The Wingfeather Saga: A Briefish Overview (Day 2)

A boy who longs for freedom and adventure, who lives under an oppressive regime, who does not truly know who he is. A journey to strange lands full of strange creatures, one that is simultaneously a journey to discover the past and to shape the future. Beauty, tragedy, and wonder. Coming of age. Dragons, mysterious songs, fallen kings, and a nameless shadow across the sea.

The Wingfeather Saga is a story I have read a thousand times … and one I have never read before.

That is true in more ways than one. For one thing, I have never before read a kingly fantasy that was full of fearsome toothy cows, footnotes, hilariously dull quotations (in the words of one famous figure, “How awful”), and villains with names like “the Fangs of Dang,” and other things calculated to make readers howl with laughter even as they chuckle nervously over the prospect of actually encountering a toothy cow or a Fang of Dang. There is a great deal of whimsy and self-aware humor in this particular saga.

But it is also true in that Andrew Peterson (who is also a recording artist and the sketcher of his own “Creaturepedia,” making it clear why, in this fictional world, music, writing, and art are the only three subjects worth studying — sorry, scientists and mathematicians) has taken the old standbys of every great fantasy journey and made them new in all the ways that count. His prose is masterful, his characters are individuals, and his plotting will keep you turning pages even if so many of its themes feel warmly familiar.

As a child, I’m quite sure I would have loved this series. And in fact, being a grown-up hasn’t lessened my enjoyment any. These books are light reading (I do so much heavy reading that they’re a welcome break), but they are not “light” in the sense of inconsequential. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness kicks the story off as Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby run afoul of the Fangs of Dang and begin to discover that there is more to their world — and themselves — than they ever dreamt of. In North! Or Be Eaten, the Igibys head for the Ice Prairies to escape their enemies, but find that the darkness inside of themselves may prove to be just as dangerous.

The Monster in the Hollows is Book 3, and I’ll offer a full review tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out the rest of the series, or have a look around the tour (links in yesterday’s post) to see how other CSFFers are liking the third installment.







5 responses to “The Wingfeather Saga: A Briefish Overview (Day 2)”

  1. […] you need to catch up, I’ve written about the Wingfeather Saga here and here. Andrew is a prolific singer-songwriter as well as a writer, and his work is always marked […]

  2. Rachel Avatar

    Sarah, that’s exactly it. It takes quite a bit of natural ability to do that successfully (plus hard work, of course)!

  3. […] ? Sarah Sawyer ? ? Chawna Schroeder Tammy Shelnut Kathleen Smith ? Donna Swanson ? ? Rachel Starr Thomson ? Robert Treskillard ? Fred Warren ? Phyllis Wheeler Nicole […]

  4. Sarah Sawyer Avatar

    One of the things I most appreciated about this series was Andrew’s ability to weave humor and deep meaning together. You may smile, even laugh, at some of the delightful absurdities while reading (particularly in the first book), but afterwards you’re left with something of worth to ponder.

  5. Rebecca LuElla Miller Avatar

    An excellent overview of the series, Rachel. Light but not light. That about sums it up!


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