Author: Andrew Peterson
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Published: 10 March 2020
Rating: 3 stars
“But other than the cruel fangs and the constant threat of death and torture, there wasn’t much to fear in Skree.”
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Waterbrook Press and NetGalley!
Janner Igiby, his brother, Tink, and their disabled sister, Leeli, are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that they love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang, who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice. The Igibys hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.
Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning. Extra features include new interior illustrations from Joe Sutphin, funny footnotes, a map of the fantastical world, inventive appendices, and fanciful line art in the tradition of the original Frank L. Baum Wizard of Oz storybooks.
My favourite thing about middle-grade fantasy books is the whimsical worlds and On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness ticks the box.
Janner, Tink and Leeli Igiby live in a little cottage on the outskirts of Glipwood with their mum, Nia, and grandfather. It all appears idyllic, if not for the cruel, lizard people called Fangs who now rule over Skree. They came from the across the Dark Sea of Darkness 9 years earlier. The Fangs rule with iron fist except for one day when people all across Skree come to Glipwood for the Dragon Day Festival. On this day, the Igiby children are allowed to go to the festival early without supervision. Janner has been tasked with looking after this bother and sister. It’s going well until the Fangs take Leeli. With this Janner learns what it means to do whatever it takes to keep his siblings safe.
I’m in awe with just how big and developed this world is — from its history, games, legends and strange creatures. We are eased into the world with two introductory chapters, which gives us enough history to understand how the Fangs got to Skree and why they are in charge. I adore the use of footnotes. It was a great way to include all the little everyday details without detracting from the narrative.
The story is told with a third omniscient perspective. While the story mostly unfolds from Janner Igbiy perspective but it does jump from different characters including some of the Fangs. For me, I would’ve preferred to stay with Janner and the rest of the Igiby’s for the whole narrative.
I feel there was a pacing issue and it was quite slow to start. While I was interested in the world, I did find myself losing interest at some point due to the lack of action. The action doesn’t pick up until halfway through. From then I was hooked into the story but I wish the action started earlier.
Overall, this was a fun fantasy read with a whimsical world. The last half of the book captured my attention and left of a cliffhanger I’m interested to pick up the sequel, North! Or Be Eaten to see what happens to the Igiby family.