Wednesday, September 11, 2019

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

From Amazon:
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.

This series has been on my to-read list for a long time. While I first fell in love with the music of Andrew Peterson, this first book also brings out another side of his art life. Though primarily a story for children, Andrew Peterson writes in a way that delights readers of all ages. I love the creativeness in his fantasy elements. Things like real-life treehouses, toothy cows (which are actually quite dreadful), Fangs, clever names for places, socks for hands, and an annual festival that carries more adventure than meets the eye.

Andrew Peterson clearly marks good from bad. This is a key element that seems to be missing from many books today, and I'm grateful for the clarity in even a children's book. The Black Carriage carries a nameless fear with it. The Fangs of Dang represent a wicked authority in the land of Glipwood, and the untold family pain also holds sadness of its own. Good comes in the form of a little dog named Nugget, a wise grandfather's counsel, and the humor that perhaps only adults would pick up on.

I love how Peet the Sock Man's story is woven into the Igiby family's history. While reading it, I was reminded of the people who suffer from disabilities/special needs or mental health struggles. Peet and Leeli share a special connection (one which isn't always seen as a good thing by other family members) because of their physical limitations.

I think it's amazing how Peterson's talent for writing songs comes across in his characters, descriptions, and story-telling. He writes truth inside the funny, and lessons come from places least expected. There are so many secrets and the edge of danger is always present in the Igiby's travels, yet they grow together as a family and also as individuals. I really want to keep reading this series!

*I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions are my own. 

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