The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson

For those of you not following along, I’m reading the Wingfeather Saga to mark the release of new collectable hardcover editions being released this year.

And so we come to the much anticipated final book in the series: The Warden and the Wolf King:

All winter long, people in the Green Hollows have prepared for a final battle with Gnag the Nameless and the Fangs of Dang. Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli are ready and willing to fight alongside the Hollowsfolk. But when the Fangs make the first move and invade Ban Rona, the children are separated.

Janner is alone and lost in the hills; Leeli is fighting the Fangs from the rooftops of the city; and Kalmar, who carries a terrible secret, is on a course for the Deeps of Throg. Monsters and Fangs and villains lie between the children and their only hope of victory in the epic conclusion of The Wingfeather Saga.

Perhaps not surprisingly given the continued improvement book to book, I found book four a satisfying conclusion to the series. It was a happy ending of sorts but not without some serious sacrifice. Quests, epic battles, twists and turns and some resolution (but not everything tied up in a neat bow).

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The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson

For those of you not following along, I’m reading the Wingfeather Saga to mark the release of new collectable hardcover editions being released this year.  Specifically, books three and four being released today, October 6.

As I noted with book 2, the books seems to be getting better as we go. I enjoyed On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, and found the second half of the book more engaging than the first, and that pattern continued with North! or Be Eaten.

And that pattern continued with The Monster in the Hallows.

Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby, the Lost Jewels of Anniera, are hiding from Gnag the Nameless in the Green Hollows, one of the few places in the land of Aerwiar not overrun by the Fangs of Dang. But there’s a big problem. Janner’s little brother–heir to the throne of Anniera–has grown a tail. And gray fur. Not to mention two pointed ears and long, dangerous fangs. To the suspicious folk of the Green Hollows, he looks like a monster.

But Janner knows better. His brother isn’t as scary as he looks. He’s perfectly harmless. Isn’t he?

Each book builds on the previous; more history revealed, more surprises, more depth to the characters, etc.

Peterson continues to balance a focus on the inner lives of the children, Janner in particular, with the history and myth of Anniera. He adds in secondary characters that help flush out the details and color of the world he has built but also keeps readers on their toes with twists and turns.

The last third of this book in particular is pretty intense as the action and intrigue ratchets up. Things are barrelling towards the fourth and final book.

As I have said before, great series for young readers and particularly a read out loud or audiobook to share as a family.  But something adults can enjoy too.

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

Despite listening to the audio book in 2016 I never went ahead and read the whole Wingfeather Saga series. With new editions coming out in 2020 I decided to go back and start from book 1: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson spins a quirky and riveting tale of the Igibys’ extraordinary journey from Glipwood’s Dragon Day Festival and a secret hidden in the Books and Crannies Bookstore, past the terrifying Black Carriage, clutches of the horned hounds and loathsome toothy cows surrounding Anklejelly Manor, through the Glipwood Forest to mysterious treehouse of Peet the Sock Man (known for a little softshoe and wearing tattered socks on his hands and arms).

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness presents a world of wonder and a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to discuss for its layers of meaning about life’s true treasure and tangle of the beautiful and horrible, temporal and eternal, and good and bad.

It held up well. While it is obviously a series for children, it is still an imaginative and engaging series with interesting characters and quality world building.  Plus, there is just enough whimsy and humor to make it fun but not hokey.

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Tiny Infinities by J.H. Diehl

I don’t even remember why I wanted to read Tiny Infinities.  Given my book addiction, I stumble across books from a wide variety of sources and rarely remember weeks later why I put something on a list.  But I requested it from Libby and when it became available I borrowed it and started reading it almost immediately. I am glad I did.

Tiny Infinities Book Cover
Tiny Infinities Middle Grade Chronicle Books Kindle 352 pages Libby

When Alice’s dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family’s old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team’s record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school’s science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice’s best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute–until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice’s determination to prove herself–as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person–rings loud and true.

 

It turned out to be exactly the palate cleanser type read I needed (I’m juggling some more serious works and just finished a thriller type and wanted something different).

It had great characters and an interesting plot; despite really being about the lead character Alice. It has a sort of after school special storyline that I often seek to avoid, divorce and its impact on kids, but the writing is so well done and the lead character held my attention. Perhaps, as a child of divorce I could relate. But Diehl really captures the feelings of family, friendship, summer and the awkwardness as you move from childhood to adulthood and seemingly get caught halfway between.

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