Joyce for this amazing book and introducing the fantastical and brilliant world of reading to my son.
Jessica
A fun book, but almost like a picture book that had been padded with descriptions instead of pictures. I did enjoy it, though, and the kids and I are excited to read the other books in the series.
D.peabody
This was a beautiful story! Nicholas St North is a young cossack bandit chief who is generally full of mischief. One night in a dream he is called to the small magical village of Santoff Claussen to help the wizard Ombric and the children battle Pitch, the Nightmare king. And so his life is forever changed. North stays in the village to recover after the battle and becomes the wizard's apprentice. The two of them work together to figure out how to defeat Pitch for good. Along the way we meet a s ...more
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
What a cute middle grade book.

Before Santa Claus was Santa Claus, he was Nicholas St. North; a thief, a bandit, and a skilled swordsman. The children of Earth are in danger as Pitch Black awakens again from an induced sleep prison and seeks revenge in the suffering and fear of children. The Man in the Moon chooses North and decides to test him to see if he would make a powerful guardian of the children.

The movie, Rise of the Guardians, is based off this series. This is apparently 200 years befo
...more
Drew
Okay, first of all, I feel it necessary to establish that I think William Joyce is an American treasure. A top-tier illustrator of many, many children's books, overflowing with imagination. Check out Santa Calls, or Dinosaur Bob, or the Rolie Polie Olie books (and associated television show, which worked a sort of throwback to the early Disney stuff). Joyce is amazing, and his Moonbot Studios is responsible for this year's Academy Award Winning short film, The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Le ...more
Joana Hill
Read this and other reviews at my blog, Words and Tea Bottles.

What can I say about this book? Nothing negative that I can really think of. There’s a reason these books were popular enough to make a movie, after all. My sister has all three that are out so far, and so I’ll be borrowing the second and third as soon as possible.

Anyway, people reading this review may be familiar with the movie Rise of the Guardians, but Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King actually does not have a
...more
Margaret Alexander
I picked this up after watching Rise of the Guardians, obviously (great movie, by the way). The story was so heartwarming and I fell in love with the characters, so when I heard mention of the novels, I had to check them out. I didn't plan to read them at first, but when I read the first chapter, I was hooked on the writing.

The novel is written in storybook style. Meaning, it's all tell and very little show. Dialogue is scarce. But this is a children's book, and there's nothing wrong with this
...more
Jack Baillot
I read this book because I found out the Rise of the Guardians movie is based off of this series. I had seen these books about, but hadn't payed them much attention, now I am sad I didn't.

This book reminds me of a cross between Narnia and, maybe Redwall. It is filled with everything adults forget when they grow up. Imagination, adventure, the very idea that maybe science is magic.

North is a greedy bandit who has never known friendship and cares only about himself, or so he likes to think. Ho
...more
Anouk
To be quite honest, I don't know what I thought of this book.

It's imaginative, and original in that aspect. It has a cast of easily likeable, though not (yet)very in-depth characters, and uses the kind of imagery I truly loved when I was the age the book is actually meant for.

It's also slightly too fast-paced, with a myriad of interesting characters who you are given very little chance to get to know properly.
At turns, the story might become slightly predictable and to me it felt a little rushed
...more
Marthita
- 4 Estrellas - Ya lo dije, me hubiera gustado que este libro existiera cuando yo era mas pequeña, porque es infinitamente mágico y fantástico, y me tuvo imaginando y soñando estos días que lo estuve leyendo :) Me ha encantado la forma de escribir de William Joyce, y aunque no soy muy fanática de los libros con ilustraciones, las que contiene este libro son preciosas y creo que son muy buenas para las mentes de los niños que planean leer esto :D

Es un libro que recomiendo, aunque tal vez a mucho
...more
Kayla
I wanted to start this book series as soon as I watched the movie based on it, Rise of the Guardians. Because it's one of my favorite movies, I was excited to see what William Joyce was writing about these fantastical people who live in our imagination. This first book centers around North, the person Santa Claus was before he was Santa. Let's just say that he's everything you wouldn't think he was, apart from caring for children. He's big, tough, a master thief, a great fighter. But he has a bi ...more
Julie
Jul 03, 2013 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Julie by: I watched Rise of the Guardians
This is a beautiful book, in many ways. Joyce has given a nice twist to the traditional folklore and we are seeing the origin of how Santa Claus came to be (although it's never said in those words, actually). Far from being the traditional jolly fat man, he's a Russian ruffian whose heart transforms from that of a notorious outlaw to that of a protector. I really like the mythology Joyce has set up in this book, and I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Joyce also provides
...more
Kira
The illustrations are breath-taking, the basic characters are intriguing. I would have loved this when I was a kid. But I find there are some concepts, phrases, ideas and such that just come out of nowhere and are there solely to be "unique". There's even a paragraph at the end where Katherine "thinks" about them all: a recap of sorts. I felt like that reading the book -- few concepts were delved into with any depth and seemed to exist just to sound awesome.

