Review–The Wingfeather Saga

Titles: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or Be Eaten, The Monster in the Hollows, The Warden and the Wolf King

Series: The Wingfeather Saga

Author: Andrew Peterson

Genre: Christian Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

Overview: How have I just now read this series? I found it while browsing Amazon once, and my interest was further piqued when I learned Angel Studios is adapting it for a TV show. I finally found the series in my local library and knew the time had come to give it a read. And in the words of Larry the Cucumber, “I laughed, I cried; it moved me, Bob.”

Characters: I love every one of the characters in this series. They’re all so quirky in their own way and each equally lovable. (Except, of course, for those we aren’t supposed to love…) The siblings’ relationships are remarkably well done, especially the dynamic between Janner and Tink/Kalmar. We need more brother relationships like theirs in fiction. I wish there was more of the story from Leeli’s perspective; she doesn’t feel quite like a real character until the last book, when she finally gets her fair share of page time. Janner and Kalmar constantly shine the brightest, though, being so painfully real in every aspect. I related so strongly to Janner; I feel simultaneously intensely sorry for and beyond proud of that boy.

Content: The series does grow progressively darker. In the first book, there’s not much to worry about besides name-calling and the fact that the evil Fangs come from the land of “Dang.”

The second book, though, begins to veer into the darker side of things. A key point of the plot is that children are being kidnapped by the evil Fangs, and we learn that some of them are enslaved and forced to work in a weapons factory. Some of the things that happen here might be disturbing to younger readers.
In another potentially frightening sequence, we see how some Fangs are created. This also involves children.
There are numerous fights throughout the series, and no character gets away without an injury.

In terms of theme, the series deals with a lot of deep things, like guilt and hatred. That hatred manifests itself in prejudice and eventually actions that might be a little much for younger, sensitive readers.

There’s not much in the way of romance. A few characters develop crushes. A couple shares a kiss.

Writing: I love Peterson’s writing style! He delights in making fun of the genre with his satirical footnotes and cheesy songs. Parents will find to laugh at in the series (especially in the first book), while kids and adults alike will lose themselves in the fascinating story and poignant themes.
In the first book, the story does drag a bit. The plot seems a bit jumbled, almost as if Peterson wasn’t quite sure where he was going with it. But the second book snatches your attention and holds it in a firm grip all the way to the end of the series. The quality of Peterson’s writing increases with each installment, and the ending reads almost like an epic.

Summary: This series is filled with deep themes and powerful messages. Some of it is heavy, such that parents might want to preview it for their younger kids. But readers of this series will come away with a deeper understanding of God’s incredible power to redeem and the depths of His sacrificial love, while also being entertained by the endlessly witty imagination of Andrew Peterson. I highly recommend this to anyone aged 10+.

Read my full review of each book:

