Original Books

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

I'm not sure a title as long as On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is very conducive to an author's professional reputation. But maybe Andrew Peterson isn't going for that. The overstatement in the title coincides with the fact that Andrew Peterson is a professional Silly Song writer. For those of you who don't know what a Silly Song is, it's a seemingly nonsensical ditty that appears on those Veggie Tales videos.
The Igiby family lives in the town of Glipwood in Skree, which is literally on the edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, in which dragons dance on Dragon Day.
Our story starts on one such Dragon Day, the only happy day the Skreeans get to celebrate. Ever since the Fangs of Dang, a lanf across the Dark Sea of Darkness, came and ravaged the land and took it over. The Fangs rule the towns with iron claws. A person can be arrested whenever a Fang feels like it.
Gnag the Nameless rules over Dang and has tried all his life to try to find the Jewels of Anniera, a greater civilization prior to the rule of Dang.
Perhaps the most original aspect of the book is where the jewels are located. This one even caught me by surprise. If you're going to have the heroes find the treasure, than surprise the reader. That's exactly what he did.
The setting is slightly original. I can't think of an alternate world with a government system like the dictatorship of Dang.
The downside of the book is Peterson doesn't do a very good job of masking his goofy nature. Maybe he wasn't trying to. But the reader is thrust into a world with just enough explanation to be acceptable and yet little enough to still feel isolated. There are numerous creatures unexplained throughout the book. The whole premise of the book is basically a children's tale, except that the book is nearly 300 pages long.
There is a major CRT at the end that helps to stop the death of an important character.
The characters aren't very good. They're just average.
Peterson approaches the book like a historical account he found, which accounts for the many footnotes that explain legends and other things not mentioned in this historical account.
At the end of the book, the plot takes an 180 degree turn that changes everything. The series is continued into North or Be Eaten!, which we will review as soon as possible.
All in all, the book is good, but could be better if Peterson cut down the silliness a little.
3 stars

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