Review of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
WaterBrook Press (March 18, 2008)
Andrew Peterson

Author/Singer/Songwriter Andrew Peterson, a 2005 Audie Award finalist for his readings of Ray Blackston’s Flabbergasted trilogy, wrote and produced the popular Christmas play and musical Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tale of the Coming of the Christ, and the album by the same name, which received the 2004 Best Album of the Year, World Christian Music’s Editors Choice Award. Andrew’s received critical acclaim for his seven albums and is at work on an eighth. He lives with his wife Jamie and their three young children near Nashville, Tennessee, where he reads storybooks aloud to his family each evening.

Artist Justin Gerard has illustrated several children’s books, including The Lightlings storybooks for young readers by R.C. Sproul. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and works as the chief creative officer for Portland Studios.

Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog Nugget. Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Andrew Peterson spins a quirky and riveting tale of the Igibys’ extraordinary journey from Glipwood’s Dragon Day Festival and a secret hidden in the Books and Crannies Bookstore, past the terrifying Black Carriage, clutches of the horned hounds and loathsome toothy cows surrounding AnkleJelly Manor, through the Glipwood Forest and mysterious treehouse of Peet the Sock Man (known for a little softshoe and wearing tattered socks on his hands and arms), to the very edge of the Ice Prairies.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness presents a world of wonder and a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to discuss for its layers of meaning about life’s true treasure and tangle of the beautiful and horrible, temporal and eternal, and good and bad.

“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

“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

On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness reminds me a little of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because once you step into the world of Aerwiar (pronounced “Here we are” with a silent “H”), you really are there. Andrew Peterson has so put so many witty details into this delightful story of three children and their dog. For instance, because they are living in a virtual slave state, the people of Aerwiar are required to complete a permission form to use a hoe. If you look in the back of the book, you’ll find a copy of the Permission to Use a Hoe form. And this isn’t some dry form, signed, dated and completed in triplicate. Just to let you see some of Peterson’s wit, here’s a bit of it,

“By signing this form, I also acknowledge the superiority of the Fangs … and when I say superiority, I mean drastic superiority, like in the way a bomnubble is superior to a meep …”

This is a hero’s quest, but it’s not at all predictable. There are twists and turns throughout this wildly imaginative tale. The children are real, not small adults. And the adults are not the addlepated idiots that you see on most children’s shows. (Yea!) The villians are delightfully gross and the heroes are surprisingly flawed – just like real life. (OK, maybe not all villians are gross, but if you were to look into their hearts, I’d expect that you’d see just the slithery, scaly, poison-dripping fanged creatures that Peterson describes.)

I suppose it is being marketed as a kid’s book, but I found myself thinking about it for days after I read it. If you have children, the chapters are short enough to read to them at bedtime. But, you’ll enjoy it as much as they will. In fact, I liked it so much that I couldn’t wait to get a free minute to read it. And then when I finished it, I was a little disappointed because it ended. I honestly hope this is going to be a series because I may have to buy the next installment … for my grandchildren, of course. (wink)

OK, I’ll stop gushing now…


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