by Tenethia South
Please be forewarned that this article will include several spoilers for On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, as well as toothy cows. Proceed at your own risk.
“This is a dangerous place, this forest, and many a man has been gobbled up by some critter because he weren’t paying close enough attention.” North! Or Be Eaten!, a fantasy book by Andrew Peterson, is the story of the Wingfeather family and their attempt to escape from the Fangs of Dang. The three Wingfeather siblings, Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli recently learned that they are royalty from the lost kingdom of Anniera, the island across the sea. Strangely enough, the king of Anniera is never the eldest child, but rather the secondborn. The first child is called a Throne Warden, and is responsible for the High King’s safety. As Janner soon learns, there’s a lot to do to keep his brother safe, with the Fangs of Dang after them. The Wingfeathers hope to escape to the Ice Prairies, where the reptilian Fangs will be too sluggish to catch them. But there are dangers to face on the way, such as rockroaches, daggerfish, toothy cows, and even frightening bomnubbles (Run for your lives!) It doesn’t help that Kalmar doesn’t want to be looked after.
North! Or Be Eaten! has a variety of wonderful characters for us to enjoy. We are introduced to “The Florid Sword”, a mysterious well-doer who runs around at night attacking Fangs and assisting citizens; Mobrik, an evil Ridgerunner working for the Overseer who runs the Fork Factory (woe!); and The Stranders. The Stranders are an unruly crowd of men, women, and children who pride themselves on how disgusting, outlandish and sneaky they are, and Strander characters such as Maraly, Nurgabog, and Claxton add color to the book. Along with our new characters we become better acquainted with ex-pirate Podo, the children’s grandfather, as we hear several stories from his past, and are reintroduced to a couple of minor characters from On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.
I would definitely recommend this book. It’s well-written, evokes laughter, and is a great read for any fantasy lover.