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111 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Voice
Forgive me for reviewing my own product here, but since I'm not the one doing the actual reading, I figure it's excusable.

I've narrated three or four audiobooks over the years and enjoyed the process (and not just because it paid well). When my kind publisher asked me to narrate my own book and I declined, they were understandably surprised. "But," I told...
Published on May 14, 2008 by Andrew Peterson

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, by Andrew Peterson, is the first book in the Wingfearther Saga and is aimed for grade school-aged children. The subtitle pretty much says it all: "Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree." This is a goofy, sometimes scary romp following twelve-year-old Janner Igiby, his younger brother Tink and...
Published on May 13, 2011 by WatermarkedOne


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111 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Voice, May 14, 2008
Forgive me for reviewing my own product here, but since I'm not the one doing the actual reading, I figure it's excusable.

I've narrated three or four audiobooks over the years and enjoyed the process (and not just because it paid well). When my kind publisher asked me to narrate my own book and I declined, they were understandably surprised. "But," I told them, "I wrote this book with a British accent."

It's true. For the third or fourth self-edit of the manuscript, I read the entire book aloud in my cheesiest Oxford brogue, hoping that my wife and children were fast asleep and couldn't hear me. (Reading your book-in-progress aloud is a great editing tool, by the way.)

After quite a bit of my begging, the publisher succumbed and hired the esteemed Englishman, Peter Sandon to read On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. His voice is rich and deep, and with the exception of a few pronunciations that got lost somewhere in the Atlantic between here and the British Isles (he sounds the "G" in Gnag and Gnorm, for example), his reading of the novel is, as they say, spot on.

Lately, my second son (who's not much of a reader) has been following along in the book while Mr. Sandon's warm voice narrates through the CD player. More than once I've stopped on my way through the room thinking, "Is that really my book?" It sounds so timeless--which, in my wildest dreams, is what I wanted this story to be.

I hope you enjoy it.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Thought-Provoking, March 20, 2008
By 
Brian Baute (Harrisburg, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Andrew Peterson's songwriting and music, so when I heard he'd written a novel I had high expectations. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness delivered. It's not great literature, it's not going to displace Narnia or Lord of the Rings in the canon of fantasy literature, it's not going to be studied in classrooms fifty years from now. But it was a ton of fun to read, and I've continued to think about some of the themes a couple weeks after finishing the book (I plowed through it in about four days earlier this month).

The characters are memorable and well-crafted, the dialogue is perfect (unimaginitive or stilted dialogue is usually where sloppy fiction loses me, and this one kept me throughout), and the plot is fun and tense and touching and a little messy, but in a good way.

I've been told that I frown a lot when I read, not because I'm unhappy but because I'm thinking and processing, and I guess when I get lost in my thoughts my expression looks sour. This book made me smile as I read it. It was fun to read and is even more fun to read aloud (I've read the first two chapters to the kids, and next is Chapter Three: "Thwaps in a Sack"; they cackled when I read the parts about falling hammers and horse nuggets; they'll love toothy cows and Peet the Sock Man and the Fangs of Dang too). But there's also plenty of tension and drama and conflict, which carries the story along.

At times it seemed a little bit derivative of The Chronicles of Narnia, until it reminded me more of To Kill a Mockingbird, but then it brought to mind Harry Potter, except when it was more like Lord of the Rings. Then there were all those times when it was completely original. There's a lot that's familiar and a lot that's original. It's a good mix.

This is Book One of The Wingfeather Saga, a series title that makes a lot more sense after reading the final few chapters. I'm going to recommend this to my friends and their kids (probably appropriate for about age 5 and up to listen to, and for age 7 and up to read), and I'm looking forward to the next book in The Wingfeather Saga.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic adventure for adults and young readers., March 19, 2008
By 
Andrew Scott (Chattanooga, TN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) (Paperback)
Before you can get through the title of Andrew Peterson's new book, he pokes you with his sense of humor. In the opening pages, the author delights in throwing you head first into a world of meeps, chortneys, and flabbits. What's a flabbit? You'll find out when you need to know, so play along with this fantastically spun tale of adventure, wit, and hope.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a pleasure to read for the thrilling story and the delightful way Peterson chooses to tell it. Characters are rich and mysterious, and the story is dealt like cards in the hands of a magician. The world created for these characters is equally rich, full of unexpected color and detail. The reader is allowed to go down small footpaths along the story's trail, some important, others just for whim. Footnotes and appendices are even offered, rewarding the reader with extra insight and out-loud laughs.

