Archive for May 12th, 2008


 Quest the First…

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time II criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

Book 4: Once Upon a Time in the North  by Philip Pullman

Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (April 8, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0375845100

Product Description
In this new prequel episode from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials universe, Lee Scoresby–Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua–is just 24 years old, and he’s recently won his hot-air balloon in a poker game. He finds himself floating North to the windswept Arctic island of Novy Odense, where he and his hare daemon Hester are quickly tangled in a deadly plot involving oil magnate Larsen Manganese, corrupt mayoral candidate Ivan Poliakov, and Lee’s longtime nemesis from the Dakota Country: Pierre McConville, a hired killer with at least twenty murders to his name.

It’s only after Lee forms an alliance with one of the island’s reviled armored bears that he can fight to break up the conspiracy in a gun-twirling classic western shoot out–and battle of wits. This exquisite clothbound volume features the illustrations of John Lawrence, a removable board game—Peril of the Pole—on the inside back cover, and a glimpse for Pullman fans into the first friendship of two of the most beloved characters in the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lee Scoresby and armored bear Iorek Byrnison.

Well, they are right.. it’s a very small book!  And I read it in one day!  And… the title sure works for this challenge! heh

Of course it helps that I already loved the characters of Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnison (as mentioned in a lower post)  This was a good little background look at Scoresby and Iorek.  It covered how they met while having a bit of “adventure” by helping others without even being asked. (see? Told ya he was a good guy!)

There was humor in this little book also, when Lee and Iorek meet and mispronounce each others name for a while.. as they realize they respect each other they straighten that little problem out. 

I feel sure Pullman could write a number of “little books” about these two characters seeing as they mention in His Dark Materials, that they have known each other for a very long time, and indeed in this book they are both very young and by the time The Golden Compass comes along Lee has white hair!! (and nice white hair it is lol)

I am glad I got this book even though I rarely get books that I can read in one sitting or one day, only because I really can’t afford that luxury!  And now, since I had purchased His Dark Materials in that very large TPB ..now I have to try to save and get the three books in hardback so they go with this tiny HB book of Once Upon a Time in the North!

Argh.. it’s always something!  (but a nice something)

This book is truly a lead-in as to why these two characters shine so prominently in the other books.  So I can honestly say that I loved  both, His Dark Materials and Once Upon a Time in the North! 

Although this is a prequel, I don’t truly know if I’d enjoy it as much before getting to know those characters better. The book tells you something of each one but I don’t think it tells you enough to “really” enjoy it if you read it first.  In this case I think it’s better to go back to the prequel, rather than reading it first.

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