Andrew Peterson is currently finishing the last volume in the Wingfeather Saga, a four-part fantasy series for young readers. I gave the first three volumes to my daughter for her birthday earlier this year:
- On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness: Adventure, Peril, Lost Jewels, and the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree. The Wingfeather Saga 1. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook, 2008.
- North! or Be Eaten: Wild Escapes, a Desperate Journey, and the Ghastly Fangs of Dang. The Wingfeather Saga 2. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook, 2009.
- The Monster in the Hollows: Sneakery, Betrayal, and the Deadly Secret of Chimney Hill. The Wingfeather Saga 3. Nashville: Rabbit Room, 2011.
I read all three aloud to my daughter, who also listened to the audiobooks for books 1 and 2. (Unfortunately, there’s currently not an audiobook for book 3.)
- Compelling storyline. I can’t recall ever finishing a chapter without my daughter begging me to keep reading. And the books get better and better. We finished book 3 last Sunday afternoon, and by the end of it we were emotionally invigorated and exhausted. At some points my daughter would hop off the couch and celebrate by jumping up and down while doing fist pumps with the widest smile possible. And at another point I could barely read aloud as I fought back tears. What a great story.
- Edifying themes. Themes include servant leadership, protecting the weak, courage, responsibility, loyalty, mercy, and love. I don’t think there are any objectionable elements (unlike Harry Potter), though I suppose some might object to the violent fighting. And the motifs are all edifying (like Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and The Pilgrim’s Progress). These books have increased my desire to love and lead my wife and children well. One of the recurring themes that my wife repeatedly pointed out is how adults treat children. (I’m not giving specific examples so that I don’t give away the storyline to people who haven’t read the books yet.) See Peterson’s “A Note to Parents.”
- Entertaining style. I wasn’t sure what I thought of the series when I was just starting book 1. My friend Jim Hamilton—a huge Andrew Peterson fan—asked me what I thought about it when I was just starting out, and I replied, “It’s a little over-the-top corny sometimes (especially the footnotes!), but overall it’s a thumbs-up.” But Andrew Peterson’s creative humor and style grew on me! (Now I think I better understand his humor in Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies!) I love this closing line in the author’s note in book 3: “The stories, by the way, are true” (p. 350).
One of my favorite lines is about Podo Helmer:
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)
My family is eager to read the fourth and final book in the series: The Warden and the Wolf King. It should release by Spring 2014.
For more info, see WingfeatherSaga.com.
Update: Book 4 will be available by Christmas! Details here.