Andrew Peterson is best known as a songwriter. In fact, he is a craftsman whose wood is words. He selects words and shapes phrases with fierce skill. Happily, he has applied himself as fiercely to his newest adventure. More, the story fills the soul with hope, recognizes the heart's ache, and reminds us of what is valuable.

Reading this book was a complete joy. Sprouting near the family trees of Narnia and Middle-Earth, young readers will love reading about the land of Anniera. Adults will quickly be swept up in the adventure, beauty, and humor. It may be a great storybook for families, as the chapters are 4-5 pages long. I happily recommend it to any reader.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, March 20, 2008
By 
J. Caylor "coloradocrim" (Colorado Springs, CO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) (Paperback)
So I started reading this book with the expectation of a Lord of the Rings style tale. It has a bit of that, but it's difficult to say how it's so different than that. One thing is certain, and this is the charming thing that sets The Dark Sea of Darkness apart from stories like the one I mentioned: the novel really doesn't take itself too seriously for very long. Let me explain by giving a couple examples. The top Fang in the township of Glipwood is named Gnorm. Gnorm. It's really not that silly until you say it out loud. And almost every one of the story's short chapters has a footnote that is completely ridiculous, yet completely effective at moving the story along. To me, these endearing little bits made the story really enjoyable. In a way, the silly elements and the fact that the lead characters are all under the age of 13 might make you think it's just a kid's story. On the contrary, I think it's a story that will engage kids of any age, like all the great stories. There's action, humor, peril and toothy cows which are much worse than they sound. Actually, I think some of the other animals are worth mentioning just for their creative names. There are thwaps, ratbadgers, sea dragons, horned hounds, quill diggles, digtoads and more. Andrew Peterson's On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is an excellent book. The tale is engaging and absolutely satisfying. The characters leap off the pages like a pack of ratbadgers. In fact, I was so riveted that I plowed through the last two-thirds of the novel this evening. And amid all the silliness, there are some deep, important themes to the story-things I'll be thinking about for a few days. I know a part of me really longs to attend the Dragon Day Festival and be rapt by the songs of the Sea Dragons... Honestly I'm not surprised that I enjoyed this book so much. Andrew was already one of my favorite singer/songwriter/story-tellers. I just didn't know he could write fiction.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of a Joyful 4-part series, July 24, 2014
This review is from: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) (Paperback)
I just finished the last book in the series, "Warden and the Wolf King", and felt it appropriate to go back and review the first of this 4-book series. Because, frankly, if you finish the first you will buy the next three (almost guaranteed).

So, to be helpful: This book is for young adults; some reviewers mentioned they found it in adult fantasy sections. While I'm an adult and I LOVED IT, don't read it assuming it's written for adults. It's for kids, which makes references to "maggot loaf" and other gross things more endearing than hampering. I'm looking forward to re-reading the series with my daughter when she hits 9 or 10, but am glad I read them first. (I may reread them myself before...because I enjoyed them that much).

This book also needs to be read in the full knoweldge that it is the first of a series; yes, it picks up the pace and ends right when the story starts really flowing, yes, it gets more intense and deeper as you move through the book, and YES, there are story lines that do not reach their conclusion. Also, to that end, this book draws you into the world of Skree and the lives of the Igiby family, and does so in a light-hearted, joyfully silly way sometimes. If that really bothers you, I might suggest you stay in the boat and follow the story through into the other books; the writing moves away from silliness (without losing joy) and into deeper, very satisying waters. I, for one, enjoyed the silliness. It's also possible to avoid some of the humorous side-jaunts by avoiding the footnotes (or, perhaps, going back and reading them once you've finished the book, as I did - because they're guaranteed to make you smile). Note that the footnotes disappear by the 3rd and 4th books, and what starts in this book as a delightful, relatively simple stroll with the Igiby family ends with full-blown characterizations and plot lines that are darker, deeper and more heartbreakingly beautiful than you'd guess from the outset.

