The Guardians: Book Two
by William Joyce
“it was no surprise to the children that Katherine’s heart went out to the little orphaned gosling” (Joyce, 45).
Chapter One – Chapter Five
Who doesn’t love a title with an exclamation!? (In this case, I think it makes it more exciting. Not that every title should have one because then it would lose its snap!)
Where to begin with this one?
Reading this one was a little more muddled than Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King. Meaning, as I read it I didn’t break it into equally divided chapter hunks. But I was able to break it down into four major parts:
- the prep with the children and explanation of what’s happened and has happened since Book One
- Pitch’s daughter + everyone with news but Nightlight is missing!
- the return to Santoff Claussen to see the damage and find the last relic/get help on Easter Island
- Bunnymund and the battle with Pitch
(#3 and #4 are broken into two posts)
Let’s start with the first part!
It’s not a bad beginning, but it doesn’t quite have the same thrill Book One did with the moonbeam.
I have nothing against the other children — Sascha, Fog, Petter, and the Williams — but it felt a little jarring to open up with them, when I had last seen North and Katherine recouping in the Himalayas. As I wrote in my notes: why should I care about them? (Although the attention spent on the children is actually emotionally relevant later.)
Strangely, near the end of Chapter One, the children repeat their first lesson from Ombric (“‘I believe! I believe! I believe!'” (14).) and it felt…a little silly when I read it now. I’m not sure why, other than it doesn’t bring North, Katherine, or Ombric back like they wanted.
North has sent a bundle of presents to the children (I’m writing this a few days before Christmas so this sentence is particularly amusing to me!), one which contains a green leather book from Katherine. In it she’s written a story about what’s happened to her, North, and Ombric since they defeated Pitch.
Admittedly, before she tells them about that, she and the children first have to talk about everything that happened in Book One. I admire the method of recapping: through an interactive story. Even if it felt as if it dragged or was slow since it was mostly recap – who Pitch was, how he attacked Santoff Claussen, who fought at the battle, etc..
I did like how the events since Book One were relied through Katherine’s book-telling: “To the children’s surprise, the drawing of Katherine began to move and talk, and then her voice filled the room” (27). So that added a lively dimension to what was essentially info-dumping. Overall though, it felt stifled, somehow. As if it wasn’t quite as lively a beginning as Book One.
But onto the important changes in the characters’ lives!
First, Nightlight and Katherine’s relationship has deepened into a very steadfast friendship:
“Katherine was never happier than when Nightlight was nearby. Though he never uttered a word, they had become very close. He was a miraculous friend. He could fly and speak to moonbeams with his mind. He made her laugh and always kept her safe. But it was in the nearly silent times that the real strength of their bond was evident. A friend who understands everything without being told is the rarest and best kind of friend” (35).
“What made [Nightlight] happier still was Katherine. She was clever and kind and always ready to help her friends” (37).
Aside from those simply being nice sentiments, it shows how they feel about each other and what they gain from the relationship — a sense of safety and comfort. And I imagine those are qualities, especially Katherine, would cherish. After all, wanting a friend was one of her driving desires in Book One, as North would know.
Second, there’s Kailash, the orphaned Himalayan Snow Gosling. (Technically she’s a Snow Goose, but as she’s a baby, I’m going with gosling). Similar to the time spent on the children, Kailash’s existence is vital later.
Story-Katherine tells how at Pitch’s departure there was an avalanche and she helped dig out “a most beautiful silvery egg” from the snow (44-5). The rescued egg’s parents could not be found, creating a connection between Kailash and Katherine because they are both orphans.
Lastly (and not really about anything that’s happened but just something I want to talk about), Katherine’s stories as living entities is awesome.
“‘Ombric laughs every time he sees Kailash waddling behind me,'” Katherine continued. “I think he feels like a grandfather!'” (47).
Joyce, William. E. Aster Bunnymund and Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core! New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.