Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree.
So the first book in Andrew Peterson’s The Wingfeather Saga is described on the front cover. And a good description it is, capturing the spirit of adventure and whimsy that characterizes the book.
Peterson has written a tale reminiscent in tone to JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. There are some intense moments, especially toward the end of the book, but, it never looses the spirit of playful humor. Even the “historical” footnotes add to the fun while adding to the depth of the world of Aerwiar. Quirky characters – such as Peet the Sock man, and strange creatures – like the dangerous toothy cows and cave blats – create the feeling you are reading a curious cross between Tolkien and Dr. Suess.
Janner Igiby is being stretched beyond his twelve years. He has lived all his life, as far as he can remember, in a country under the thumb of the cruel Fangs of Dang. The trouble his family will find will require him to pray to “the Maker” and trust his Grandfather like never before. Seemingly impossible odds must be overcome if the jewels of Anniera are to be protected. Janner and his younger siblings will have to learn why the jewels are so important, and will find out some amazing things about their world – and themselves – in the process.
If you are looking for good material for your children to read, you can feel good about putting this book into their hands. In A Note to Parents on the Wingfeather Saga website, Peterson shares why he has written this series.
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to write stories. I love stories, and thrill to an imagination on fire. I sat down in front of the blank page and let my imagination run wild, did my best to tell a story I would want to be told. If a reader is willing to trust me with a little of his or her imagination, I want to light it up with truth, and beauty, and goodness.
In order to share “truth, and beauty, and goodness” with the reader, Peterson says he has to be honest. That means showing the wickedness of the world – including the bad choices sometimes made by good characters. But he also wants to leave them with the peaceful knowledge that “there is a Great Good in the world (and beyond it).”
Gather all the wickedness in the universe into its loudest shriek and God hears it as a squeak at best. And that is a comforting thought. When a child reads the last sentence of my stories, I hope he or she drifts to sleep with a glow in their hearts and a warmth in their bones, believing that all shall be well…
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (2008) is the first book in the Wingfeather Saga, and is available at all the usual outlets. The second book, North! or Be Eaten, won the 2010 Christy Award for Young Adult Fiction, and will be reviewed here in the coming weeks. A third book, The Monster in the Hollows, is due out next spring. You can view the Wingfeather Saga website by clicking the following link: WingfeatherSaga.com.