Thank you to Waterbrook and Multnomah for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (Wingfeather Saga 1) by Andrew Peterson
Rerelease Date: March 10th 2020
Tags: Middle Grade / Fantasy / Christian Fiction / Christian Fantasy / Family / Siblings / Loyalty / Faithfulness / Disabled character
Trigger/Content Warnings: Albeism
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.
Oh I had such high hopes for this rereleased middle grade. Unfortunately it just could not quite live up to it.
On the Edge can be considered a Christian fiction. While the religion is not mentioned at all it is clear that it does take from the Christian religion. The start of the book starts with the creation and that screamed Adam and Eve to me. But more than that there are a lot of references to the maker (but no religion of specifics mentioned). As well as the themes of sacrifice, faithfulness etc and the squeaky clean nature of it all.
One of the first things that struck me about this book is the use of footnotes. I do not recall having seen footnotes in middle grade before. Footnotes are an acquired taste in adult fiction so to put something like that in a middle grade book is daring to say the least. I also don’t think it worked at all. As an adult I found them particularly uninteresting to read as they felt very dry in tone. Offering some information but referring to things and books we often didn’t know anyway. You can easily skip them though. You will not miss anything relevant to the story.
Adding on to that, the book has a rather slow build up. It says it is an action adventure story but the action portion was rather small in comparison to the page count. And at a lot of points I think communication between the children and adults could have moved the story better forward instead of what we got.
Some kids could be appealed by this of course. However I notted my rating below 3 stars because of the treatment of one of the characters. Peet, a side character, seems to have mental health problems and a disability. The town treats him bad. But even more so, the main characters treat him bad. As if he is stupid when he has shown clearly that he is smart by the things that he does and has created for himself. It left a bad taste in my mouth. And even when he rescued his children 3 times over, the grandfather still couldn’t even bother to say thank you.
So all in all this is not a book I would recommend very easily for a middle grade reader.