Finally, I will echo what many reviewers have said - Peterson is unaplogetically Christian. As in Tolkien and Lewis, those who want to look for Christian themes will find them and enjoy them, but those who would rather not can enjoy this book just fine as the beginning of a seriously epic romp. There's loads of good stuff in here that parents will find refreshing and comfortable to share with their kids; respectful children who love their mother, chores on the farm, a celebration of a simple, honest life, and scary monsters that are kept from being too scary because they can be vanquished. Good stuff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, May 13, 2011
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, by Andrew Peterson, is the first book in the Wingfearther Saga and is aimed for grade school-aged children. The subtitle pretty much says it all: "Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree." This is a goofy, sometimes scary romp following twelve-year-old Janner Igiby, his younger brother Tink and little sister Leeli. The Igiby siblings live in a country that has been taken over by orc-like creatures called Fangs, whose harassment of the humans ranges from annoyances like making them fill out stacks of paperwork to get permission to use a garden hoe, to kidnapping children in a rot-covered Black Carriage to take them to an unknown doom. The fangs suspect that the Igibys are hiding the lost jewels of Anniera, and as a result Janner repeatedly has to save himself and his siblings from not just the fangs, but crazy creatures like toothy cows.

This is a goofy book that will appeal to fans of books like The Phantom Tollbooth and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and while it was cute, it's not exactly my style. I found the random footnotes and silly creatures just a little too goofy, but did enjoy the quirky characters and their well-defined personalities. It feels very much like a bedtime story made up on the spot and then turned into a book, and as a result the plot is a bit random and choppy.

While there are silly parts, the book is also rather intense and quite violent at times. There is one description, for example, where 12 year old Janner kills an attacker by cutting him in half with a sword; the top of the fang's body is described as sliding off the bottom half. A little much for the target age group, I think. There are many other scenes that involve stabbing, beating, poisonous venom, and people and animals dying.

One thing I appreciated about the book is that the children rely on their mother and grandfather throughout the story. Too often in kids' books the adults are portrayed as clueless hindrances who always admit that the children were "right in the end." In this book the adults clearly love the children and help and protect them.

Peterson is a Christian, but this is not really a religious book--references to "The Maker" are as religious as the book gets.

This is only the first book in the series, and I felt like the plot got the most interesting in the last few chapters. I think I might like the later books better than the first one.

Update 7/11: I just saw a quote from Andrew Peterson saying that he hopes people will stick with him until the second book because he thinks his writing grew a lot in the later books, so that confirms my original assessment!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read aloud for family time, May 22, 2008
By 
This review is from: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) (Paperback)
On the edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, in a cottage high atop a cliff, lives the Igiby family. The children, Janner, Tink and Leeli have only known life under the oppressive rule of the Fangs of Dang where children are taken in the night, never to be seen again, and serpent-like sentries watch their every move. But their mother and grandfather remember a time when the people of Skree didn't live under such oppression, when the Shining Isle of Anniera wasn't imaginary and the jewels were safe. Thus begins the tale of book one of The Wingfeather Saga, full of Adventure, Peril, Lost Jewels, and the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a delightful book, best enjoyed as a family. There are footnotes and wordplay that will only be understood and appreciated by adults, but whimsy that all ages will enjoy. The story is full of off-the-wall humor (especially at the beginning), and a world that is familiar, and yet, absurdly different from our own.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is best read, and I believe written as, a read-aloud, great for family storytime. Adults will love the humor that begins the book, and the peril is mild enough for all but the most sensitive children. The mysterious "Jewels" will be quickly obvious to the adult reader, but will be a surprise to all but the most astute children. I give these comparisons because this book seems to have an intergenerational target audience that depends upon both generations participating. Adults will find it juvenile, but kids will find many things above their heads. Only together will the story be best appreciated.

If your children enjoy fantastical worlds and you are tired of reading the same ole humdrum that puts you to sleep, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is probably for you.

