Friday, September 18, 2009
Here's the review I promised:
Andrew Peterson's new book North! or Be Eaten is a pleasure. I found this second book in the Wingfeather saga fun, rich, full of suspense, mystery, beauty and most of all, wit. This book, like many of Peterson's songs, seems to be something that can be gleaned from again and again.
Peterson's characters are as real as they come. I often wondered if I already knew one or two of them from somewhere. Like real people, the qualities that make them lovable in one mood can make them annoying in another. And, Peterson doesn't give the Igiby's a pass because they are the heroes and are on the right side of the story's crisis. They get their hands dirty, they're in real danger, they bleed, they have to pant when they get to the top of the hills they climb and they make mistakes.
The character's are faced with decisions that model reality, those that have less to do with what is right and wrong absolutely and more to do with what is right in this situation or what could be even better. If they choose what is best for others over what is best for themselves, they face the negative consequences but are usually rewarded with more blessing in the end over that choice. The story explores themes like sacrifice, loyalty, family, persistence, and faith and in every moral lesson, I think Peterson is spot on.
I imagine Peterson created this world of fiction to illustrate how The Maker, as the books' characters call Him, works in both our world and theirs. One character, for example, is humble about his mistakes, but he is brought even lower, broken and forced to reckon with his past. But, in the same story, another character is proud in his sins and shows nothing but contempt for others. He is left to do as he pleases and he simply grows more and more proud. It seems unfair, but if you examine the outcomes closer, you see the reckoning serves to set the righteous man free from his past once and for all, while the proud man, though he appears to be free, is left to suffer with the same corrupt heart he has always had.
I give this book two! thumbs! up! and if anyone gives it a poor review, I say, in the words of the book's beloved Oskar Tilling, that person "Wouldn't know a good book from a bad tooth."