Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour Day 3: Book Review -- "The Monster in the Hollows" by Andrew Peterson

Well I did it folks!  I actually blogged for all three days during the book tour!!! *does a happy dance*  Usually I end up blogging on the first and third days.  Sometimes just on the third day.  But this time I really did it and made it all the way to the end. ^_^  Perhaps it's because it's about books that I truly am inspired by, not to mention the absolutely epic music that's written and sung by the author... or perhaps it's just the illustrations. *shrugs*

You know, when I first heard about Andrew Peterson the author, I didn't realize that he was also the song writer that I loved to listen to.  And when I finally made that connection, then I was astounded by the fact that he was also an artist.  This just blew me away.

I'm not trying to blow my own horn or anything, but I know that I can write well and I love Christian fantasy (you can read a sample of my writing on the "read an excerpt" page of my blog); I know that I can sing well and I am fairly adept at playing the guitar (I'm now learning the piano) and I've written quite a few songs of my own (started working on an album but had to stop when the guy who was helping me moved out of town;  I'm also an artist (check out the links to my art galleries at the top of the page).  I do all of these things (and several others) and I know that I'm good at them because I love them so very very much.  I know this sounds like I'm trying to be proud, but honestly I'm not.  I'm just stating facts.

But here's another fact for you: there just aren't that many people out there who can do all three of these things at the same time and be good at them... and many of the people who can do all of these things only focus on one of them.

However, I don't want to focus on just one of my favorite pastimes; I want to expound on all of my talents and succeed at the same time... not just at one of them, but at every one of them.

So just for one moment, imagine the thrill I got when I realized that my new favorite author was also a singer/songwriter who played guitar and drew gorgeous illustrations for his own books.  Not to mention the fact that he published his last book "The Monster in the Hollows" through Rabbit Room Press which is his own company!  Not only were there others like me out there, but those others like me were making money and getting known for what they did, while at the same time (and most importantly) turning out genuine exemplary products in all three areas!!

Do you hear me?!  I'm not a freak of nature!!!  And I'm not alone!!!  ^_^  *does another happy dance.*

So now I'm going to post a review of "The Monster in the Hollows", since I've finally gotten that out of my system. lol!

Janner Igiby has always wanted to sail over the Dark Sea of Darkness... ever since he found that old drawing of his father standing in the prow of a ship, he's wanted to know what it feels like to roll over the waves of the sea.  He used to dream about it, looking out over the cliffs of his home on Dragon Day, but it just wasn't quite the same thing as doing it.

Now however he gets his wish... he's on a ship sailing far over the Dark Sea of Darkness... and he can't even get out of bed to see the waves!!!

Of course it's all Tink's fault.  If his little brother hadn't decided to go off and grow a tail... not to mention grey fur all over his body and long, vicious canines... Janner wouldn't be in this position.  But then again, perhaps Tink's change is partly Janner's fault... after all, if he had been looking out for his little brother like he was supposed to, Tink probably wouldn't have run away and gotten himself in trouble in the first place.

But what does it matter now?  What's done is done, and the Igiby family is sailing away from Skree far over to the Green Hollows where Nia's mother came from, hoping to escape Skree and Gnag the nameless' awful namelessness.  Not to mention the Fangs of Dang.  The Hollows folk are said to be a simple people but harsh fighters, and they've driven off Gnag's armies several times in the past.  Surely they will take in Nia, who is of their own kin, and her family.

But the Hollows aren't entirely safe in themselves.  There is a dark forest there where many evil creatures are said to reside... monsters, the Hollow's folk call them.  To the simple folk of the hollows, Tink's change makes him looks like a monster too.  And monsters must be killed.

While Tink works to prove himself to the hollows folk, something else is as at work.  Creatures from the forest are coming out and wondering through the hollows.  Livestock stalk starts going missing, and strange tracks are left near houses and barns.  There is definitely a monster in the Hollows... but who is it really?

