Book Review: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a delightful and whimsical tale about the Igiby children and their troubles with the evil Fangs who have taken over their homeland of Skree. It is part Tom Sawyer, part Phantastes, and conveys a strong sense of the importance of family. The main characters are noble, peace-loving folk who at the outset seem resigned to their fate of living beneath the reign of the Fangs. But as the story progresses it becomes more and more clear that they will not be allowed to continue on with their lives and the children, especially the two older brothers slowly begin to unravel the truth about the Fangs and the events which led them to conquer the pastoral lands of Skree.
The pace is a bit slow through the beginning and middle and the fantastical elements remain in the background until about the second half of the novel. The initial run-in with the Fangs seemed a bit forced, but the story quickly moves on and this is a minor grievance. As things move along, the author weaves in bits and pieces about the world of Anniera through footnotes and asides that are generally told in a humorous tongue and cheek manner. Some of these jarred me from the story somewhat and made it seem too much like a tall tale and not enough like a tangible world that the Igiby’s would live in. So the tone, while adding originality and zest to the prose, at times worked against the larger story the author was inviting us to follow.
By the end, however, the story finally takes over the book and provides for a sweeping, more epic feel towards the finish. Peterson is a unique story-teller and his voice is well worth listening to. I throughly enjoyed the overall tale that was told and look forward to reading the next book in the series.