On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

by Andrew Peterson
Series: The Wingfeather Saga #1
304 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jeanne

A fun, amusingly absurd fantasy with a little crude humor.


All their lives Janner Igiby has been told to look out for his two younger siblings, reckless Tink and crippled Leeli. He is tired of the responsibility; he wants to be free to roam the world, to get away from the town of Glipwood and the wicked Fangs of Dang who patrol it. But when the Nameless Terror (named Gnag) begins looking for the lost Jewels of Anniera, Janner's responsibility becomes more vital. The entire Igiby family is placed in danger for the sake of those lost jewels...but Janner has no idea what they are.


Gnag the Nameless is the evil force in the series, bent on destroying all that is good; but his minions, the Fangs of Dang, are the ones who directly cause trouble for the Igibys. Janner's mother stands out as the most noble of the characters, full of wisdom and trust in the Maker.

Janner and Tink disobey their mother several times in their quest for answers, but they are always punished in some way. Podo, Janner's grandfather, holds several grudges (one more severe than the other), but neither is condoned. At one point Janner is jealous of his younger brother, something that may be more fully resolved in the next books of the series.

Spiritual Content

The Maker is referred to several times and is obviously the God-figure; characters pray to him. The founding and history of Aerwiar is summarized.


Slarb, one of the Fangs, is obsessed with killing the Igibys and attempts to do so several times. An animal is speared in one wrenching scene. The Igiby children are knocked up by the Fangs several times and also come close to being eaten by hounds and, later, a Toothy Cow (native to Skree). The Black Carriage, a disgusting and frightening contraption used to carry unwilling victims to unknown places, appears a couple times. One character is stabbed. There are a number of fights in which Fangs are killed and their corpses are described.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Podo goes to the tavern a few times.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

A good bit of boy-humor. Fangs eat revolting food, and the contents of their meals turn up frequently. Snot wax is mentioned.


Despite having a serious plot line, "On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness" is usually lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek; Peterson's footnotes are particularly amusing. Although the "twist" may not be difficult to figure out, there are interesting elements that make it unique. At times the story can feel a little repetitive, but its ending leaves the reader wanting to go on to the sequel, "North! Or Be Eaten." It is an enjoyable children's fantasy, but if you are not a fan of the absurd, you probably won't enjoy it.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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