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On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) Paperback – March 18, 2008
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Playwright Peterson (Behold the Lamb of God) spins a whimsical fantasy novel that will appeal to both adult and YA readers. When the three Igiby siblings find a mysterious map, they embark on an adventure to discover family secrets about the father they never knew and a hidden treasure that many have long desired to find. Leeli, the youngest, can sing with a beauty that captivates dragons; Tink, the middle sibling, has the makings of a king; and Janner, the eldest, possesses a bravery that will protect them all. But the children's curiosity get the entire Igiby family into trouble with the Fangs of Dang—frightening, scaly-skinned, lizard creatures that drip venom—who have ruled the land of Scree since the Great War. Soon, the Igibys are scrambling for their lives. Peterson's style is lighthearted and funny, but following the Igibys' story requires patience and attention to detail and character so as not to get lost. The sheer amount of names, places, creatures and history Peterson invents will frustrate some readers—it is so complicated that he inserts explanatory historical footnotes throughout (though many are amusing). (Mar.)
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“So good–smart, funny, as full of ideas as action.”
–Jonathan Rogers, author of The Wilderking Trilogy
“A wildly imaginative, wonderfully irreverent epic that shines with wit and wisdom–and features excellent instructions on how to cope with Thwaps, Fangs, and the occasional Toothy Cow.”
–Allan Heinberg, writer/co-executive producer of ABC’s Grey's Anatomy, and co-creator of Marvel Comics Young Avengers
“Fun to read! Every page has word-play, a pun, or clever dialogue that makes me giggle, and the story is full of insight into life. The characters have great names and come to life and stimulate the imagination. Andrew is such a gifted storyteller; this book will be a treasure to both children and adults.”
–James Bryan Smith, author of Room of Marvels; Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven, and Embracing the Love of God; co-author of Devotional Classics with Richard J. Foster
“What a great story! I laughed, gasped, and learned more about Skreean culture than I ever thought possible. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is equal parts adventure and whimsy–a real page turner that both accelerates the heart and warms it. I loved it.”
–Carolyn Arends, singer/songwriter and author of Wrestling with Angels
“Sometimes, in order to find out who we were supposed to be, we need to get lost in other worlds: Oz, Camelot, Narnia. In On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Andrew Peterson provides new and needed places like Aerwiar, Skree, and Glipwood–places where we need to get lost and found.”
–Michael Card, author of The Hidden Face of God and The Parable of Joy, and singer/songwriter of more than thirty albums
“Totally fun! Andrew Peterson, a natural storyteller in the oral tradition, has nailed the voice needed to translate a rip-roaring fantasy tale to the written page.”
–Donita K. Paul, author of DragonSpell, DragonKnight, DragonQuest, and DragonFire
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Top customer reviews
Initially, the author's whimsical sense of humor (which I eventually came to enjoy) can give the impression that these stories aren't written with the same kind of gravitas as Narnia. But by the end of the series, I found these books to be thematically even richer than Narnia, which is my favorite piece of literature for all time.
There are not many overt spiritual references, but there are many powerful themes that any Christian will recognize. Among these are . . .
- looking forward to a Kingdom and homesickness for heaven
- drawing strength and courage from our identity in Christ
- there are many powerful metaphors for ministry, for shining as lights in a dark world and rescuing people from enemy-occupied territory
- empathy for others, including enemies
- fighting with our sinful nature. We have many noble aims but we can be our own worst enemies
- being attracted to inner beauty and strength of character vs. only outer beauty
- God taking our deepest wounds and turning them into something beautiful, using them for good and to help us empathize with others
I'm 31 years old, and I found myself moved to tears by the Wingfeather Saga on several occasions. It spurred me on in my faith and helped me to fix my eyes on Christ. It helped give me courage to run the race. If I were a parent, I would love to read this with my children and discuss the meaning of each chapter. I think it would be quite character-building.
Getting into the early pages is more than a bit disorienting. Like Middle Earth, we have humans and other creatures cohabiting in a war torn land. Unlike Middle Earth, the names are goofy and seem like a long series of smart jokes. It was enormously helpful for me to know that Mr. Peterson intended this to be the "vastness of Lord of the Rings" with the "whimsey of the Princess Bride". I tend to prefer more serious character sketches but once I allowed myself to get into the style, I found that it actually works really well.
"Oh, yes, the people of Skree were quite free, as long as they were in their homes by midnight. And as long as they bore no weapons, and they didn’t complain when their fellow Skreeans were occasionally taken away across the sea, never to be seen again. But other than the cruel Fangs and the constant threat of death and torture, there wasn’t much to fear in Skree."
It is clear from the introduction that we have an oppressed people who are living a shadow of real life. We know right away that this is a story about good versus evil and that the characters we are about to fall in love with are suffering.
The first portion of the book uses humor and quirkiness to reveal this tension. Like any good epic, this home setting is peppered with questions about identity, purpose and intention. The characters are sketched with the promise that they will be filled in as we go - but that they themselves still have much to learn about their history and how that will reveal their future. It is a very good setup and the layers are pulled back slowly.
The quirkiness dissipates when the hero struggle begins to emerge. We still have weird names and strange creatures with goofy tendencies, but those become servants of the text instead of the focus once the children are in jail.
What I found particularly rewarding about this text is that is does not hold back on the need for people to behave in heroic ways even when it may cost them everything. There aren't many cheap saves or easy outs. This is a dark and dangerous culture war and it requires character, love, faith and hope to survive.
The family context is gorgeous. It is so authentic. All of the normal family battles are present but they are met with love and loyalty and faith. Faith in each other and in The Maker and His providence.
An excellent first book in a series that I can't wait to unpack.
I would rate the intensity of this book as being on par with the early Harry Potter books or The Hobbit. More intense and mildly violent than Narnia or The Green Ember but just as moral, wholesome and heroic. In fact, there are a number of things in the text which remind me of the HP books. There is no witchcraft or wizardry but there are mythical creatures who are otherworldly and there are some questions about one character who was human and is now somehow altered. Classic fantasy type of stuff.
Like The Green Ember, a new book with an old soul.
Okay, i read every night to my boys (almost every night anyway). When it comes to books that are fun to read, funny and give a chance for me to give moral insights and teachable moments, nothing matches this series.
Andrew Peterson is a Christian recording artist. He is under the radar for the most part, since he singer/song writer and more chill in singer than "jump up and down concert-y." But he is a legit talent. Check out his Chirstamsn stuff. But his talent, I think, is best in writing.
He says he would read the chapters to his kids and scratch the content if they fell asleep. I believe it, my boys are constantly asking for "one more chapter" when we read this.
The style of the book is more everyday than magical but it's magical. The magic is seen more as the story goes on with healing water and untold fun stuff (not spoil anything) that comes out as they story progresses.
The three Igiby's live in a small town that only gets visits once a year for the Dragon Day festival. The town is really held captive by these lizard men, that drip poison from their fangs. Until something happens. From there the journey of the family clinging together is full of fun. You are the edge ofyour seat, laugh at Andrew's wit and let wondering why are these Jewels from the mysterious Anniera causing so much trouble.
Podo the one legged Pirate (who for me sounds Irish but apparently Peterson thinks has an Oxford brogue) is very funny. The kids are likable and full of sibling mischief and joy. Peet the Sock man, Oscar and Nia fill out the cast against the villan called Gnag the Nameless and his Fangs from Dang.
The fourth and final book is due out soon due to the immensely successful KickStarter campaign. The final installment will have Andrew Peterson himself reading and some really fun art work. Definitely a great read and a family favorite in my house.