Debbie's Reviews > North! or Be Eaten

North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson
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's review
Aug 04, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: ya, fantasy
Read in August, 2009

North! Or Be Eaten is a young adult fantasy. Logic need not apply. (My poor, logical brain kept frying every time a sword or dagger was lost during a fight only to mysteriously and without comment show up when the owner needed it during the next fight.) There was a lot of happenstance and accidental good and bad fortune to stir up the plot.

This is the second book in the series, and I haven't read the first book. I strongly suspect this book would be more understandable if I'd read the first book and learned the family's "normal" dynamics from it. As it was, I couldn't understand why several characters acted the way they did or why the other family members didn't seem to care about or notice the odd behavior the others were showing.

The book starts out humorously, but quickly turns grim, sad, and full of guilt and shame. It's a world with very little beauty, trust, safety, or mercy. I certainly didn't feel like the ending showed the boys learning "that the love of a family is more important than anything else." In fact, I can't think of any good lessons in the book. It was just so bleak and cruel, especially to the thousands of children in the book.

This book came from a Christian publisher, but the book shows no hint of Christian beliefs or religion.

The world was very imaginative, and what the new plants, animals, and objects looked like was always clear. The pacing was excellent.

There is no cussing, no sex, and no magic (in the sense of casting spells). There's no way I'd give this book to a child under fifteen (unless I wanted to depress and frighten them), but some older teens or adults might like it.

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Comments (showing 1-4)

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message 4: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Why would you read the second book of a trilogy and not expect to be confused. It is good to know that there is no Christian beliefs or religion in this. I'd been wary of it, but now, thanks to your review I can feel confident in buying it.

Debbie As a book reviewer, I'm regularly asked to read the second book in a trilogy even though I haven't read the first. Usually, there's no problem with this. However, a few authors write the second book with the assumption you've read the first and so don't re-build or inform readers of certain things critical to understanding the sequel.

message 2: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Ah, yes! To me this is a plus, as I have little patience dealing with recaps in sequels. Thanks for humoring a complete stranger.

Anita They are fugitives, on the run for their lives. Yes, there was going to be some grimness, and yes, it was going to be for more mature readers who already know that there is darkness in the world. But it does not seem fair to say that there are no good lessons in the book. Janner risks his life and his freedom to protect a girl who is a virtual stranger. Podo's family learns of his past crimes and still cares for him, forgives him, and argues his case in front of his (dangerous) accusers. Janner and Peet both risk life and limb to protect their kin, their heritage, and the hope that he may one day grow into his responsibilities. Tink goes from being a rebellious child anxious to avoid his fate at any cost to accepting his place in his family and his kingdom. That may not be enough to counterbalance the darkness which the book held for you, and may hold for other readers--but it shone golden for me.

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