Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare - William Joyce, Laura Geringer *5 Stars* - This squeaked by but I’m glad it got 5 stars.

Scorecard: (Out of 10)
* Quality of Writing - 8
* Pace - 7
* Plot development - 8
* Characters - 9
* Enjoyability - 9
* Insightfulness - 10
* Ease of Reading - 8
* Photos/Illustrations - 10
Final Score: 69/80 = 86%

A solid story that brought great enjoyment.

*The Gush*

I have apparently been living under a rock because I had not even heard of this series until the movie was out. I unfortunately did not got see it in theaters but I immediately bought it after we rented it because this was a movie I have been waiting years for. It was a classic animated movie like I haven’t seen in years and easily one of the best animated movies I’ve ever seen.

This however is not a review of the movie (simply go see it) but I didn’t realize this was from a book series until I watched the extras on the blueray. I was like, ‘THERE’S BOOKS! NEED!!!!’ I have yet to read the children’s picture books but I hope to soon. I however got a chance to buy the three in one ebook of North, Bunnymund, and Toothiana on my Nook. Having now finished the first one, I’m glad I did. As much as I want them in hardcopy, I have room for only so many books and this is one I’ll be happy to read electronically for years to come. The one downside is the pictures. More about that later.

The style of the story struck me as carefully planned; it is rambling, jumping from character to character, and takes a long time to go where it wants to. That sounds like it is poorly written but that is not accurate. It is written as a myth, as a story being told, as something that is alive rather than a staid and carefully laid out plot. I believe this was a careful choice because it works so well with the story as well as what the author is trying to do with these books. Joyce has said that he is attempting to build the mythology around familiar characters, tell their origins, and relate how they work together and know each other. In this world where many of our myths and anthropomorphic ideas (like the Boogeyman and Jack Frost, etc.) are slowly fading from our collective thoughts as a society, his work to breathe life back into these characters and give us an origin and a new way to connect to them is wonderful. I never believed in Santa Claus as a child, but I always respected what I felt was at the core of his tale-the wonder of children and all that is the best of human kind in the Christmas season. Scrooge may be the archetype for everything the season is not, but Santa has always been the physical manifestation of the best of the season.

The characters themselves are engaging and memorable. The Man in the Moon and Pitch are briefly explained (because they are discussed more in other books I’m assuming) but the main characters are Ombric the wizard and Nicholas St. North (he who will be Santa). Ombric is an interesting figure who has to be one of the nicest wizards fiction has ever seen. He has the power and mystic of Merlin but the personality of Dumbledore’s kindly old man mask. I rather liked him, I must confess. North is at first a scary Cossack thief who the Moon leads to Ombric and his town’s rescue and goes through a profound change through the efforts of Ombric and Katherine, a young girl cared for by the elder wizard. You can see the man North will become slowly emerging and Katherine’s vision of who he becomes was wonderful.

Pitch is a great bad guy. He is not a complicated evil; you are not made to feel sorry for him. He was once a great warrior for light who gave into the dark and let it consume him. He chose to be bad, and enjoys being so. While complicated evil does exist, fiction has seemed to have forgotten that sometimes evil is evil for the sake of being evil. We cannot explain it or categorize it, it simply exists.

I won’t go into detail of the plot other then it is exciting, surprising, and great fun.

*The Rant*

It was too short.

Perhaps I will feel differently once I read the others, but I felt the book ended very suddenly. I felt two or three more chapters might have been better.

One part of my rant concerns the ebook itself. The pictures are obvious quick breathtaking but they were not rendered into the digital format well at all. You can see them and they are not bad, but they are not bad because they are clearly extremely superior in hardcopy and so are merely ok but not great. I wish a bit more thought had gone into rendering the beautiful illustrations.

*Conclusion*
This is a great book that makes me excited to see what the author does with the rest of the series. Action without gore and scary without terror, this is a great book for children of most ages and I think would be fun for both boys and girls.