My Thoughts:

Ok, let me just pause a moment to catch my breath.  *catches breath*

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK.  It's the best one in the entire series, in my opinion.  Tink's change challenges not only him but his entire family, as the Hollow's folk are suspicious of him and anyone who would bring such a creature with them.  Tink tries to keep his new self in check and prove that he is not the monster everyone believes him to be, while all around him things seem to be falling apart.  The dynamics in this book are far more engaging in my opinion than the other two books (although I can't complain too much about the dynamics of any of these books... I can only say that the ones in TMITH are stronger than the other books.)


*gasps again*

I had to catch my breath on that one.  It totally caught me by surprise!  I absolutely refuse to give out spoilers (and some of the blog tour participants may have notices that I have left out one specific surprise that happens in the first book every single time I write a review... but you see, the surprise is very powerful and important to all three books and I don't want to ruin it's epicness for anyone who hasn't read the series. ^_^)  However, let me just say that my heart literally skipped a beat when I read the end (or almost the end) and I jumped up and shouted "YES!!!" in the middle of the second to last chapter (I believe it was).  And then I cried in the last chapter.  Couldn't help it.  If you read the book you will totally understand.

The characters in these books definitely change over the course of the series.  It's like you can actually see the kids mature... grow up and become young men and women who understand responsibility and consequences.  It's not just that they are kids anymore... they actually have to learn about their world and the important roll that they play in it, and it effects them... deeply.  It makes me think that as a father, Andrew almost wrote his books to help his own kids learn valuable lessons for life and about their faith... and in doing that, he's also teaching those lessons to every kid who reads his books.

I admire him for that.  I want to write like that.  I definitely aspire to accomplish that with everything that I attempt to do.

For those of you who are interested in his music, first of all, you must know that I absolutely ADORE his music.  It's just as simple as that.  In fact, the first time I listened to his album "Far Country" I was like, "OH MY WORD!!!  This guy writes songs like I write.  Wow!!"  I mean, the subject matter... the genre... the type... it's all there!  I love Christian contemporary music, but I'm also a huge fan of folk music with a celtic taste thrown in.  And lyrics... lyrics are so, so, SO important to me.  If the lyrics are strange or just seem meaningless, I'll usually end up hating the song.

Well, while I didn't notice any real celtic flair to these songs, they are all definitely Christian contemporary with a sort of folk-like twist.  They are write up my alley... just what I like to write and sing.  A friend of mine calls them "mellow".  I'm not sure if that's how I would title them, but I guess the word does fit.

If you are interested in this album, check out this page:


(this is important)


While I'm absolutely 100% for supporting this amazing and talented man and artist, I also know that if you read closely you'll notice that you can actually download the album for free if you want to.  Andrew even provides a link.  But if you are anything like me, once you listen to his music, you'll be back for more.  In this way, he's not actually loosing money but gaining money... because the free album is only a sample - a small taste - of the rest of his work.

Now, in other news, I noticed that Andrew recently posted this video on Facebook and it's totally epic!! ^_^  It really reminds me of myself in many ways.  Fantasy writers can TOTALLY relate.  I was laughing through the entire thing!!

And at long last I'll close out this Review with three new pictures of the man himself. :)  If you haven't been able to tell up to this point, I'll be blunt: I am a huge fan of his.  But if you check out the other blogs on the CSFF Blog Tour (linked to below), you can find out more about why I admire him so much.  ^_^

Goodbye!!!  And I hope you enjoyed the tour!  Check out Andrew Peterson's website at  HAPPY READING!

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


Jake said...

I completely agree with you. This book was the perfect mixture of the first two and so much more. The only things I didn't like about it was the lack of footnotes. *sigh*

Otherwise, this book is EPIC.

I didn't cry though. I've only cried once because of a book, and that was, oh, six or seven years ago. ;)

Philip Nelson said...

Thanks for the reviews! I very much enjoyed them.