Written by Benjamin Percy and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, North Border is a gripping novella that transports you to the northern border town of Witch River Falls, haunted by an unknown creature.
Who am I? What is my true identity? Do I have to conform to the plethora of expectations around me? Why can’t I create my own identity?
Well, the question of identity is a burning one for most of us. Since birth, we are molded into the person people think we should be. Seldom, do we get the opportunity to become our own person. The identity crisis is all the more crucial for a person with mixed ethnicity. Throughout their lives, they are pulled in direct directions.
Daniel Bridgewater, the protagonist of Benjamin Percy’s North Border is one such person. With a Native American mother and a white father, he always felt out of place everywhere, be it with his tribe or the whites. Being married with a baby on the way and a pending mortgage on the house further flusters him. He feels stifled with no way out. With the closure of the mine where he used to work, things get more difficult for him. Soon, he gets a job with the Border Patrol. This does not sit well with his Chippewa side. Nevertheless, he feels like this is his only option. Patrolling the northern border is not an easy one. It is a place rife with drug trafficking as well as people smuggling. However, that is the least of Daniel’s worries. There is an unknown being on the loose in the woods near Witch River Falls. People start turning up dead, torn to pieces.
What is this being? Will Daniel be able to stop it? More importantly, will he finally be able to find himself?
North Border by Benjamin Percy is a hair-raising novella that anyone would find hard to put down. Right from the beginning, an aura of foreboding and doom is created. We want to know who the creature is who is wreaking havoc in the jungle. However, at the same time, we are afraid to find out. Percy’s spectacular writing style boosts this feeling. His words literally make us feel like a character in the story. The neo-pulp style illustrations of renowned artist, Francesco Francavilla, further enliven the atmosphere. We can easily imagine Daniel’s frustrations and his inhibitions. Along with him, we are torn between what should be done and what he wants to do. We feel how trapped he feels. His cousin, LeRoy Larosse, gives him a chance to serve his tribe, though in an unconventional manner. LeRoy is a character with a palpable presence. Despite all his perceived shortcomings, I immediately took to him. His determined persona provides a sharp contrast to Daniel. I have to mention that I found Daniel’s relationship with his Uncle Faron to be a touching one. Faron never pressed his views on him. He let him be.
Percy deals with a number of relevant themes that prods you to think about things you never thought about. His take on the Native Americans makes their plight relatable to us. America was originally their land. Yet, they were decimated and pushed to live in reservations. Even today, the few natives that are left are looked down upon. They have little say about the land that is rightfully theirs. Naturally, they want to make changes. Percy talks about racism as well. Bob Dalton represents the racism that people feign ignorance about. He and his cohorts are a violent bunch who think that the land is theirs to do as they please.
Benjamin Percy is an award-winning author with six novels, three short story collections, and a book of essays under his belt. He is also the writer of Wolverine, X-Force, and Ghost Rider for Marvel Comics. Naturally, he crafts a novella that is engaging from start to finish. North Border is one of those books you would loathe to put down before finishing. Being only ninety-nine pages, you can easily enjoy it in one sitting. Its short length, however, does not compromise the quality of the plot or characters. Hence, this makes the book all the more appealing.
The eerie atmosphere, well-developed characters, and intriguing plot make North Border a great choice for fans of mystery and supernatural novels. People who are interested in the Native Americans would love this story as well.
- Title: North Border
- Author: Benjamin Percy
- Genre: Horror
- Theme: Identity, Family, Crime, Supernatural, Thriller
- Publication Date: June 14 2022
- ISBN or ASIN: B0B2KPB5JN
- Number of Pages: 99
- Minimum Audience Age: 13
(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)
- Sexual themes: 1
- Religious themes: 0
- Violence, self-harm, etc.: 3
- Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 2
- Other adult themes: 1
- Content: 5 stars
- Writing Style: 5 stars
- Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
- Uniqueness: 5 stars
- Editing: 5 stars
- Other factors: 4 stars
- Overall: 4.84 out of 5
Featured Book: “North Border” by Benjamin Percy and Francesco Francavilla
Book Details Synopsis North Border is a terrifying story by renowned novelist Benjamin Percy that features pictures by world-renowned artist Francesco Francavilla. The Minnesotan state’s northern border is wooded and lake-lined, permeable, and mostly unattended, making it a hub for drug trafficking and human smuggling. Crossers are viewed as a menace, particularly recently when the…
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One thought on “A Book Review by Kajori: “North Border” by Benjamin Percy”
Colonialism and the impact it had on Native Americans is a crucial subject and, sadly, a current one. It’s easy to dismiss it as something that happened a long time ago, but the consequences are still happening. Thank you for your insightful review.
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