By William Joyce
Before Santa was Santa, he was North, Nicholas St. North—a daredevil swordsman whose prowess with double scimitars was legendary. Like any swashbuckling young warrior, North seeks treasure and adventure, leading him to the fiercely guarded village of Santoff Claussen, said to be home to the greatest treasure in all the East, and to an even greater wizard, Ombric Shalazr. But when North arrives, legends of riches have given way to terror of epic proportions! North must decide whether to seek his fortune…or save the village.
When our rebellious hero gets sucked into the chaos (literally), the fight becomes very personal. The Nightmare King and his evil Fearlings are ruling the night, owning the shadows, and sending waves of fear through all of Santoff Clausen. For North, this is a battle worth fighting…and, he’s not alone. There are five other Guardians out there. He only has to find them in time.
This book was magic. It had that perfect tone of nostalgia, childhood, myth, and wonder. It was comforting and felt like I was being told a bedtime story by the author. It was soothing to read and full of hope as well as danger and adventure. North is a great character, someone who has spent his life as a warrior pirate, and finds that he is more than just a treasure-seeker once he discovers the amazing village of Santoff Clausen. He especially loves the children. Sound familiar? And so the story and legend begins in a small unique and magical town, threatened by a darkness and terrible evil. It’s got the classic hero’s journey and a wonderful tone full to the brim with good. I highly recommend this series. (It’s also where the Dreamworks movie “Rise of the Guardians” got it's inspiration. There is a clip of that amazing movie below!)
I give it a 4.5 out of 5