The Warden And The Wolf King – CSFF Tour, Day 1

Illustration by Andrew Peterson

Illustration by Andrew Peterson

The Warden And The Wolf King by Andrew Peterson is the fourth and final installment in the Wingfeather Saga. It’s a worthy conclusion to this wonderful series. Coming in at over 500 pages, you might even say it’s an epic ending. Not that length alone makes something epic, but that’s a discussion for another day.

First I want to offer an alternative title to this young adult fantasy—one I’d be surprised if Andrew Peterson didn’t consider. Half way through the book, which picks up the Wingfeather Saga right where The Monster In The Hollows left off, I thought, Shouldn’t the Song Maiden be in the title? I mean, it seemed at that point that the Song Maiden played as significant a part in the unfolding events as did the Warden and the Wolf King.

I eventually dismissed the idea, thinking The Warden, The Song Maiden, And The Wolf King might be too cumbersome a title. (Although, it would be right in line with book 1, On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness. 😉 )

Since then, however, I thought, why not keep it simple? Why not The Jewels Of Anniera, the jewels being none other than the Song Maiden, the Warden, and the Wolf King. But alas, Andrew didn’t ask my advice, so I’m left, of necessity, to devote at least one post to song and the Song Maiden.

Since Andrew Peterson is a singer and song writer by day and a novelist in his “spare time,” it’s really no surprise that Song takes a prominent place in the story, starting with the inside of the book jacket which displays what I conclude to be the words of a song, since they are ascribed to Armulyn the Bard:

The world is whispering—listen child!—
The world is telling a tale.
When the seafoam froths in the water wild
Or the fendril flies in the gale.

When the sky is mad with the swirling storm
And thunder shakes the hall,
Child, keep watch for the passing form
Of the one who made it all.

Listen, child, to the hollish wind,
To the hush of heather down,
To the voice of the brook of the stony bend
And the Bells of Rysentown.

The dark of the heart is a darkness deep
And the sweep of the night is wide
And the pain of the heart when the people weep
Is an overwhelming tide. . .

The Bard himself played a part early in the Saga. According to the Encyclopedia of terms at the Wingfeather Saga website, the Bard is

a songwriter and singer known throughout Skree for his soul-stirring songs about Anniera. He claimed to have been there once in his youth, and sang about it ever since. Armulyn was famous for his bare feet, his raspy voice, his kindness, his rascally disposition toward Fangs and oppressors, and his sharp odor.

You’ve heard of fan fiction, I’m sure. But what about fan music? Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga, and particularly Armulyn the Bard inspired a soulful piece you may wish to hear.

The song inside the dust jacket is only a hint of what is to come inside the book. As it happens, music is a major aspect of the plot, and of course the star of much of it is the Song Maiden—Janner’s little sister, Leeli.

I’ll take this opportunity to mention that tomorrow, July 22, 2014, the official release party for The Warden And The Wolf King will take place in Nashville. I mention this because, among all the delightful happenings in this party that sounds like it really is a party, Andrew’s daughter Skye (the inspiration for Leeli Wingfeather) will be on hand to sing “My Love Has Gone Across the Sea” (from The Monster in the Hollows) with none other than the author himself. (You can see all the details for the party at the Wingfeather Saga site, and those in the Nashville area would be remiss if they didn’t attend.)

I’ll be honest. I’m trying to discuss song in The Warden And The Wolf King without giving any spoilers. The problem is, at every turn it seems impossible to discuss the use of music without saying too much.

In the end, the music of the book is much the same as the music of real life. It defeats doubt and darkness and the evil that would come against us. It summons beauty and power. It opens doors and heals hearts. It’s simply one of the greatest weapons a child of the true King has over the Evil One. And yet it takes a person of courage and conviction and perseverance to continue giving the music in the face of discouragement and exhaustion and fear, sometimes even despair.

Perhaps I should stop trying to explain what music means to this story and let the epigraph by George MacDonald say it for me:

“I dreamed of a song—I heard it sung;
In the ear of my soul its strange notes rung.
What were its words I could not tell,
Only the voice I heard right well,

A voice with a wild melodious cry
Reaching and longing afar and high.
Sorrowful triumph, and hopeful strife,
Gainful death, and new-born life. . .”

I’ll add one more tidbit. The use of song in this story reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses:

He put a new song in my mouth,
A song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:3)

For me, the new song is actually a story, but how cool that for Andrew Peterson, his is a song and a story.

See what other participants in the CSFF Blog Tour for The Warden And The Wolf King are saying.

A Second Tour – North! Or Be Eaten

OK, if the title itself doesn’t grab you, then I think you need a dose of wanderlust injected into your system. Either that, or a closer look at the cover of Andrew Peterson‘s middle grade novel (which reads the way the Harry Potter books do—something there for all ages and stages) North! Or Be Eaten. This month’s Children’s Book Blog Tour feature, the second in the Wingfeather Saga, is a fantasy you won’t want to miss, whether or not imaginative stories are the kind you most prefer.

Generally, when it comes to fantasy, I cringe when I hear or read an endorsement for a new book or series that makes such claims as “the next C. S. Lewis.” I mean, if there was a next C. S. Lewis, then we’d have a next Narnia, and to date I’ve not seen another world painted with such richness and enticement.

Because of that strong opinion, I don’t think I’ve ever been tempted to do that kind of hyperbolic comparison in any of my endorsements or reviews. Until now.

And even now, I will resist. Andrew Peterson is not the next C. S. Lewis. He is the very current Andrew Peterson, with the definite potential to become a classic author with a unique series that children and adults will read over and over again.

That’s a bold statement, so it might be helpful to think about what makes a classic a classic.

First, the story needs to be timeless. Not that the setting is timeless. Clearly, the Narnia books are set in England, either during or prior to World War II. But the story needs to work long after the period of time for which it was written.

In addition, a classic needs to be universal; that is, it needs to address needs, longings, relationships that do not change from one generation to another or from one place or people to another.

Thirdly, a classic must be much loved. This is the kind of book a person wants to reread, and then to read aloud to his or her children. These are the books aunts and grandparents give for Christmas.

The Wingfeather Saga, which started with On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness has these elements, though I suppose the “much loved” aspect has to become wide-spread. I hope it does, because these books are worthy of much attention.

More tomorrow, and I love this book so much, I’m even planning to post on Saturday. Meanwhile, as Andrew said in the title of one of his blog posts, Purchase! Or Be Eaten. 😀

I haven’t read what the other participants on this tour are saying, but I’m eager to go to their blogs and see if they liked the book as much as I did.

I encourage you to stop by their sites as well. Leave a comment, even, then next week vote in the best blogger poll:

The 160 Acre Woods, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, All About Children’s Books, Becky’s Book Reviews, Booking Mama, Cafe of Dreams, Dolce Bellezza, Fireside Musings, Homeschool Book Buzz,, My Own Little Corner of the World, My utopia, Novel Teen, Olive Tree, Reading is My Superpower, Through a Child’s Eyes

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