March 21, 2008

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness BLOG REVIEW

andrew peterson recruited some people with blogs to read and review his new book, and i was picked as one of them! if you know me and my almost obsession with AP's music, forget all about that, and read this with new eyes. and then go order and read the book! you're gonna love it!

Have you ever anticipated that something you were about to experience was going to be excellent, just to have it turn around and exceed those expectations? It happened to me when I visited Disney World for the first time a little over a year and a half ago (i.e., the exhaustive technical expertise, superior customer service, and almost overwhelming attention to detail). When I first sat down to read Andrew Peterson’s latest creation, Book One of "The Wingfeather Saga", On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, I knew I would like it. I suspected I might even love it. But I’m ashamed to say that I was not expecting it to be as excellent as it was. It definitely exceeded my expectations.

It’s hard to find words to explain Andrew’s novel. The subtitle says it’s an adventure filled with peril. Other reviewers have labeled it as "fun to read" and "wildly imaginative". These are all accurate depictions of what you will experience, and I would add that it is an absolutely brilliant story. It has so much engrossing creativity that I kept having to remind myself that the lands of Skree and Aerwiar were just storybook lands; that Fangs of Dang weren’t waiting in the center of town to arrest me; that Gnag the Nameless didn’t have a desire to hunt me down and finish me off. Through the pages of this excellent work, I found myself laughing out loud, wiping tears off of my cheeks, and actually throwing the book across the room when I reached the climax in the plot! Andrew’s writing style creates within you an emotional bond with the characters and makes you totally lose yourself in their world.

I was gripped from the very beginning. And not just from the clever and delightful introductions on the lands of Aerwiar and Skree and the Igiby cottage, where you learn of a Nameless Evil (named Gnag) that rules the Fangs of Dang, who suppress the Skreeans, including the Igiby family, who live a free life, "as long as they were in their homes by midnight."

In the very first chapter, I trembled right alongside Janner Igiby as he "lay trembling in his bed with his eyes shut tight" at the sound of the passing Black Carriage sent by Gnag the Nameless. His fears were heightened knowing that his brother and sister, Tink and Leeli, were asleep, leaving him alone in the dark. The thoughts that went through his mind, his imagination running utterly away from him, was very reminiscent of my thoughts as a young girl laying wide-eyed in my bed, wondering and shivering at every sound I heard. And as soon as my parents’ light, visible from the crack under my door, went out, my fears multiplied knowing I was the only one left awake in the house. But I never faced anything as perilous as the thought of being carried away by the Black Carriage and its shadowy driver, never to be seen again. But as the carriage passed by his window and continued down the street, Janner found comfort in the wagging tail of his little sister’s dog, Nugget, knowing that even just the dog was awake with him – a simple comfort that sent him quickly to sleep.

Andrew Peterson has long been my favorite songwriter. In fact, some have labeled him as one of the greatest songwriters of our time. His lyrics are captivating, encouraging, and sometimes even life-changing. (I first noticed Andrew’s music when a line from The Chasing Song caught my ear: "Well I realize that falling down ain’t graceful, but I thank the Lord that falling’s full of grace." I still cling to that prayer, even eight years later.) While On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness might not change your life, there are definitely lessons to take away from it. I won’t spoil things by telling you what you’ll walk away with. You’ll just have to read the book and add it to your favorites list. I certainly have.

You can order the book here for only $11.19!


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