“Janner Igiby lay trembling in his bed with his eyes shut tight, listening to the dreadful sound of the Black Carriage rattling along in the moonlight.”
So begins On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson, the first book in the four part Wingfeather Saga. A friend of ours told us about these books several years ago and, after reading the series through myself, we’ve nearly completed them all as a family.
In brief, this first story is set in a the fantasy world of Aerwier and chiefly concerns the three Igiby children – Janner, Tink, and Leeli – their mother Nia and their grandfather, Podo. Though they live in a delightful little cottage on the outskirts of a delightful little town, all is not well in the land of Skree. For nine years, the Fangs of Dang – man sized lizards with razor teeth and poisonous venom – have ruled with an iron fist, casting a pall of fear over everything the family does.
When a confrontation between Leeli and one of the fangs brings the whole family to the attention of their oppressors, the fangs begin to suspect that Nia may be in possession of the Jewels of Anniera – a treasure long sought by the great tyrant Gnag the Nameless, the children learn that their humble existence in Skree was simply cover for a much grander history. A history which brings them directly to the center of all Gnag’s hateful attention.
Fear not, you’ll find no spoilers here. This book is self-described as a meeting between The Lord of the Rings and The Princess Bride, and it’s an apt description. There’s lots of quirky humor here (like toothy cows and Anklejelly Manor) but the plot is serious and complex. Andrew Peterson is an award winning Christian musician and obviously a very talented guy. For my taste, I found the writing to be acceptable for a fun read, but middle-of-the-road as literature (he’s a bit wordy for me; I think I’d have paired the book down by 25%).
That criticism aside, I’d definitely recommend On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. It’s a fun read which my whole family enjoyed.
|Lots of sword fighting and lizard-killing adventure here, blood and all.
|Peterson is certainly instilling Christian themes throughout this series, though not in as obvious a way as, say, The Chronicles of Narnia.
NOTE: As always, my content notes are for informational purposes, not judgmental ones. For a full explanation of my Content Notes and the scale, click here.