The most successful Kickstarter campaign for fiction furthers a young adult saga.
The Warden And The Wolf King by Andrew Peterson, The Wingfeather Saga, Book Four, Rabbit Room Press, 523 Heather Place, Nashville, Tenn. 37204. Hardcover. Pp. 519. ISBN 9780988963252, $22.99. July 2014.
Listed under Young Adults, but for Adults, also
Author Andrew Peterson started out as a composer/singer (reference: albums from Essential Records Carried Along and Light for the Lost Boy.) In 2006, Peterson founded Rabbit Room, an online group to bring together writers, musicians and artists. Rabbit Room also has a yearly literary journal called The Molehill. Beginning in 2008 with Random House publishing Peterson’s first novel of The Wingfeather Saga, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. The second book, North! Or Be Eaten won the 2009 Christy Award for Young Adult Fiction. Book Three, The Monster in the Hollows was released in 2011 from Rabbit Room Press. Book Four, The Warden And The Wolf King (2014) came about from a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for publishing costs and was the most successful fundraiser for fiction in Kickstarter’s history. Thus, The Warden And The Wolf King was published. Because of extra funding, the hardcover Warden book will have illustrations by Joe Surphin, and a download of an original song from the book.
This reviewer had not read the first three novels in the series and could follow this storyline nicely. Multiple illustrations propel the story along, especially when one begins the book with an illustration of a boy and his wolf-human brother. The curiosity gauntlet has been tossed and from there, it is on to adventure after adventure. The books follow the travels of the Igiby family. Book I has them living under the oppressive rule of the Fangs of Dang, but people still remember peaceful times. Book II, has the family trying to reach the Ice Prairies and safety, but they are separated and have various adventures. Book III has a family treasure safe with the mother’s people, but still something/someone is after them, and this is where Book IV comes into play when you have a villain behind the villains. It reminded me of Swiss Family Robinson or Lost In Space, in which a family was in the middle of nowhere, not of their own accord, and trying to survive. Animals and humans interact. All this in 96 chapters plus an epilogue for a total of 519 pages. There are also sections in italics taken from The Annieriad (think Iliad) whose narrater illuminates past history.
The main characters are Janner, The Warden (leader) and his wolf-brother, Kalmar (Wolf King and a co-leader) who are on the run from the Fangs, the bad ones. There are also trolls. Janner’s sister, Leeli walks with the aid of a crutch and has the ability to calm people with the aid of a mouth harp (think Pan and his magic flute). Dialogue keeps you going from page-to-page just to see what the author comes up with next. Example: “The Slog Of War” (“Dogs of War”) or “The Flabbit's Paw” (rabbits paw). Cows can have fangs and be wicked, called The Cloven. Humorous Chapter Titles, to give you an idea, are “Smells and Sounds and Squealing,” “Villainous Wretchery” (treachery), “Groaches In The Sewer” and “Another Hollow, Another Monster.” (or as you are driving along some streets---another pothole, another monster.) Definitely, a page-turner.
This book is Young Adult, but adults will read it, too. Language is used in a playful context and will intrigue young readers. Humor is part of the story. Families have a leader to make decisions and sometimes that leader must look ahead to see what is best for the family. Such is the case in Book IV and there are surprises here. You may never look at cows or wolves the same again.
Reviewed by Marie Asner
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