Peterson creates a unique world of humans coexisting with a animal-like race that controls the land in this first installment in The Wingfeather Saga. Readers are introduced to 3 siblings growing up a within a world of danger and uncertainty, while their mother and grandfather do all they can to keep them safe. The children don't know much about their father and they know better than to ask questions.
The world within the book is highly imaginative. There are some illustrations included to help one wrap one's mind around the creatures described. The author has spun a tale of pure fantasy, complete with its own vocabulary and fictitious literary references (adults will probably enjoy the lengthy footnotes more than the children). For parents who are are avid J.R.R. Tolkien fans and long to introduce their kids to fantasy, this series would be a good age-appropriate introduction to that genre (think Chronicles of Narnia reading level paired with Tolkien creativity). The lines between good and evil are very clearly drawn and there is a hint of allegory running throughout the story.
I loved the sense of discovery present; readers feel part of the mystery, the danger, the expectancy (and occasionally the fear) that the siblings experience. Characters will become dear friends (or despised enemies) by the time the last page is read. And some characters are not whom they appear to be. I highly recommend this clever, unique tale for ages 8 and up and guarantee you will want to continue reading the rest of the series.
Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.