Monday, March 24, 2008

CSFF Blog Tour: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness Day One

CSSF Blog Tour

This month we take a look at the tongue-twistingly entitled On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson.

I have to be honest, when I first read the title on the blog tour schedule, I had a sinking feeling about it. It seemed so redundant that I was a bit worried I was in for a stinker.

When I received my copy, I looked it over and the sinking feeling grew. I remember thinking The only way this title would work is if this is supposed to be a silly book.

So I cracked open the book to the first page: "A Brief Introduction to the World of Aerwiar." Reading how this mythical land received its name made me chuckle.

Moving on to the next section: "A Slightly Less Brief Introduction to the Land of Skree." That seemed a little weird and made me smile even more as I read about the geography of Skree and then its history.

Tucking that under my belt, I turned the page to discover: "An Introduction to the Igiby Cottage (Very Brief)." And as Peterson explained how the Igibys were all miserable in spite of the fact that they listened to wild tales from their grandfather, who enjoyed to smoke his pipe and so on, I felt much better about the title.

For this is, indeed, a very silly book.

That is by no means a complaint. Instead, it made the book extremely enjoyable. The story follows the three Igiby children, Janner, Tink, and Leeli, as they are caught up in a crazy adventure, pitting them against the dreaded Fangs of Dang, the minions of Gnag the Nameless (a delightful oxymoron if I ever saw one).

The story itself kept moving as the Igibys find themselves tumbling from one crisis to another, trying to figure out who they are and why the Fangs are so interested in their family. What connection do they have with long-destroyed Anniera? The humor definitely kept the plot moving and made for a fun read.

I only had two gripes about the book. First was the fact that I saw the "twist" coming about a hundred pages in. I don't want to go into too much detail lest I give it all away. Since this book seems to be geared for kids, though, that's understandable and acceptable.

Second were the footnotes. Peterson included notes about culture, history, songs, and other such matters all throughout the text. These notes, so far as I could tell, had little or nothing to do with the actual story. Perhaps they were intended as a humorous way to increase immersion, but they distracted me from the story. That's probably just me, but it did bug me.

But it's still a fun, quick read and sure to be a great story to share with your kids.

Be sure to check out what the others are saying on the tour:

Sally Apokedak
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Green
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Pamela Morrisson
Deena Peterson
Steve Rice
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Yeah, I wondered if others thought the "twist" was predictable. But you're right, John. Probably most middle graders wouldn't see it coming.

As to the footnotes, at first they made me chuckle, but then I thought they went on too much and did indeed distract. Finally I started ignoring them. Which probably means I was into the story and didn't want the distraction, so I guess that's a good thing.


Christopher Hopper said...


Great post. Liked your evaluation. I had similar reactions to his table of contents and it took me a little while to realize where he was going; in the end I thought it was brilliant.

I, however, enjoyed all the footnotes, but I suppose that's because I use them in my books, too. While mine actually benefit the reader in terms of needed knowledge for the story, I agree with you that he is using them more for immersion and added humor. But I liked them, nonetheless.

Thanks for posting our links!


Valerie Comer said...

I quit reading the footnotes pretty early on myself, but then, I'm not 12...and haven't been for quite awhile!

Fantasythyme said...

Okay, I'll admit,, I read did read the footnotes. Like a Monty Python skit I wasn't always sure where the author was going with some slightly related fact. This just adds to the silliness and some young readers will enjoy all the extra 'facts' along the way.


Michael A. Heald said...

I agree with your review. The ending was written for middle schoolers, the humor more for adults. Like the movie Shrek, in a way.

Michael A. Heald

Robert Treskillard said...

"Gnag the Nameless" ... you gotta love it! Thanks for sharing those tidbits with us who don't have the book yet...