THE EYE OF THE NORTH
The Eye of the North follows ever-prepared Emmeline Widget, daughter of two very secretive scientists as she embarks on an adventure to the frozen wastes of Greenland after they mysteriously disappear.
The Eye of the North is certainly a very fast-moving and well-paced adventure. There is barely any set up in building the scene of Emmeline’s interesting and unusual home life before her parents disappear and she is shipped off to a distant relative and the adventure begins. The story arch is a good one, it never lets up it’s pace and you aren’t left feeling like any part is dragging. The setting of Greenland is great and it reminded me of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights in places. One of the twists near the end really upset me though – I’m not sure how middle-grade readers will respond to it!
I found the writing style to be engaging and amusing, with lots of detail in certain places but I feel like the detail started to run out towards the end of the book. The North Witch seemed like a fantastic character but she wasn’t very well described and didn’t really have too much of a role to play which was a shame. Perhaps she is left vague as to inspire children’s imaginations and keep it from becoming too scary but I did feel she could have become a great villain if a little more time had been spent on developing her. The creatures mentioned towards the end of the book were also not very well described, some just as ‘short, ugly and slightly mouldy-looking’ which didn’t really fire my imagination too much!
I really enjoyed Emmeline as a character, a strong young lady who is a touch paranoid but always prepared for the unexpected. I thought Thing’s character was a little confusing, he seems far too invested in finding Emmeline although they have barely met and he is given a little bit of a backstory – his Dad trying to make him a circus performer, but not really enough to make him a fully developed character. As half of the book is in his perspective and not Emmeline’s I feel like this should have been addressed.
Overall it’s a fast-paced, adventurous race through the frozen wastes of Greenland but I thought under-developed characters and missed opportunities let it down. Thank you to Little Tiger Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read The Eye of the North in exchange for an honest review.