Victoria Beech found a book she ‘couldn’t put down’ and now the whole family enjoy the series
The Wingfeather Saga
The book title: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
Author: Andrew Peterson
Publisher: Hodder Faith
Approximate cost: £7.99
Series: Book 1 of 4 in The Wingfeather Saga
Which age is this likely to be for? Primary
Overview. Epic fantasy adventure filled with brilliant character portrayals, awesome plot line with beautiful theology
What you liked I got the first book in this series, On the edge of the dark sea of darkness, from an online recommendation, and I wanted to check if it wasn’t too scary for my girls (ages 8 and 10). I got reading it at night, and couldn’t put it down! I decided it was probably a bit scary for them, but enjoyed it so much that I ended up finishing the book and getting book 2! While I was reading book 3, my girls discovered I was reading the series, and wanted to know about it. I read a few pages to them, without any spoilers.
I then came across the books on Audible, which we use in the car, and played them a sample (which you can do without buying the book).
They were immediately and completely hooked and insisted I buy the whole series!
We’ve been listening to them on EVERY car journey, no matter how short, and they have been loving them.
I love the combination of fantastic adventure, brilliant characters with real-life problems, deep emotional lives and truths buried in plain sight all over the place.
The dynamic between the three siblings is so real – lots of fights and disharmony! – and the love of their Mother and Grandfather is almost tangible! The ‘baddies’ are Fangs of Dang, which sound bad even without knowing what they are! And the top baddie is Gnag the Nameless, who we haven’t really met even though we’re in book 3!
I would recommend these to children who can cope with a bit of scary, but for families who want wholesome, truth-filled stories. They’re not for the faint-hearted, or for people wanting a family devotional style story, but they are wonderful books which would make a good present as well. They do talk about praying to The Maker a bit but otherwise are not overtly Christian while having masses of Christian and Biblical truth woven into the story in not-cringy ways.
There are many quotes I love, but this is one of my favourites and is about Podo Helmer, the grandfather of the three protagonists, who had hidden his shady past from his family until a time when circumstances compelled him to tell the truth about what he had done and who he had been. However, it didn’t have the impact that he had so long feared:
“He moved through the days in peace and wonder, for his whole story had been told for the first time, and he found that he was still loved. (North! or Be Eaten, p. 321)
Ahhh! Thank you Andrew Peterson for this wonderful line! And for your magnificent reading of the Audible version – I especially love Oscar N Reteep’s voice! If you’ve not tried these yet, I totally recommend you do!
What you didn’t like: The only thing I didn’t like is that there’s only four books. And then I discovered there are two more: Wingfeather Tales and Pembricks Creaturepedia. Joy!
Thoughts for parents: I totally recommend this book to Christian parents, as a gift for their own children or as a gift to a non-believing child, as the theology is very softly spoken, more through the values and tone of the book than any preaching in it. Much more subtle than Narnia… speaking of which, I came across this quote by Matt Hornby which I think sums up this book: “I’m a huge Tolkien fan, so I found the first book too light and jokey. But then the second book was almost as good as Narnia, and the third book was as good as Tolkien and had me in floods of tears by the end. Then in the fourth book, the absurdly talented Mr Peterson showed that all the seemingly jokey asides in the first book were essential parts of the plot all along! I would strongly recommend these books.”