The subtitle of Andrew Peterson’s fantastically fun young adult novel just about gives you all the invitation you need to read it: “Adventure, Peril, Lost Jewels, And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree.” You can see the thrills and silliness right there (if you’re stuck on what toothy cows are, stick no further).
I loved this book, despite its minor weaknesses which are minor. Peterson says he knew while writing this book that his sequel would be even better, and I fully believe him. This story of children running from goblin-like occupiers of their home country has plenty of serious thrills, and it’s built on a mythology that is completely silly. For example, the horrible conqueror in a distant land who ultimately commands all of the disgusting troops in Skree is “a nameless evil” called Gnag the Nameless. His evil minions are the Fangs of Dang, in that they have poisonous teeth and hail from the dark land of Dang. A popular sport described early in the book is handyball, “a delightful sport in which each team tries to get the ball into a goal without using their feet in any capacity, even to move,” meaning the players roll on the ground. That detail is delivered in one of many footnotes which sow threads of silliness through the pages. Many of the footnotes reference one of 24 imaginary books, like In the Age of the Kindly Flabbits by Jonathid Choonch Brownman, Taming the Creepful Wood by Rumpole Bloge, and Ready, Set, Chube! A Life in Gamery by B’funerous Hwerq.
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness records the story of the three Igiby children who are waking up to the oppression around them. They’ve never known life without the Fangs of Dang. One night, their dog gets them into a little trouble that quickly escalates into a life-and-death struggle. Soon enough, the whole family is running for their lives.
This is the first book in a series of at least three. The third Wingfeather Saga book was released this summer.