I don’t usually review fiction. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction. I do, but I can’t say I have ever been compelled to review a story… until now. I finished the third book in Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga weeks ago, but I continue to be haunted by its scenes.
I was first introduced to Peterson through his music. He is a soulful and honest musician/songwriter. I connect so deeply to the authenticity in his music that a handful of his tune have found their way onto my playlist of songs that speak to my soul. If you are unfamiliar with his music, check out Deliver Us or Silence of God.
Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga is a tale in the tradition of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles. It is the story of three children who discover they are heirs to the throne of a faraway land. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness focuses on the discovery of their true identities and the enemy’s discovery of their presence. North! Or Be Eaten follows their flight from and struggle with evil. It is full of heartbreaking moments of treachery, pain, loneliness and failure to resist evil. It contrasts the arch of one brother learning to embrace his identity and another fleeing from it. A Monster in the Hollows is a tale of sacrifice, pain, transformation and most of all a story of redemption. Overarching the entire saga is the beautiful theme of grace and restoration.
As he does in his music, Peterson has no problem engaging emotions and relationships in a deep and authentic way in the Wingfeather Saga. The story is told from the perspective of the eldest child, Janner, and so we get a full taste of his struggles and messy emotions, his frustration and sadness about not knowing his father, his anger at his brother’s impulsiveness, and even the disappointment he feels with himself when he realizes that his attitude toward his brother is no better than that of the people who seem to hate him. Janner is an imperfect hero, and this authenticity is the very reason the reader can engage and identify with him on a deep level.
I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling key plot points, but these books get progressively more and more tragic. The depths of tragedy, however, are offset with even greater depths of grace and redemption. There have only been a few times when a book has moved me to tears and Monster in the Hollows did so twice. Even recounting these scenes to my wife brought me to tears. If you are looking for a good read, please pick up these books. You will not be disappointed.