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Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

av William Joyce, Laura Geringer

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Serier: The Guardians of Childhood (Novel 1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5602542,695 (3.89)18
Nicholas St. North, a daredevil swordsman seeking treasure in the fiercely guarded village of Santoff Claussen finds, instead, the great wizard Ombric Shalazar and a battle against the Nightmare King and his evil Fearlings--a battle Nicholas can win only if he finds five other Guardians in time.
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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 Shalazar. But when North arrives, legends of riches have given way to terrors 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.
  PlumfieldCH | Sep 21, 2023 |
Like others I came into this series due to curiosity after watching "Rise of the Guardians", which is based on this series' storyline. If you haven't and you do want to read this whole thing, start with "Man in the Moon" followed by "The Sandman: The Story of Sandman Sandsnoozie". You won't miss out on all that much if you cannot get your hands on those two picture books, since the books cover them for the most part in flashbacks and narration, but it helps to start from 'the beginning'.

This is the story of Nicholas St. North. A vagabond who, big shocker, discovers he has a heart of gold, even if he's still prideful. He rescues a magical village of inventors (half made of children and led by a wizard - basically a kid's paradise) from enemies and soon starts living there.

Now I am a big "Rise of the Guardians" fan. I saw it twice in theaters and I'm still hoping for a sequel or something further. Even with my experience with book-to-movie adaptations, this was not even close to what I was expecting.

This series is definitely targeted at very, very, very young children. Even though "The Guardians" is a chapter book series, it could easily be a child's first chapterbook series. The prose is simple and repetitive, like the reader might have forgotten aspects in the short time it took to read the already short narrative. The problems are simplistic and things children would care about more than adults - naptime and getting rid of it so kids can play forever, snacks before sleeping and things like that. The adults in the story outside of the protagonists are forgotten by and large simply because they are adults and therefore less important. You have to 'love' the way stories like these heavily separate adults and children and yet never define what exactly differentiates a child and an adult, even though every being in existence can apparently tell the difference. Why are the adults put to sleep and the children are victims of the latest disaster? Because young children are the audience and need to feel some sense of danger, that's why. There isn't even an age cut-off, which is the route most stories like this take.

A problem with the series is also that it doesn't seem to want to stick to being a children's story. I believe that a person of any age could enjoy this series, but I don't think someone very, very young would get a lot of what's in here. There are references to too many fairy tales and things that would go right over a kid's head, although if you are reading this with a child it might be a great learning opportunity for them.

There are some great things about this series. One of the oft-repeated themes is to encourage children, and people in general, to follow their dreams and do what makes them happy. Don't stick to one single path because people learn differently and solve problems differently. Also listen to others. Show compassion. Different peoples can get along if focus on working together and learn about each other. There's a strong push against forced obedience and a system of status quo, much like modern education and government. These are great messages for kids, parents and teachers.

Unfortunately there's also a lot that's bad about it. There are so many men in this series versus the single female protagonist and female spirit that guards Santoff Claussen (the principle town) that it gets a bit grating. Joyce could solve have solved this by using more than two female fairy tales (especially before the third novel when they finally show up) or by simply making the characters he outright made up, like the wizard and the moon guardians, female, but he didn't. Most of the mentioned children are boys and the parents are genderless and mentioned as a mob. The only one given a name is a man, and he's only given a name because there's some joke about every child in the family being named after him. The rest of the protagonists are male and the primary antagonists are male. A good female character to lead the story along is a great start, but it doesn't make me feel like this series is even targeted at a female audience, especially when she is constantly pushed to the background and the men keep repeating how much they have to protect her. Sure, she's got snuff and she does her own fighting a number of times, but not without disobeying others and once after she gets captured and damseled. Too many other women are fridged for backstory, like the Man in the Moon's nameless mother, Tooth's mother and her people. There are also so many sexist stereotypes about women in these books that it's just pathetic and hard to read at times. Although to be fair, this might be one of the few things the film got right - there's only one primary female cast member, and others are extras.

This is a series that is hard to reconcile with the film. In point of fact, I find it hard to believe that this is the series the film is based off of, since the characters and environment (this is an Earth of a different universe, not ours) are so extraordinarily different. Four books in and Jack Frost has yet to show up at all and we only just found out Pitch's backstory. His powerset is different than how it works in the films and the whole 'guardians' concept is transformed. Several principle characters fail to show up in the film, although this might be in preparation for sequels.