Armchair Interviews agrees.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable and repetitive, October 29, 2012
This review is from: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) (Paperback)
It seems that I'm in the minority in that I didn't enjoy On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. Apparently, the author is also a musician, something which attracted many readers to the book. I was not aware of this when I began this book, and it also has no bearing on the rating. This tale follows the path of three children: Janner, tink, and Leeli Igiby. Their town is overrun with nasty little creatures called Fangs, and families live in fear and subjection, as they are constantly watched and controlled. As the tale progresses, the three children slowly begin to uncover secrets and make discoveries that only lead to more questions that beg to be answered. Amidst all of this, trouble is brewing...(yeah, best plot blurb ever! Note: heavy sarcasm. Yeah, plot blurbs are not my thing)

I like that, surrounded by books portraying children disrespecting their parents and elders, this particular book does not go this route. Janner, Tink and Leeli all show respect to both Nia (their mother) and Podo (their grandfather). The whole disrespect thing is an issue I have with what I've been encountering in more current reads, but I'm glad to say this one does the opposite.

On the whole, I found the beginning quite slow. I could barely motivate myself to pick the book up again - not a good sign. The book is funny in some parts, but it's more of a goofy, sometimes gross humor (think snot; maggots), though it's nothing dirty. In fact, after getting through the book, I'm really surprised I found it in the adult fantasy section. It reads more like a book for older children or young teens. Even the main characters being so young reinforces my thinking that this book is better suited for a younger age group and not adult readers.

One of the most negative things about this read is the fact that I never felt connected to the characters, and there wasn't anything truly interesting about any of them to where they were able to keep my attention. Likewise, the characters didn't really change through the course of the tale. They remained the same as when the book had begun. Most of them also had a few quirks or personality traits that were merely repeated, which, again, was another negative, and which kept these characters from being well-developed, and, ultimately, prevented me from forming that special bond between reader and character. Thus, I wasn't overly concerned with their fates.

I also had a huge issue with all of the secretiveness in the story. I think it was very cruel of Nia and Podo to refuse to speak of the kids' father. The children longed to hear about him and know more, but (and this was mostly Nia) they were refused more often than not. They could have at least given the kids something, but the flat-out refusal made me dislike Nia intensely. It's just total rubbish that she won't even tell her children, who are sad enough about not having their father around as it is, even a small bit. As with all of the other characters, she was one-dimensional. Like I said, did not like this character because of this at all.

******SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT******
There may have been that important secret involving the kids' father, but she could have told them things not having to do with the secret. It is just totally ridiculous and heartless of her not even to do this.
*******END SPOILER********

I don't know if it's simply the particular edition that I have, but the book is illustrated and the illustrations inside (not counting the neat picture on the front) are blurry and difficult to see. I think the reason that the front illustration is so clear is because it's in color, and it probably would have been better for all of the rest to have been in color as well or left out entirely (this excludes the ones done by the author; the illustrator, Justin Gerard, is clearly talented. It's just a shame that the pictures in the book are blurry). I can't seem to think of a time when I've thought this about an illustrated book, so this one just might be the first. As the illustrations are, they are very unclear.

And the negatives do continue. Happenings are rather repetitive. It feels like the same thing is happening over and over for a hundred or so pages (which was one of the reasons I was having difficulty wanting to pick this book up again), and the ending is predictable. I saw it coming a mile away.

Overall, I can't agree with other reviewers on this one, considering that the vast majority of them are 4-and 5-star reviews.

Also, it seems that some people I've come across are surprised that the author is a Christian. I don't see why this is an issue seeing as how the book is not preachy or pushy. A Maker is mentioned, but nothing direct is referenced. Would I call this a Christian fantasy, though? Yes. I'm a Christian, and I have no problems with reading books with Christian viewpoints or ones by Christian authors. And I've read the overly pushy Christian fiction, that preach and judge until even I have grown tired and reluctant to try another in the same genre. This book does not fall into this negative category. And kudos to the author for succeeding at this.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good change of pace from my favorite singer of all time, June 23, 2008
This review is from: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) (Paperback)
I'm a huge fan of Andrew Peterson's music, so the minute this book came out I was dying to read it. I very much enjoyed it, but feel almost guilty saying I didn't love it. It was a wonderful fantasy story full of dragons and lost worlds and children heroes, and though it started a bit slow it definitely picked up in the last 3rd. But, it was a little too Ogden Nash/Jabberwocky for me... almost every plant, name, town, animal, house, etc. had weird names that distracted me from the story line. Also there were these creative footnotes that were wonderfully clever, but after a while completely distracting as well... I quit reading them about halfway through the book and then came back after I finished it. Lastly, as a child I was never one to like "icky" stuff, and as an adult that stuffy part of my nature has carried over, so I was completely turned off by the long descriptions of maggotloaf, snot porridge... etc. I almost hurled reading it, which I'm sure is a delight to 7 year olds everywhere.

