Top critical review
>> AN UNRELENTING CHASE SCENE
Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2019
Why am I the only “reader” (or at least only “reviewer”) who did not love “North or be Eaten”?
> Possibly “North or be Eaten” is one of those books which do not translate well into audiobook format. I’ve notice that many printed books I loved years ago (such as John D. MacDonalds' Tavis McGee seires) are not as appealing as audiobooks. A reader (of a printed book) can read slowly or pause and imagine a scene - even re-read passages. Audiobooks need to be more explicit, because (practically speaking) they cannot be slowed, or paused, or re-heard. Since “North or be Eaten” is all action with very little description of characters, scenes, or objects, it fares poorly as an audiobook. There isn’t even any cover art to introduce the Wingfeather world. Why does Peterson bother to describe the trolls, but not “Fangs”? Okay, “Fangs” are humanoid lizards – got that. Do they have long dragging tails? Do they eat insects? Do they have scales? Are they green, striped or spotted? Oops, but "gray fangs" are humanoid zombie wolves -- right? Do they have point canine faces? Are they furry? If they are furry, do they wear clothing over the fur?
> Possibly, “North or be Eaten” is fine as a sequel to a recently-read “On the Edge ....” – for readers who already know the characters (especially if “On the Edge ....” is more descriptive). Having NOT read “On the Edge ....”, I never connected with the characters – nor even managed to distinguish them from each other. Okay, there are three kids (who are actually some kind of humanoid birds?) and a few older characters (grandmother and uncle?)
– that’s all I know. Since there is practically no description of any characters or scenes, I have no image in my mind of what any of the characters or creatures in the novel look like. About these "humanoid birds"? Do they have hands? Are they covered with feathers? Do they have beaks? or teeth?
> The silly cutesy self-contradictory juvenile names for things such as “whistle-harp” (or “toothy cow”) greatly annoyed me. It would be okay if (for example) I knew what a “whistle-harp” looked like, and how it is played – or why a “cow” would have fangs and be carnivorous. But again “North or be Eaten” is utter bereft of explanatory or descriptive passages about any object, scene, character, or creature. Long before the movies, I knew what “Hogwarts”, and “The Shire” looked like (not quite the same as the movies, but close). I have no idea what the Wingfeather world looks like.
BOTTOM LINE -- I need more than action in a fantasy novel. I need my imagination to be inspired, I need vivid imagery (even if it is only in my own mind). I need to be an armchair participant. The audiobook version of “North or be Eaten” didn’t do that for me.
> A "Christian" novel? Huh? For better or worse, there is NOTHING Christian about it except for the somewhat lame theme of forgiveness at the end. Would you really easily forgive a man who has murdered your children? Another reviewer claims that it is Christian because there is no "magic" in the novel. Humanoid birds being transformed into zombie humanoid wolves sounds like magic to me -- in fact, particularly objectionable, icky creepy magic. Are there people who really believe that "Harry Potter" magic, is somehow anti-Christian? Just because the author may claim to be a Christian doesn't make this book Christian.