<a href="http://<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46042619-on-the-edge-of-the-dark-sea-of-darkness&quot; style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga #1)" src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1566419187l/46042619._SX98_.jpg&quot; /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46042619-on-the-edge-of-the-dark-sea-of-darkness">On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/746724.Andrew_Peterson">Andrew Peterson</a><br/> My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2487293890">3 of 5 stars</a><br /><br /> Overview: How have I just now read this series? I found it while browsing Amazon once, and my interest was further piqued when I learned Angel Studios is adapting it for a TV show. I finally found the series in my local library and knew the time had come to give it a read. This first installment is cute, hilarious, and something any parent would be comfortable having on their child’s bookshelf.<br /><br />Characters: The Igiby family is so quirky and adorable! Janner is a great protagonist, wanting so badly to be a man while still clinging to the freedoms of childhood. Tink is a sweetheart; I relate strongly to his fear of heights. Bless him. And Leeli is so feisty and strong-willed and so cute at the same time! Podo is my favorite, with his wild stories and piratey accent. And Nia deserves some more page time; she’s so devoted to her family and is quick on her feet. The maggotloaf incident is the best!<br /><br />Content: There’s not much to worry about here. Some of the characters call each other names. The evil Fangs are from a place called “Dang.”<br /><br />Writing: I love Peterson’s writing style! He delights in making fun of the genre with his satirical footnotes and cheesy songs. Parents will find to laugh at in this book, while their kids will lose themselves in the fascinating story.<br />I will say that the story drags in a few places. I’m 90% sure Peterson doesn’t believe in outlining; things seem a bit jumbled and random at times, but in the end, it all comes together well.<br /><br />Summary: This was such a cute story, one that I would have adored as a child. Though I found it too late in life, it’s definitely going on my list for my future children’s bookshelf. Parents can hand this to their kids aged 10+ without any qualms. <br/><br/> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/83070992-m-c">View all my reviewsOn the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness | <a href="http://<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46042620-north-or-be-eaten&quot; style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="North! or Be Eaten (The Wingfeather Saga #2)" src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1580194371l/46042620._SX98_.jpg&quot; /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46042620-north-or-be-eaten">North! or Be Eaten</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/746724.Andrew_Peterson">Andrew Peterson</a><br/> My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2487293923">4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br /> Overview: This being the second book in <i>The Wingfeather Saga</i>, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect going into it: fun sibling relationships, a host of outlandish creatures, and fantasy satire at its best. The book more than delivered on all of those aspects. The first book was charming, but this one was just straight up <i>good</i>.<br /><br />Characters: The Igiby children are once more the stars of this story. I enjoyed seeing them develop and grow in their own ways, especially Janner (whose POV we get the majority of the time). The siblings’ relationships are remarkably well done, especially the dynamic between Janner and Tink. We need more brother relationships like theirs in fiction.<br />I can’t say much about my favorite character due to the spoilers that would thereby abound, but let me just say: THE WINGS. You can figure out what I mean when you read the book for yourself. <br /><br />Content: This one does veer into the darker side of things. A key point of the plot is that children are being kidnapped by the evil Fangs, and we learn that some of them are enslaved and forced to work in a weapons factory. Some of the things that happen here might be disturbing to younger readers. <br />In another potentially frightening sequence, we see how some Fangs are created. This also involves children.<br />There are numerous fights throughout the book, and no character gets away without an injury. The Fangs are said to shrivel into dust when they’re killed.<br /><br />Writing: Peterson definitely took the writing level up a notch in this second installment. The story grabbed my attention from the beginning, and I was constantly looking forward to finishing my work so I could read a little more. His unique sense of humor remains, but this book is definitely more serious than its predecessor, dealing with difficult themes like jealousy and guilt.<br /><br />Summary: If I wasn’t invested in the saga before, I absolutely am now. Sometimes, I forgot I was reading a children’s book; the themes are so deep and the writing so eloquent that this could easily be a YA book. I highly recommend this to anyone aged 10+. <br/><br/> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/83070992-m-c">View all my reviewsNorth! Or Be Eaten | <a href="http://<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49892835-the-monster-in-the-hollows&quot; style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="The Monster in the Hollows (The Wingfeather Saga #3)" src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1589834721l/49892835._SX98_.jpg&quot; /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49892835-the-monster-in-the-hollows">The Monster in the Hollows</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/746724.Andrew_Peterson">Andrew Peterson</a><br/> My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2487293958">5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br /> Overview: Wow. Just… wow. I was greatly impressed by the second book in this series and didn’t think it could get much better than that. This, the third book, kindly proved me wrong. This one has a little bit of everything: tense relationships, bullies, guilt, and even a little romance. It kept me guessing and blew me away with the climax. Wow.<br /><br />Characters: I truly love these characters. Janner and Kalmar continue to shine the brightest, being so painfully <i>real</i> in every aspect. I related so strongly to Janner; I feel simultaneously intensely sorry for and beyond proud of that boy. I loved the development of everyone’s arc, and it was fun to see Nia in a new setting, as well. <br /><br />Content: This is a heavy book, as far as theme goes. It deals with a lot of deep things, like guilt and hatred. That hatred manifests itself in prejudice and eventually actions that might be a little much for younger, sensitive readers.<br />There’s more fighting in the book: sometimes swordfights, other times fistfights at school. A character is badly wounded, and the injuries are described (blood dripping from the nose, etc.).<br />Animals go missing around the village where the Wingfeathers are living, and their remains are later found. There’s some description of their blood and the cracking of their bones underfoot.<br /><br />Writing: The writing continues to be astounding. This one has fewer humorous moments, but that’s understandable given the serious nature of the story. Peterson presents a unique, achingly beautiful allegory of the consequences of sin and how God can redeem even our worst mistakes. It’s going to stick with me for a while.<br /><br />Summary: This book is filled with deep themes and powerful messages. Some of it is heavy, such that parents might want to preview it for their younger kids. But readers of this book will come away with a deeper understanding of God’s incredible power to redeem, while also being entertained by the endlessly witty imagination of Andrew Peterson. I would recommend this to mature readers aged 10+. <br/><br/> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/83070992-m-c">View all my reviewsThe Monster in the Hollows | <a href="http://<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50773231-the-warden-and-the-wolf-king&quot; style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="The Warden and the Wolf King" src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1602466871l/50773231._SX98_.jpg&quot; /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50773231-the-warden-and-the-wolf-king">The Warden and the Wolf King</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/746724.Andrew_Peterson">Andrew Peterson</a><br/> My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2487294017">4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br /> Overview: Gahhhhhhhhhhh, I hate it when a book makes me cry! It’s one of the most horrible, beautiful things a book can do. And this book definitely wins that award. What an incredible ending to the saga. In the words of Larry the Cucumber, “I laughed, I cried; it moved me, Bob.”<br /><br />Characters: The characters’ arcs come to their magnificent conclusion in this book. Janner has matured well, and I loved getting to see the different ways he manifests his role as a protector. I especially enjoyed getting to see more from Leeli’s perspective. She feels a lot more human in this book—though definitely not nine years old.<br /><br />Content: There are quite a few terrifying creatures in this book. Some of the descriptions might be a bit frightening for younger readers. But there’s really nothing in it that’s not in the previous two books, so if readers have made it this far, they should be fine.<br />There’s a big battle, with lots of death. A character is eaten (no details).<br />A couple shares a kiss.<br /><br />Writing: The writing is lovely in this final installment of the series. Sometimes it lapses into a more formal style, as if this were a history being told around a campfire by a wandering minstrel. It works quite well with the story! The narration does sometimes jump to an omniscient narrator, which is a little jarring, but you get used it. In terms of technicality, this one’s easily the most polished of the four.<br />That being said, though, the ending did drag on a bit. There are a good ten or more chapters between the climax and the actual ending, and while it’s all good stuff, it could have been condensed just a bit.<br /><br />Summary: This book gave me all the emotions. I was not expecting to cry at all, but lo and behold, I shed actual tears. It’s such a powerful illustration of sacrificial love and what that looks like. I highly recommend this series to anyone aged 10+. <br/><br/> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/83070992-m-c">View all my reviewsThe Warden and the Wolf King

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