26 August 2009

Book Banter -- On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Title: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (Wingfeather Saga, bk 1)
Author: Andrew Peterson
Genre: fantasy
Length: 279 pages
Plot Basics: In the town of Glipwood, the Igiby family -- one-legged, ex-pirate grandfather Podo, his calm and collected daughter Nia and her three children, Janner, Tink and Leeli -- live a simple life under the shadow of the rule of the Fangs of Dang. But when the famous Dragon Day festival rolls around again, the three children are granted a chance to explore the town alone and enjoy the day. Leeli goes missing (after her trusty dog Tink) setting off a series of encounters between the Igiby children and the Fangs and starting them down a path that will change their lives forever.
Banter Points: Word Nerd first picked this book up back when it came out. And she never read it... it seemed too silly, too much for kids at the time. But then she got herself lined up for the blog tour about Andrew Peterson's second book, the sequel to Dark Sea (Come back on Sept. 14!) and she figured she'd better read the first one.

And she's really glad she did. Peterson, in addition to being one of Word Nerd's favorite singer/songwriters, has an ear for storytelling and creating an engaging world and endearing characters. The Igiby children are resourceful and emotional and creative and still ring true to being children. Moreover, Peterson infuses the book with tongue-twister names, side-splitting footnotes and a litany of strange creatures (from toothy cows to cave blats) that make the book endearing.
Bummer Points: This is Word Nerd's pet peeve, but she was really bummed when suddenly, in the middle of the book, there were a couple of chapters from the POV of the commander of the Fangs. While it helped set up some of the big reveal at the end, Word Nerd bets there would have been another way to do that without breaking away from the POVs of the Igiby children.
Word Nerd Recommendation: This is a great read-aloud book for parents and kids. After reading the Chronicles of Narnia and before Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings, the Wingfeather Saga should get a place in the list of "great fantasy books that capture kids' imagination." And for grown-up kids, it's a heart-warming read that makes you remember what make believing is all about.

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