Alright, before we get started, I’m gonna say what I say all the time: I don’t do middle grade.
But here I am, returning from the whimsical, adventurous shores. Having very much enjoyed my stay.
(and, if anyone’s wondering, it’s all Snifferblog‘s fault.)
- Author: Andrew Peterson
- Publisher: WaterBrook Press
- Year: 2008
- Genre vibe: Christian Young Reader Fantasy and Adventure
- At a Glance: Adventure! Peril! The dreaded Toothy Cows and malicious Fangs of Dang! A suspicious lack of actual things to do with a Dark Sea of Darkness? No matter! Boyish adventure saves the day.
I’ve got a few (okay, not a lot, but some) funny things to say about this book. It took me ages to finally decide to sit down and read it through. The writing was…not great. It took some imagination to get into.
Probably because, well. I’m a sixteen year old, very much into gritty teen urban fantasy girl. Not exactly the target audience for this particular book.
But somehow I ended up caring with my whole heart for these boys and their sister, and I don’t even know how it happened. I’m not very much into the “whimsy” movement, of sorts. The people that swear up and down that childlike whimsy is the absolute purpose for story. I love that those people exist, of course, but they aren’t me. Somehow, though, Andrew Peterson drew me into his whimsy for two hundred and seventy/nine pages.
I think it was the atmosphere. I think it was because even though I read nothing like this, ever, this one was memorable somehow. It was also probably a little because I got it from a good friend. But all in all, this book did what books aim to do: it made me care.
And I think that, in how simple that was–that theme, actually–that was what I loved about it. I didn’t know why I cared, and I didn’t care why I cared. I just cared. A lot. A heck of a lot. And that made me laugh, and made me cry, and helped me overlook (slightly) the oddness and things that made me stumble.
Simple themes are the best themes, and this book nailed it.
Something it did not quite hit the bull’s eye on, however, was the writing.
There was lots of text, everywhere, and lots more description, and while the footnotes were engaging and humorous, they weren’t always on point. The world seemed like a big part of the story, but the writing did little to pull me into it. The dialogue was…
It did this strange thing where it didn’t seem bad when I read it, but now I find myself having a hard time remembering if anyone ever really, truly used their voices. Which makes me think that what dialogue there was wasn’t really that great.
Food for thought.
Character-wise, everyone was really cool. But the head-hopping and lack of distinctive voices was something that threw me off from time to time.
Overall, though, I enjoyed myself. I’ll continue with the rest of the series and I’ll allow it the grains of salt it requires from me, and continue enjoying myself.
- Rating: This is a really hard book to rate, so I’m not even gonna try.
- Recommended to: Fans of humor and adventure and the like
- Lasting impression: The quiet ring of truth in an empty space.