The best feature of Andrew Peterson's On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is probably its emphasis on family unity. The Igibies stick together, and it isn't just out of tackiness. It would be nice if they had a bit more respect for each other, but on the whole it's like the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie, only with giant, homicidal, reptilian humanoids. Despite her walking handicap, Leeli is prone to wander off, and she generally does it much faster than her brothers can handle despite their superior running speed. But they always go looking for her and try to protect her against whatever she's encountered.
The humor is the second-best feature. (I know you thought I'd say it was best; consider this an early April Fool.) Humor of this sort is tricky, and some gags work better than others. The footnotes are a bit overdone, for example, but the book references generally succeed, especially those involving Oskar Reteep, my favorite character. One of the best examples occurs when Janner and Tink are helping Oskar sort some new books. They read off the title and author, and Oskar tells them where to file the book:
"The Sound of Sidgebaw, by...Riva Twotoe," Tink read.
"Ah, a fine work. Very rare. File under SITTING UTENSILS, there in the corner, see?" Oskar said.
"I Came and I Wept Like the Sissy I Am, by Lothar Sweeb," Janner said.
"Sweeb, Sweeb...yes, a mediocre talent, but very prolific. File under BACON SONGS, just behind the lampstand there."
"Bonked[,] by Phiksam Ponkbelly."
"GARDENING. Excellent book." (p. 76)
There's also some good suspense. In fact, sometimes a little too good: there's a scene (perhaps two) near the end that will probably be a bit much for younger readers, though all ends well. I'd go into more detail, but I don't want to ruin any surprises. If I do anyway, I'll join Oskar in saying, "In the words of the famed shoe burglar Hanwyt Moor, 'I'm so sorry. It won't happen again.'" (p. 140)
Tomorrow: the problems and my final recommendation for or against.
Other links that are probably more informative:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
1 year ago