If you want to read more about this universe and at least learn the original backstories for these characters, go ahead and read this series. It's a fast read. Don't expect too much. ( )
  AnonR | Aug 5, 2023 |
This was a fun read. Yes, like everyone else I watched the movie and thought “well now I want to know the backstory to this world”

The story was captivating right from the start, it’s full of mystery and imagination that just keeps coming and is woven together in such a beautiful manner. It pulls you in and makes you want to keep learning the beauty of this magical world and it’s guardians.

I love the the back story to this particular Santa, (I’m a sucker for Santa backstories haha) this particular one was very different from the usual, Swordsman, thief, battleridden, angry, and so many other unlikely characteristics that were used to describe him, alongside the jolly and wondrous side we all know. The only thing I was a little bummed about was it doesn’t actually tell us HOW he became the Santa we all know and love, which I am hoping in something that gets explained in later stories. There was hints of it but not enough to actually say “this is how he came to deliver toys to children”

The story ends in a manner that makes you want to come back and continue learning and becoming part of this wondrous world. ( )
  SweetKokoro | Jul 30, 2020 |
The sinister Pitch, the terrible Nightmare King whose depredations brought about the end of the interstellar Golden Age, and resulted in the last scion of the great House of Lunanoff becoming the fabled Man in the Moon, above a small green planet called Earth, is freed from his ages long imprisonment in this engrossing middle-grade fantasy novel from William Joyce and Laura Geringer, immediately setting out to conquer the planet and terrorize its residents (especially its children) with his Fearlings. When Pitch and his men come upon Santoff Claussen, a magical and well-protected village in the isolated wilds of Siberia, protected by the spells of the great wizard Ombric, they are at first repelled. When they try again, this time possessing the great bear which (amongst other things) protects the village, it seems like they will have more luck. Then a dream summons Nicholas St. North, the most famed thief and adventurer of the age, to Santoff Claussen's defense, leading to a sequence of events in which Pitch is temporarily defeated, and North finds that he has a higher destiny...

Having read and enjoyed all three of William Joyce's Guardians of Childhood picture-books - The Man in the Moon,
The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie
, and Jack Frost - I have long been meaning to read the series of fantasy novels involving the same cast of characters. Much of the back story here - the battle between Pitch and the Lunanoff Family, during the Golden Age, and the partial destruction of the Moon Clipper that led to the formation of Earth's moon - were covered in those books, but it was good to get more details. I really enjoyed the cast of characters here, from the wise Ombric to the intrepid North, not to mention the courageous Katharine, and hoped I will see all of them again, in subsequent entries in the series. My only disappointment, with Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, is that although Nicholas' eventual role as Santa Claus is hinted at, that transformation isn't actually covered in the story, something I was rather expecting, given the book's description. Still, that is a minor complaint, as I otherwise greatly enjoyed this one, and am now eager to track down and read the sequels. Recommended to anyone who has read and enjoyed the picture-books mentioned above, and to all middle-grade readers who enjoy fantasy fiction. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jan 4, 2020 |
I'd have gone to 5 stars if the story had covered more ground and stood alone a little more strongly, but it was mostly an origin story - and any long-time comic reader will know that those are a tricky prospect (with the double whammy of being essential reading). William Joyce has a wonderful voice in his writing. Sprawling and intimate at the same time, with a preternatural connection to what WORKS in the hearts and minds of the young and young-at-heart.

I love the set-up of this series, how it functions as the creation of a mythic pantheon that kids know they can believe in because it comes from love. Evil, darkness, and mistakes aren't sources of negative motivation for loving the heroic idols within - they are instead rejected and contained, fought and sequestered away where they can still be seen and understood.

These are "gods" who have your back, want you to succeed, and don't threaten to torture you - they frankly don't care what you think of them, they're too busy being good and experiencing the same struggles and flaws that their readers understand all too well.

Thank you, William Joyce. I don't know if these books will ever attain the heights that they should - but I see what they are, what they are worth, and the love that went into them. I'm never going to be too old to know the value of a nightlight. ( )
  Ron18 | Feb 17, 2019 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Joyce, Williamprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Geringer, Laurahuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Rille, LaurenOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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To Jack Joyce, A fine upstanding young rascal, And to his sister, Mary Katherine, Who was fierce, fun, and kind
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The battle of the Nightmare King began on a moonlit night long ago.
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Nicholas St. North, a daredevil swordsman seeking treasure in the fiercely guarded village of Santoff Claussen finds, instead, the great wizard Ombric Shalazar and a battle against the Nightmare King and his evil Fearlings--a battle Nicholas can win only if he finds five other Guardians in time.

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