The Monster In The Hollows — A Full Review

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).

The Publisher

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.

Characters

  • 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?

Plot

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.

Craft

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.

My Recommendation

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!

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Eve Nielsen
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant
JOIN THE BATTLE!
Keep informed about the latest news and events for The Merlin Spiral and the upcoming Pendragon Spiral!

6 thoughts on “The Monster In The Hollows — A Full Review

  • Hey, Robert, you do more with your one post than most of us do with three! Very nice work here. Glad you enjoyed the book.

    I’m excited about your work on the book trailer for Jill. May I one day have fans like you! Seriously, you all did such a good job of the last one, I’m sure this new one will be great.

    Becky

  • You always do a beautiful job on your blog post! I noticed right away that the publisher was different too and yes he did a wonderful job at making book three match the series.
    I’m really excited about Nightwings newest epic book trailer 🙂 Can’t wait to see it!
    Looking forward to new news on your book too.
    Thanks for a great post.

  • Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and commenting … the tour is always fun, and I just wish I had more time to devote to it this week. Ah, a classic case of “you can’t have everything”!

    :D |-| ;D

    -Robert

  • Enjoyed that! We agree on all counts, except that I think a bronzed book would be indibnibly difficult to read.

    I’m also curious about the change in publishers, which I noticed right away. I actually think Andrew did a nicer job with his book than WaterBrook did with their two (the cover feels different). If I had Justin Gerard as my illustrator, I’d invest a whole lot to hold onto him :). As an independent publisher of my own work, I was excited to see a high-profile author (well, as high profile as they get in our neck of the literary woods) doing the same.

    And wow, you guys sound like amazing fans. Any chance I can bribe you to read my trilogy and like it? (Cough, cough.)

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