Monday, September 14, 2009
North Or Be Eaten by Andrew Petersen
Things are dire in Anneira. The king has been killed, and Gnag The Nameless and the Fangs of Dang have taken over the land, ruling it ruthlessly. But perhaps all is not lost. It turns out that, although they never knew it, the royal family is still around. There are three children, the legal heirs. Known as The Jewels of Anneira, they are the land's best last hope. Of course, they are also wanted desparately by Gnag The Fearless, to crush the last vestiges of rebellion from his reign.
Janner is the oldest, the Throne Warden, dedicated at birth to guard the king above all else. His younger brother, Kelmar (known as Tink) will be the new King. Their little sister, Leeli, is a Song Maiden; something that has not occurred in generations. It is decided that the Jewels must flee Anneira, to escape Gnag and meet up with resistance fighters in the Ice Plains. They are accompanied on their journey by their mother, Nia, their grandfather, Podo, sometimes by their uncle Arthur, and by a kindly, portly bookseller, Issac.
The journey is fraught with dangers. There are beasts such as Toothy Cows, dragons, and Horned Hounds. There are also human beasts such as The Stranders, and the Overseer of the Fork Factory, a truly horrendous place where children are imprisoned and set to work. The book follows the journey of the Jewels as they attempt to escape and fulfill their destinies.
Although it all sounds grim, this is a rollicking, exciting fantasy. The tone is light, there are jokes aplenty, and the motto is that there is always a way, no matter how dark things appear. There is love, learning your destiny, and accomplishing great tasks. Andrew Petersen has a fantastic imagination, and the reader is quickly swept up into this magical land. North Or Be Eaten is the second book in a planned triology, but reads well as a stand-alone. I definately plan to go back and get the first in the series, and await the next with anticipation. This book is recommended to fantasy lovers and young adult readers.