Santoff Claussen is a painful name for
...more
Jo
I love this movie so much, I have a minor crush on Jack Frost.
So I had to read the books, I loved the creativity of this story. Imagination is one of my very favorite things so the ideas built in the story were fabulous... Idk how these books tie in with the movie cause it wasn't even remotely close... More like it was just inspired by the books and not based on...
It got a little short in places, it's not a long book so not a lot of world building and I missed that but I would definitely read
...more
Anne
I love the concept, not the execution. The story is an odd mish-mash of confusing details, weird backstories and convenient plot twists. It is clearly unsure of what it wants to be. The sad thing is that every so often throughout Nicholas St. North there's a sentence of pure beauty; a flash of brilliance which only serves to highlight the inferiority of the rest of the writing. When I bought this book for my ten year old I thought I had a sure winner. She read 4 or 5 chapters and had no desire t ...more
April
We really enjoyed this as a read-aloud. The kids were interested the whole time and EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I had to stop reading I was met with "Please, please, please, just one more chapter" by all three little mouths!

Lots of action and adventure. We enjoyed the foreshadowing of Nicholas St. North and the fantastic little place called Santoff Claussen. The kids really attacked the idea that today's version of the fat, jolly man called Santa Claus could maybe kick some butt, if needed! And my daug
...more
Zoe
William Joyce, the imaginative creator of George Shrinks and Rolie Polie Olie, has decided to try his hand at chapter books. The result is a very appealing (to both genders) swashbuckling adventure with lovely illustrations. Yes, the Nicholas in the book is going to someday be Santa Clause, but that's really only hinted at. While there could have been a bit more character development in the 3 main characters, the plot is great, and Joyce never dumbs it down - he uses some huge vocabulary, but it ...more
alissa
SO this is where the story material from Rise of the Guardians came from. I finally got down to reading it after a chance encounter at the library. I must say it's one of the rare cases where the movie did much more justice to the story than the book. This first of the series focuses on the origins of the dual-sabre wielding Cossack Santa. It is a great read for kids and it's packed full of wondrous things. But the necessity of focus in a 90-minute animated feature whittled the Guardians series ...more
Suzie Bookgirl
This was a beautiful story! Nicholas St North is a young Cossack bandit chief who is generally full of mischief. One night in a dream he is called to the small magical village of Santoff Claussen to help the wizard Ombric and the children battle Pitch, the Nightmare king. And so his life is forever changed. North stays in the village to recover after the battle and becomes the wizard's apprentice. The two of them work together to figure out how to defeat Pitch for good. Along the way we meet a s ...more
Sarah
The first installment of William Joyce's Guardians of Childhood series is absolutely delightful. Joyce, long a master of the picture book form, has finally turned his talent to early reader novels, with excellent result. The basic idea - a series of stories revolving around the mythological figures of childhood, and their battle against nightmares, is simple, clever and will resonate with many, many children.

In reading this first book (I bought the first four), I was struck how much it reminded
...more
Eisah Eisah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judy
Mar 13, 2014 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tweens
Recommended to Judy by: saw the film, came across the books, loved the covers
This book is like a decorated object, to be enjoyed in its own right. I didn't realise until the end that the illustrator is one of the authors. I really related to his artwork. It's a mix of rough and smooth, different media, a love of gravelly darks, rich contrasts, and characterisation. He's very good at his work. The cover is deliciously ornate, without being over the top, and the book design has a 'spare no expense' quality, that is delectable when so many books are manufactured with cost m ...more
Ellen
I did not belive in Santa Claus growing up. So while I know the myth and have seen many movies with a santa claus in them I will admit one of my favorites is Rise of the Guardians. But after seeing that movie I wanted to know the backstories of the other guardians.
This book is about North the future santa claus. He was once a thief and brigand but then he crosses paths with the special town of Santoff Claussen and he becomes the first Guardian.
While they never out right call him that and he's no
...more
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My Guardians fanfic 1 6 Dec 29, 2013 03:14PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 9781442430488 - 228 pages not 288. 2 27 Dec 20, 2011 07:06PM  
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137553
William Joyce does a lot of stuff—films, apps, Olympic curling—but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Numberlys, The Man in the Moon, Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, Toothiana, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also an Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives with his family in Shre ...more
More about William Joyce...

Other Books in the Series

The Guardians (5 books)
  • E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core
  • Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies
  • The Sandman and the War of Dreams
  • Guardians Chapter Book #5
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore The Man in the Moon (The Guardians of Childhood, #1) E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie (Guardians of Childhood)

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“The possibilities were endless. Battles would be fought. Wonders revealed. Many journeys. Many lands. Many joys. Many sorrows.

But stories all...”
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