On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
Peterson, Andrew. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness: The Wingfeather Saga Book One. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2008. 290 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for $6.00 or less.
Andrew Peterson is a noted singer and song writer as well as an author. He is a storyteller through and through. You can check out his other website, The Rabbit Room, which was inspired by the Inklings–a group of writers in England that included both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The Wingfeather Saga is a series of three fantasy books for children thus far that draws the reader into the world of Anniera. For parents that may be concerned about this particular genre of writing (and Peterson’s motives, more specifically) you can read his Note to Parents.
It is always difficult to write a summary for a work of fiction without giving away the entire plot (trust me). That being stated, I would like to use the introduction to the series written by Andrew Peterson himself on his website:
It’s a series of five (but possibly three) fantasy adventure novels about the three Igiby children, Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli. At the beginning of the story Janner is twelve, Kalmar (who’s nickname is Tink) is eleven, and their little sister Leeli is nine. They’re accompanied by Leeli’s dog Nugget, their mother Nia, and their ex-pirate grandfather Podo Helmer.
They live in a world called Aerwiar, which is exactly like our world–except they don’t have electricity or gunpowder, and there are all sorts of creepy animals, like sea dragons and toothy cows. Janner, the eldest, is about to discover that the ordinary little town where they live is anything but ordinary. In fact, he and his family are at the center of a great mystery that will change their lives forever.
I hope you’ll get your hands on a copy of the book and join the adventure. But beware of the toothy cows. They’re horrifying.
I readily admit that I am not a huge fan of fantasy (except for the Narnia series). I also readily admit that I was hooked by the storytelling of Andrew Peterson. While the story does give credit to a Maker throughout, On the Edge does not read like a Christian allegory. Rather, it reads like a brand new fantasy with and undercurrent of Christian flavor much like a hybrid of Lewis’ Narnia and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings though not favoring one over the other.
There will be pages that you will be laughing out loud (quite literally) and other pages where you cringe at what may happen next. In the end, you will not be able to guess the twists and turns of the story line (in my estimation, that is one of the most difficult aspects of writing a work of fiction–keeping the reader completely off balance). There are chapters that will leave you breathless and chapters that will have you questioning everything you know about Igiby’s.
Since I am reviewing the first three books of this series this week, I will leave more review for the next two books.
As I said earlier, I am not a huge fan of the fantasy genre. Andrew Peterson’s book On the Edge has shown me that there is much treasure to be discovered. The creativity of the various creatures and the story line kept me riveted to my seat for some time. If you are like me and not that big a fan of fantasy, then take my word that you will enjoy this series even though the series is written for a decidedly younger audience (10-15 year olds). For those who are fans of fantasy, then you need to add this series to your must read list.