Literary Review: The Guardians of Childhood (Books One and Two) by William Joyce

After watching The Rise of the Guardians last month I immediately got intrigued (as I often do) with the idea that some of the worlds most loved icons were real and guarding the children. That here is Santa Claus (also known as North), the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman (aka Sandy) who are protecting the children and their hopes and dreams from the evil Bogeyman (aka Pitch Dark).

So when I realized (upon some research) that the Rise of the Guardians were based off of a series of children’s novels by the writer William Joyce, I eagerly found the audiobooks for the first two in the series and am looking forward to listening to the third and the fourth.

BOOK 1: NICHOLAS ST. NORTH and the Battle of the Nightmare King
According to the website:

Nick is a young toymaker who wants to play, have adventures, and practice a little magic. Everything changes when he meets Pitch, the Nightmare King, for the first time. Nick learns that he has to learn to use his wizardry to help those in trouble — and becomes one of the first Guardians.

Here we are introduced to a very young version of what we now know of as Santa Claus and how he came to be the first of a small handful of people to guard the children from Pitch Dark (aka the Bogeyman).

Many of the primary characters from the series thus far are introduced in this first in the series starting with the protagonists, to little Night Light, and the over arching antagonist… the Bogeyman!

Without giving away too much of the plot… it is interesting to see how Nicholas St North was “chosen” as it were to become a Guardian of sorts… He at first refutes it and tries to fight it, and over time finds that he has some latent powers within him that could aid the greater good… but with all things “with great power comes great responsibility” and North has had to learn that lesson over and over and over and over again.

Fortunately the children of the town believe in him and as thus gives him something to hope and want to care for and his friendship with a very special little girl proves to be more than he had originally anticipated and far more than he realized he needed.

This is very well written, and kept me intrigued with what was going to happen next… and considering that I haven’t exactly had time to truly listen to something whilst at work, to keep my attention span going was a feat indeed.

For a children’s novel / short story… this is definitely something that I would watch my children to read… because it dives into a world and legend that a handful of fantasy-esque writers have done before and done respectably and well.

E. ASTER BUNNYMUND and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core

A mythological Pooka who travels the galaxy, E. Aster Bunnymund specializes in making delicious chocolates — and battling evil. Part sorcerer, part ninja, and completely brilliant, Bunnymund is hard to find but well worth the search.

The second in series deals with the ever elusive Easter Bunny! Who happens to reside in Easter Island! (Yeah, I know… great surprise isn’t it?) But the Easter Bunny – or E. Aster Bunnymund has he calls himself – is the last of his race / species and as thus has no intentions in joining the effort to banish Pitch Black forever.

However, the irony with Bunnymund, is that he is more than willing to interfere with time and the pursuits of others if it strongly affects the largely picture in hand. But for the most part Bunnymund prefers to keep himself to himself.

When comparing him to the E Aster Bunnymund from the movie… I have to admit that I am curious as to how someone who appears to be a rather old monk-ish type figure could become this hair-raising super powerful, fight-happy bunny? Well you kind of have to read the final few chapters to find out… and does he ever make an appearance to as why he is the kind of bunny you really don’t want to mess with.

As expected the antagonist is Pitch Black and he has his sights sets on turning “Night Light” into his dark prince and young Catherine (from the first novel) into his dark princess… which naturally riles up Nicholas St North and puts him into overprotective brother mode (anyone that has older brother-like figures should know what I mean).

With a relatively strong first book, it is natural to deviate a little in the second book, however there are so many over-arching key points that I slowly finding myself thinking that perhaps I should go back to the first to re-read to get them all

William Joyce has created (or recreated in some ways) a mythology, a legend based entirely on the iconic figures that all children have grown up to know and love but not know their backstories too (well at least for me) and quite honestly… I do hope he continue down the spectrum in due time and not end with the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman… because that would just be disappointing.

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