The CSFF Blog Tour feature for the month of September is The Monster In The Hollows, Book Three of The Wingfeather Saga (Rabbit Room Press), a middle grade novel by Andrew Peterson. How interesting (and completely unplanned), considering that it is this same book that 39% of those voting in the “It’s All In The Opening” poll chose as the one that caught their interest and made them want to read more. I definitely concur with the majority on this one.
The Monster In The Hollows is the delightful continuation of the series, not as dark as book two and more focused than book one. In calling the book delightful and not as dark as the previous installment in The Wingfeather Saga, I am not saying this one is a lightweight.
As you can tell by the title of this post, I believe there are some serious implications for the Christian Church tucked away in this engaging children’s book.
No, Andrew was not writing an allegory, but there are clear parallels with the Green Hollows and the Church, so it should be evident that the story has something important to say to believers about … believers.
Parallels? In the early chapters, we learn that the Green Hollows toward which the Igiby family is sailing have successfully turned away every attempt of the Fangs and Gnag the Nameless to overrun them. In other words, the Hollows is a community dedicated to standing against evil, dedicated to keeping it at bay.
In fact, this dedication is the foundation for the central conflict since Kalmar, heir to the throne of the fallen Isle of Anniera, and one of the Igiby children seeking refuge in the Hollows, is a Grey Fang. Or had been.
Without giving any spoilers or any other details, I think the picture is clear. Of course, Andrew doesn’t name the Church. The Hollows could be any community dedicated to standing against evil, such as … such as … such as … Well, that’s it, isn’t it. Evil is something not many stand against.
I suppose my conclusion that Gnag the Nameless and the Fangs stand for evil requires some interpretation on my part, but again, their actions make this rather self-evident — kidnapping children is evil, turning humans into beasts is evil.
One of the questions that the book generates is of itself a reversal. We’re used to thinking about how we are to treat a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but what are we to do with a sheep in wolf’s clothing? Now plug that question into the church, and I think you can see why I think this book has something to say to Christians today.
There’s another larger issue, but to mention that would indeed be giving the ultimate spoiler (to put it bluntly, it would ruin the story). Suffice it to say, I believe The Monster In The Hollows is a gentle slap-down of the Church. Or maybe a caution, or a challenge.
I guess I’m a little defensive about the Church these days. So many claim to be a part of us and are not. And so many think the Church is to be something it is not. It’s hard for it not be get a little battered in the fray. On top of that, what usually happens in the process is that Jesus Christ’s name gets tainted.
The truth about the Church is that as the bride of Christ we are to be presented before God holy and blameless and beyond reproach (Col. 1:22). But along with that truth is the reality that we are Romans 7 sinners, saved by grace but nevertheless struggling to do what we ought to do and eagerly doing what we ought not to do.
In that regard, perhaps a cautionary tale is just right.
Take some time this week to see what others on the blog tour have to say about The Monster In The Hollows:
√ √ Gillian Adams
√ Red Bissell
√ √ √ Thomas Clayton Booher
√ √ √ Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
√ D. G. D. Davidson
√ Amber French
√ √ Nikole Hahn
√ Ryan Heart
√ √ √ Timothy Hicks
√ √ √ Jason Joyner
√ Carol Keen
√ √ √ Krystine Kercher
√ √ √ Marzabeth
√ √ √ Shannon McDermott
√ 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
A check mark links to a tour post.
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.