March 16, 2022

The Wingfeather Saga Series – Book Review by Chalise Bondurant

The Wingfeather Saga Series – Book Review by Chalise Bondurant
“So once someone remembers their true name, they’re cured?” Janner asked. “I wish it were so. We all forget from time to time, and so we need each other to tell us our stories. Sometimes a story is the only way back from the darkness.” The Warden and the Wolf King

What originally inspired you to read the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Petersen?

When the world as we knew it stopped with the arrival of COVID-19,  I felt myself longing for “a true Story”, namely a Christian fantasy. I picked up the first book of The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, and continued reading the entire series through the Spring and Summer of 2020. Although my husband, who had read the books as they were published, had urged me over the past decade to read these amazing books, I never had. Throughout 2019 he had been reading through the series with our two older children at bedtime and they too had been urging me to read them. In God’s providence, 2020 ended up being the exact right time for me to read The Wingfeather Saga.

What is the basic premise of the series?

“THE STORIES ARE TRUE” is written in large letters on the Wingfeather website and is a theme that is repeated by author Andrew Peterson. The stories are true because they are pointing to a larger Story: a story of good and evil, of light and darkness, of brokenness and redemption. It’s a story about another world, and yet our world too. It’s a story of adventure and beauty and Truth. It’s a story about the Wingfeather family and their Maker.

Favorite Themes & Quotes

There is so much to love about this series. One of my favorite aspects are the family dynamics and the inclusion of a mom (Nia) who is along for the adventure. Nia shows tremendous courage as she and her family face grave danger and she entrusts her family to the Maker over and over again. She very much reminds me of the biblical figure Job in her perseverance through trials and trust in the Maker through the hardest of circumstances, and as the Maker “gives and takes away.” This series is full of complicated sibling relationships that is sure to strike a chord with anyone who has siblings. The complexity and growth of the characters, especially the two brothers, Janner and Kalmar, will be especially relatable to brothers. I can’t neglect to mention the endearing grandfather and courageous pup that play a grand role in the narrative as well. A theme that kept resonating with me as I read this series was the importance of trusting the Maker even as your family walks through trials at every turn. What an encouragement and a challenge!

The theme of redemption is woven throughout this book, but especially culminates towards the end of The Warden and the Wolf King. The beauty of God’s mercy is in full display! Another absolutely stunning theme that runs throughout the book is the importance of name and identity. The children are constantly exhorted to remember who and whose they are. Their family name, lineage, and identities play a key role in the storyline of this book. Music also plays an integral role in the story through Lili’s whistleharp and the beautiful lyrics of the Bard’s songs. Truth, Beauty, and Goodness are all throughout The Wingfeather Saga in exceptional and sometimes surprising ways.

“Here I sit in the presence of queens and heroes and magic. Yes, magic. It is only when we have grown too old that we fail to see that the Maker’s world is swollen with magic – it hides in plain sight in music and water and even bumblebees.” North! Or Be Eaten

How do you see the Series relating to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy?

In School Education Charlotte says, “Courage, too, should be something more than the impulse of the moment; it is a natural fire to be fed by heroic example and by the teaching that the thing to be done is always of more consequence than the doer.” Charlotte speaks of courage in Ourselves rather extensively and I encourage you to read her words in their entirety. I want to share her words about the Courage of Attack as this section reminds me of the Wingfeather family and their “heroic examples”:

The sheep has the Courage of Attack for the sake of her lamb; the bird will sit on her eggs in the face of that monster, man. A blue-tit once thought proper to nest in a letterbox; of course people went to see the sight, and the courage with which the little creature hissed at the gigantic intruders was very curious and admirable. The toddling child has courage to protect his pets. Many a tender mother has had the courage of an awful death to save her baby. If we would but believe it, we have all courage to face any calamity, any enemy, any death (Ourselves, p.112).

In Philosophy of Education Charlotte says, “As for literature––to introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must always be with good books, the best that we can find.”  The Wingfeather Saga installs you in a kingdom, brings you a holiday, and lays before you a feast; it certainly belongs in the category of “the best we can find.”

“He means to make his subjects merciful and wise; sorrow and struggle bringeth both. We will, he tells me, grow by grieving, live by dying, love by losing. The heart itself is the field of battle and the garden green.” From The Monster in the Hollows

Chalise, her husband Ben, and their three children live on a few acres outside of the Memphis area in Eads, TN. She was introduced to Charlotte Mason about 8 years ago and has been studying and implementing as she continues on this journey one step at a time. She leads a local community, Spread the Feast, which places an emphasis on their monthly book discussion and also offers a variety of other Mason inspired activities, including a Natural History Club that she leads. Chalise enjoys spending time with people of all cultures, live music, hiking, singing, dancing, reading, and PBS dramas.

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