That said, I'm definitely buying the sequel when it comes out, mainly because of who wrote it. If it were any other writer, though, I'd probably just check it out from the library. If you are a fan of children's fantasy, however, you will love this story!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Delightful Beginning of an Epic..., September 27, 2014
I distinctly remember hearing about this series some years ago. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness? North! Or Be Eaten? What outlandish titles! I had no interest whastsoever.

Until I read Gillian Bronte Adam's glowing review.

Until I read the first page.

Aewiar, the world in which these tales take place, is a wonky world that introduces its perils and bizarre monsters with cheek. But as the series continues, especially at the end of of the second book and on, even some of the seemingly ridiculous jokes and creatures are revealed to have a deeper, often darker nature. The truth behind the Fangs of Dang and The Nameless One (named Gnag) is twisted and tear-jerking. Indeed, some of the places and people here are downright horrifying.

But it wasn't always that way. That's not how the Maker created it to be.

As evil closes in, it seems all beauty and joy is choked out of existence. Except there are lost Jewels. Jewels that evil seeks to destroy. Jewels that could restore hope again.

Our heroes are truly delightful. Our three main characters are children, and though they are young (the oldest is twelve), their maturity is far beyond their years, especially as the books progress. We also have quite a fantastic host of adult characters, including their queenly mother and piratey grandfather. But I have a name for you, dear readers. A name that has been written on my list of favorite literary characters.

Artham P. Wingfeather.

He is a gem. He is a literary gem. While reading about him, I was astonished and impressed how the author made me fall absolutely in love with him despite his...peculiarity in the beginning and his strangeness later on. Really, I could read a series all about him. Sadly, this series isn't it. Though Artham is an important character, he stays out a lot of the pages in Books 2, 3, and 4. And his absolutely BEST moment is in Book 2. I understand why the author couldn't have him in the main climax of the final book, but I would have loved it if he had his own separate personal climax. And perhaps more of a back-story with his lady?

Now as for some things I didn't care so much for (besides prolonged absence of Artham). The monsters sometimes bordered on too bizarre. I mean some of the cloven were really creepy! I could take it in a book, but it would have been too weird for me on screen. But really it had a point. It was actually pretty heart-wrenching and important. So it's not something to complain about, just shudder-worthy. And other of the creatures were hard to take seriously. Toothy cows. Wow.

There were also some continuity inconsistencies I noticed, but nothing too awful.

Still, none of this really damaged my appreciation of these stories. Andrew Peterson is a remarkable and special author, bringing forth unique and profound tales that charm, chill, and captivate. He is truly a master storyteller. The closest style I could compare him to is Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events--except this is beautiful, less morbid, and severely more encouraging.

Readers may want to know that this series is sometimes to be considered to be a children's series, what with its young main characters and cheeky humor. But I disagree. Though mature kids from 10 (?) on up might enjoy it, the bad guys are quite evil, and the kids often find themselves in painful situations. Plus, these books deal with some pretty dark issues, such as a character mad from torture and guilt. If kids can read these books and glean the profound messages endowed here, good for them!

This is perhaps the most original way since The Chronicles of Narnia to portray the Great Truth.The bittersweet final book illuminates its beauty. I can't say too much for fear of giving anything away. But it is lovely. And the name of the last chapter? Lovely. And the epilogue?

GAH! HOW CAN THE AUTHOR SAY THIS IS THE FINAL BOOK WITH SUCH AN EPILOGUE???? Despite the satisfactory conclusion,the epilogue leaves our characters about to start on an adventure that has such potential and hope and...when you read it, you will join me in a chant for another book.

The young and old alike can enjoy these incredible tales of loss, restoration, failure, redemption, bitterness, forgiveness, and ultimate sacrifice.

So go read them. ;)
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On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) by Andrew Peterson (Paperback - March 18, 2008)
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