North! or Be Eaten — Review, Day Two

North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson

Today is our second day of the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour review of the young-adult fantasy novel, North! or Be Eaten in The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson.

Today I’m going to unfurl my wings and cover some things in depth.

This also means:

PLOT SPOILERS

past the “Click to Read More“, so don’t click if you want to be surprised when you read this wonderful novel. Really, I’m serious. Don’t click.

The Author

First up, here is the blurb on the back of the book:

Andrew Peterson is the author of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, book one in The Wingfeather Saga, and The Ballad of Matthew’s Begats.

He’s also the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and recording artist of several albums, including Resurrection Letters II. He and his wife Jamie, live with their two sons and one daughter in a little house they call The Warren near Nashville, Tennessee.

But this doesn’t tell you all. He has recorded 12 albums, and is, as I write this, in the middle of writing and recording a new one.

One album that stands out from the others (that is not mentioned above) is Behold The Lamb, a Christmas album of all new songs recorded with many other recording artist.

Andrew Peterson

When I listen to Andrew’s music (and I am listening to it right now!), I am reminded of the heart and soul of Rich Mullins, and I am carried away to places where truth, beauty, and mercy play:

Its a window in the world, a little glimpse of all the goodness getting through, and all along the way the days are made of little moments of truth.

As well, Andrew is a man who is inspired to walk in the godly footsteps of C.S. Lewis. For instance, the popular website he began (“The Rabbit Room”) is named after the room where Lewis and the Inkling’s met in Oxford, which Andrew visited on a trip to England.

Based on these first novels, I would say that Andrew is well on his way to leaving us a rich legacy (similar to Lewis) of literature that will encourage generations of children to come.

Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson

Powerful Scenes From North! or Be Eaten

For me, the scenes in the Fork! Factory! were like a revelation, not only of a hidden knowledge of what is truly happening in Skree, but of the depth of Andrew’s heart.

Up until that point, the story was action, action, action — breathtaking and scary and fun. But at this point it got personal.

The Overseer of the Fork! Factory! steals children (with the Fangs permission) and uses them to make swords for the Fangs. The children lose their names and are each called “Tool”, because they are the same as a hammer or screwdriver … to be used up and thrown away.

This, to me, is reminiscent of Oliver Twist—where Oliver is in the oppressive orphanage—only this is scarier. There is no way out, and no child has ever escaped.

The nefarious part of this scheme, however, is that the Overseer will give a parent his child back—IF and only IF that parent can find two more children to take their child’s place.

This means that all the parents go mad trying to steal the children of other parents … and in the process condemning ALL the children to the Fork! Factory!.

Oh God! (I pray) Evil incarnate! My eyes were opened afresh so I could see through the thin veil of the story to perceive the evil at the heart of the modern world. As Tolkien said … this is not allegory, but it is applicable.

And then the truth of the Black Carriage! Just when you think the ultimate goal of Gnag The Nameless is just to make the children work, you discover you have been duped.

The Fork! Factory! is just a temporary stopping point. When a child’s usefulness ends, they are taken away in the Black Carriage, never to be seen again. Or so we think.

The truth, we find out later in the book, is that children are merged with lizards or wolves and turned into Fangs. They lose completely who they are, and become servants of Gnag The Nameless.

The Resurrection Letters, Vol. 2 by Andrew Peterson

And isn’t this, in some ways, like what is happening in our public schools? We happily send our children off to be educated, not realizing the plotting and social engineering that has been planned by people in high places.

Anyway, enough social commentary. I don’t know for sure that this is what Andrew had in mind, but I do know that he has a heart for children, and this comes out loud and clear.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18-19

I look forward to the day when I read where Andrew sets these people free. Knowing me, I will probably cry, and this is the highest compliment I can pay an author.

Movie, Anyone?

I don’t know if anyone else has thought this, but I for one believe that these books would make a great movie. I can see Book 1 and 2 being merged into the first movie, and then making the following books into another.

Recommendation

Again, this book is highly recommended for people of all ages except the very young.

Come back tomorrow, when I will give some more thoughts on North! or Be Eaten.

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7 thoughts on “North! or Be Eaten — Review, Day Two

  • The Fork Factory was a heart-stopper for me too. There just seems no way out. And yet the reader knows there must be a way out because the story does, after all, continue on. So first one false start and then another. He doesn’t get out, and he doesn’t get out, and finally at horrible cost he does get out.

    Like you I am looking forward to the liberation of these child slaves as the story resolves.

  • Just today I checked out Andrews music…great stuff! I love finding new, gifted artists. You mentioned Rich Mullins in your post–who is one of my favorite musicians–and I agree, Andrew has his songwriting talent!

  • We saw the movie possibilities with the first book, but with the second, we immediately began to see theme park. Our whole family has imagined the fun of boggan rides and climbing through waterfalls. We’ve investigated burrows and walked the streets of interesting towns with fascinating book shops and unusual creatures guarding and threatening along the way. We’ve sampled maggot loaf and other delicacies and slept in tree houses with tree top walkways. Maybe we lived in theme park land (central Florida) too long. Right now we’re enjoying the cruise ship while we wait for the next book to bring new adventures and new insights into life.

  • Robert,
    I’m a little late getting to these reviews, but I am enjoying them now. I love this series. In fact, I devoured them in a way I haven’t devoured any book in a long time. I couldn’t put them down. You said you may cry when you read the finale—I had a hard time reading the last 50 pages or so or North! through my tears. Good review of a good book.

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