Welcome to The CSFF Blog Tour! Where do I begin writing a review of such a wonderful novel? I think with the author himself, Andrew Peterson.
- Singer and Musician: (Andrew Peterson & The Captains Courageous, with ten albums, his latest being the impeccable and soulful, Counting Stars).
- Songwriter: (Andrew has often been compared to Rich Mullins, and I agree in the sense that his ministry is down to earth, honest, and has a bit of a folk sound to it. But Andrew has, in some ways, a different perspective than Rich, and I appreciate both of their music deeply.)
- Artist: (numerous excellent and humorous illustrations for his own novel, as well as here.)
- Author: (The Ballad of Matthew’s Begats, and books 1 and 2 in the Wingfeather Saga: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten).
One thing to note is that THE MONSTER IN THE HOLLOWS (book 3) is the first of Andrew’s novels to be published by his Rabbit Room Press, while novels 1 and 2 were published by Waterbrook/Multnomah. I don’t know the reasons for the change but I can imagine one of the following:
- Waterbrook/Multnomah made a two book deal with Andrew and declined to renew it for the final two novels. This practice seems to be more common now-days.
- Andrew felt it would be a better investment to publish books 3 and 4 on his own.
In either case, I think it is a smart move, because not only has Andrew built up an audience for his novels already, but as a musician he is already traveling the country and can hand-sell them.
The amazing thing to me is that Andrew went to a lot of trouble and expense to make sure book 3 matches books 1 and 2 perfectly, including artwork by the same professional illustrator (Justin Gerard), a matching background, the same font, and the fancy glossy/satin cover scheme.
What an awesome job, Andrew! If it wasn’t for that little Rabbit Room logo (which is cool), I would have never guessed the switch.
- Janner: Our 12-year-old hero, the novel is mostly written from his perspective. He is the first-born son of the last High King of Aniera, and this makes him…not the next High King, but the Throne Warden of his little brother, who is the true heir to the throne. Janner’s role as Throne Warden is to protect his little brother, and this isn’t easy, nor does he really want the job.
- Kalmar: His 10 year old brother, and the next High King of Aniera. The problem is that he looks like a wolf, having been changed in the previous book, and even Janner doesn’t fully trust him. Like his older brother, Kalmar isn’t sure about this king thing.
- Leeli: Their young sister, the Song Maiden of Aniera. She is slightly crippled and uses a crutch.
- Nia: Their mother, whose spirit of steel holds the family together through every danger imaginable.
- Podo: Their grandfather, a former dragon-hunter. He has been forbidden by the dragons from ever sailing again, on pain of death.
- Oskar N. Reteep: The family’s friend and a lover of books. He is trying to translate the First Book into the common language of the day, with the help of…
- Bonnifer Squoon: Their long-lost royal adviser, he appears out of nowhere and gives the family back their ancestral home, Chimney Hill.
- Rudric: The Keeper of The Hollows, he cares for Nia and helps protect the family from every danger.
- Olumphia Groundwich: A long-ago friend of Nia’s, she is the head Guildmadam at the children’s school.
- The Cloven: Strange, twisted beasts who roam the Blackwood forest.
- Gnag The Nameless: The arch-enemy of the novels, he will stop at nothing to gain ultimate power.
- Sara Cobbler: Janner’s friend who is still stuck in the Fork Factory. Can she muster the strength to lead a rebellion and escape?
The novel centers around these aspects of the Wingfeather’s normal family life, but weaving in exciting plot elements that all come together in the end to surprise you and set the stage for the last novel in the series: The Warden and the Wolf King.
- Life In The Hollows: Life is anything but normal for the Wingfeathers living in the Hollows, what with a son that looks like the wolf raising everyone’s hackles and suspicions.
- School: The children attend school, which is a hilariously fun example of what school might have looked like if the Green Hollows had actually existed: Leelie takes care of puppies in the Houndry, and Janner and Kalmer go to Sneakery and Sock-it-too-em School (my name).
- Family Life: Life seems to be returning to normal for the family, or is it? One night a Cloven invades Chimney Hill, and their lives will never be the same.
- Dugtown & The Fork Factory: Sara Cobbler, with the light that Janner left behind in his own escape, organizes a revolution, but everything goes wrong. How can she possibly survive?
- The Troubles: Things start to heat up for the Wingfeathers when animals start to go missing in the Green Hollows. Suspicions falls on young Kalmar, what with his snout and sharp teeth, but did he really eat them all?
- The Climax: I made some guesses as to how it was all going to turn out. I was right on one point…and wrong on all the rest. Read the book for an exciting and heart-wrenching ending. I cried twice.
Andrew, in my opinion, is one of the best Christian authors for young adults alive today. His craft is impeccable, his editing top notch, his ear tuned to the beauty of words, and his sense of story superb. You can hardly get any better than this folks, so don’t miss out on this excellent fantasy series, they are novels that will turn into classics of our day.
Buy this book! Bronze This book! Keep it safe, but don’t keep it secret! THE MONSTER IN THE HOLLOWS will appeal to all kids 10 and up, including adults who enjoy an excellent story of fantasy, sneakery, betrayal, and deadly secrets.
What About Day 2 and 3 In The Tour?
Sorry folks! I normally write up a continuation of my review for both day 2 and 3 of the CSFF Blog Tour, but not this time. My kids have gotten our whole family deep into filming a fan book trailer for Jill Williamson’s FROM DARKNESS WON this week, and I’m busier than I’ve ever been.
Jill herself is flying out for the ACFW conference and will be playing one of her own characters in the trailer. Christian Miles is reprising his role as Prince Achan, and Jacob Parker as Esek. My daughter Adele is playing Vrell Sparrow, my son, Leighton, a minstrel, and my youngest daughter, Ness, is playing a fiddler and a standard-bearer. I am reprising my role as Sir Gavin, and thus the long hair and beard.
(If anyone is interested in supporting our fan project, you can find a page here that will give you all the details, including the rewards.)
So, since I don’t have time right now to write more, please, please, PLEASE check out the other tour members to see what they think of THE MONSTER IN THE HOLLOWS! Awooooo!