Skip to main content

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Andrew Peterson is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I was naturally intrigued to discover he penned children's fantasies as well. I am going to say that his talent as a lyricist is greater than his talent at narrative prose, but that doesn't tell you much as he is a superior musician. I very much enjoyed the book too.
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree. The Wingfeather Saga Book One) 
A long title, and kind of a ridiculous one, but the book does have a hint of the ridiculous in it. The story takes place in the land of Aerwiar (a name derived from "here we are") and has a variety of odd creatures with odder names. Quirky is the word used to describe it on the back of the book. When I began to read I felt that Peterson had built a tower of quirky so high it was in danger of toppling into the realm of cutesy. I try to avoid cutesy at all costs and almost stopped reading as a result. I decided to give it a little longer and was soon wrapped up in the story. Peterson manages to avoid cutesy (but only just).

This is the story of three children, Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby, and how their boring life becomes full of danger and intrigue involving secrets of a toppled kingdom and the lost jewels of Anniera. The plot focuses on Janner, the eldest, who has grown a bit resentful of his role as protector of his younger siblings. And one really can't blame him given that Tink and Leeli possess the common sense and survival instinct of gnats.  It is easy to identify with Janner as he struggles with his role and his grandfather's admonitions to put others before himself.

There is evil afoot in the land the Igibys call home. The nameless evil (named Gnag the Nameless) has taken over the land of Skree from his fortress in Dang and filled it with his minions, known as the Fangs of Dang. I found it a little difficult to take villains with such an absurd name seriously.

There is quite a bit of the absurd in the book, making Aerwiar more reminiscent of Oz or Wonderland than Narnia or Hogwarts. The narrative structure is also more similar to the former, very action driven and almost episodic. There was another way in which this reminded me of those other two books. The absurd elements in the story make the darkness seem not as menacing in many ways. I never felt a true sense of peril. There is danger but it never becomes foreboding. Even when tragic things happen, they are fixed in such a way that nothing is sacrificed or lost. (There were sacrifices that occurred prior to the story but these are told in exposition by the adults to the children and are therefore distant and not as real.) Which is why I think the book works best for an audience  as yet untouched by cynicism, or one that is easily creeped out by truly dark elements in books. It would make a great read aloud for emergent readers and a good independent read for 2nd-5th graders. I have handed it over to Bit to read and she is all kinds of excited about it.

This is, of course, the first in a trilogy. The other two books North! Or Be Eaten and The Monster in the Hollows have both been released already. Janie at Redeemed Reader reviewed the second book here last week.


Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

From Most Recent to Least:

What books have recently caught your eye?

Future Favorite Friday: June 2018

I take the 2nd Friday of every month to highlight some upcoming releases I am looking forward to that I hope are Future Favorites. Feel free to do your own post, just please link back to my blog and tell me about your post in the comments.

Two Naomis was one of my favorite reads of 2016 so I was understandably excited it's getting a sequel. 

In this sequel to Two Naomis, now that Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi E.’s dad are married, the girls have learned to do a lot of things together, like All-Family Sunday dinners, sixth-grade homework, navigating the subway system by themselves, and visiting their favorite bakeries. Until sixth grade in a new school presents a whole new set of surprises and challenges.

Trusting her gut has worked for Naomi E. all her life, and she figures that it will be an asset to her role as a Peer Mediator—until she realizes how much of the job requires the Art of Compromise, which she’s only just starting to get used to at home.

Naomi Marie is excited about maki…

Lovely War

When I first heard about Lovely War by Julie Berry, I remember thinking, "Whoa, that's ambitious." And it is. The scope and depth of this story with all of its intricacies and thematic elements is massive. Berry manages to hold it all together beautifully. She managed it so beautifully that it is so far my favorite YA read of 2019.

The ecstasies and the wounds of love were Aphrodite's work. Forging passions was what she was born to do. She, too, was a welder, a mistress of fire of a different sort, working in materials more powerful and resistant than carbon and iron. And what did that toil do to her?

In 1942 New York City while men are partying on the eve of shipping off to war, a stunning couple arrives at a hotel in the midst of the revelry and departs for their room followed by an overly enthusiastic bellboy. But none of these figures are as they appear. The couple is Aphrodite and Ares on a secret assignation that turns out to be not so secret as the bellboy is Ap…

TTT: Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This Week's Topic: Auto-Buy Authors

Here are my auto-buy authors and their most recent or coming soon release. Also, I got stuck on twelve and couldn't cut it down any further. So it's really Top Twelve Tuesday today. Or Thirteen rather as I sort of combined Emma and Genevieve. (I auto-buy all their individual projects too.)

Who are some authors whose books you buy no matter what?

(I don't know what it says about me that there is only one male author on this list, but I don't dislike whatever it is.)

2019 Favorites So Far...

Who can believe we are halfway through 2019 already??? It's certainly hard for me. (Also, where did my summer go?) are my favorite reads of the year this year so far. I'm featuring my 10 Favorites overall and then 5 from each age category I read. It will be interesting to see which of these will make it all the way to the December 31 list!

Top 10 So Far:

 Top 5 MG:

Top 5 YA:

Top 5 Adult: