Monday, September 19, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour Day 1: Review of Andrew Peterson’s “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness”

Wow… *double checks header*  I do believe that that is one of the longest titles I’ve ever had on a blog post. O.o

Today is the first day of the September CSFF Blog Tour and we have been reading through Andrew Peterson’s book “The Monster in the Hollows”.  That book is the 3rd  book in the Wingfeather saga (originally dubbed “The Wingfeather trilogy”, but that now consists of four books instead of three… thus the change.)

I’ve had the pleasure of reading all three books and of actually getting to meet Mr. Peterson in person (and singing with my church worship band to open his recent concert in IL. ^_^).   However, I haven’t posted any reviews on his books yet.  And so,  I thought I would do something a little different and actually review the whole series during this tour… three days for three books. ^_^  What do you think of that? :)

Janner Igiby is tired of always having to watch over his younger brother and little sister.  After all, he's already 12!  Practically an adult.  He should be able to decide what he wants to do with his own time.

And what he wants is an adventure... the kind he only gets to read about.  The kind in the stories told to him by his ex-pirate grandfather about the sea and foreign lands.  However, in the town of Glipwood which is run by the furious Fangs of Dang -- large lizard-man things with venomous teeth -- who report back to Gnag the Nameless himself, "adventure" often get's one in trouble.

When Janner tussles with a Fang in order to save his little sister and her dog nugget from a toothy and poisonous death, events turn dangerous.  The children get thrown into the jail and are threatened with a trip in the Black Carriage, a nightmare out of fireside tales and children's rhyms about a carriage driver who comes and steals kids from their beds in the night.  However, before the children are sent off, their mother Nia comes to rescue them with some secret jewels she had stashed away.  She manages to bribe the head fang and get her children out of jail, but now Janner is curious where his mother kept the jewels and how come he never knew about them before.

And then there's Janner's brother, Tink.  Tink is always getting into mischief.  When he "borrows" a map from the local book store that leads to an old, abandoned house on the edge of Glipwood forest, Tink and Janner decide to go exploring.  They know that Glipwood forest itself is said to be dangerous, but the house isn't actually in the forest... But instead of the relatively safe adventure they expected, they get chased by the terrible Horned Hounds and discover a hidden weapons chamber filled with all sorts of dangerous objects forbidden since the great war when Gnag the Nameless took over the land of Skree.  What is it doing there?  And what did the owner of the bookstore, the fat old Oskar N. Reateep, have to do with it?

Besides that, why does the local psychopath, Peet the Sock Man, seem so intent on protecting the Igiby children?  And why is Gnag the Nameless suddenly so set on capturing them?

Janner knows that his Mother and Grandfather are hiding something from him -- a secret that probably has to do with his father who was lost in the Great War -- but what could that secret be?  And what about these Jewels of Anniera that Janner keeps hearing about?  There was even something about them written on the map that Tink had borrowed.  Were those the jewels that his mother had given the fangs?  Was that what Gnag really wanted?

My Thoughts:

I actually started reading the series with the second book, but to be quite honest, I think starting that way helped me to appreciate the first book all the more.  

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness pretty much stayed around the small town of Glipwood, which sits right up against the Glipwood forest, up until the very end.  Usually I have some trouble with stories that aren't moving about -- it's not so much the stories fault as my attention span's fault.  I just want to see things change... I want to see dynamics. (I suppose all readers do.)  Well I didn't have those problems with this story.  It had enough going on and it asked enough questions that I was curious and content with staying in one place.

My favorite character by far was Peet the Sock Man.  He's so crazy, but there's something so likable about him.  You just have to pity him, and you wonder constantly about what put him in such a state.  And then of course you have little Leeli's dog, Nugget... if you haven't read the book, I won't try to spoil it for you, but let me just say that something happens to Nugget that, in my own opinion, is totally epic. ^_^

Andrew Peterson writes in a very unique style that utilizes the "story teller" style rather than the "Story shower" style.  I found it a little distracting at first, but by the end of the first chapter, I'd completely forgotten about my distraction.  The rhythm of the writing flows well and keeps the reader engaged.  It's not just what happens in the book but the pacing that counts, and in my opinion this book has just the right mixture of pacing and action.  In fact, Andrew keeps his own unique style very consistent throughout the entire series... even though I did note improvements from one book to the next.  And a reader should take nothing for granted in these books either... even small details may come back throughout later chapters in very big ways.

As far as this book goes, I give it a 5 out of 5.  It's absolutely family friendly, and it's the start of what is now one of my favorite Christian Fantasy series.

Just for fun, here's a picture of another version of the cover: 

And here's a picture of the author himself.  Not only does he look good (I mean, he does look good... his features remind me a bit of Steven Curtis Chapman...) but he seems very kind hearted as well. Also note that Andrew Peterson is a Christian recording artist.  Perhaps I'll devolve more on that later.  Right now I will tell you that his album "Far Country" is one of my absolute favorites. :)  I listen to it all the time as I'm working on homework or commission projects.

I shall now leave you with his smiling face. :D

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
* Eve Nielsen
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant


Galadriel said...

I need to read that someday

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Oooohh, your church worship band opened for Andrew's concert? How cool is that! So out of curiosity, does he mention his fiction in the course of the concert? I hope he does. More people need to find his books.

This is one of the all time best reviews of Dark Sea. Great, great summary. You've included points of intrigue without spoiling key events. Really well done.

I'll be looking forward to your others too.

R.P.H said...

As always great post Nichole. How cool that you have meet him and sing with your church worship band to open his recent concert! Really nice to have you in the CSFF blog tour :-)

Rachel Starr Thomson said...

Great review, Nichole! I need to check out Andrew's music too. "Far Country" is a good place to start?

Star-Dreamer said...

Rachel: Far Country is a Great place to start! :) And I was able to download the album for free a few months ago. Perhaps it's still up. Seriously, I love that whole CD and have most of the songs memorized. :D