The Places Beyond the Maps (Wingfeather Tales)

Wingfeather Saga

The Jewel Review

Five Jewels

Five-Jewel Story!

Consumed with a desire to live comfortably, at peace, a father fails to protect his greatest charge: before his eyes, without a fight, he allows his only child to be taken.

Cast out by his own guilt, he vows he will not return to his wife until he finds their daughter and brings here home.

The quest takes him to places beyond the maps of Aerwiar …
and to places beyond the maps of self and soul,

where effort and desire and courage can only go so far,

where perfection and justice rage …
and morph into destruction and shame.

And only one thing matters.


“The Places Beyond the Maps” is the final, and the longest, story in Wingfeather Tales, edited by Andrew Peterson, the author of the Wingfeather Saga, and published by Rabbit Room Press.

Author Douglas Kaine McKelvey weaves an amazing story. The quest of the main character involves more than just his search for his daughter. It encompasses the search that every victim, every sufferer, every grief-bearer goes through. The search for an advocate, someone before whom one can stand and find justice. But before true justice, can any stand? I deeply felt the loss, the sorrow, the regret and shame along with this character, as if his quest were, somehow my own. This is one of those stories I could read again and again.

Recommended Age: 10 and up

Rereadability: the highest of levels

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The Ballad of Lanric and Rube

Wingfeather Saga

The Rose Review

Three Roses

A Three-Star Story

Every story in the Wingfeather Tales has a different way of telling itself. This one is told in poetry. In “The Ballad of Lanric and Rube,” Jonathan Rogers brings a footnote from On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness to life.

   “The Ballad of Lanric and Rube” is a song (tale) about two neighbors and fourth cousins named Lanric and Rube who are closer than brothers. Unfortunately, they both fall in love with the same lady and resolve to fight to resolve their problem. Even more unfortunately, their strength is evenly matched. “The Ballad of Lanric and Rube” is a funny poem that is almost guaranteed to make you smile.

[“The Ballad of Lanric and Rube” is the fifth tale in the six-story collection, The Wingfeather Tales, edited by Andrew Peterson and published by Rabbit Room Press.]

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From the Deeps of the Dragon King, by A. S. Peterson (Wingfeather Tales)

Wingfeather Saga

The Jewel Review

Wingfeather Tales book review

Four-Jewel Story

Long before this man found redemption, love … and the courage to chase down an old boot regardless of who else was after it, this man hunted.

He hunted dragons.

For their scales, their wyrmblubber, their whiskers, their teeth, because every kibble and giblet of dragon brought a treasure, and this man wanted it all. So he hunted. But majestic and terrible sea dragons proved far too dangerous, too difficult for the swaggering dragoneers.

So dragoneers hunted down the young ones, the babies, the sqwyrms.

And this man, Podo Helmer, had a plan to reap more of them in one day than the average dragoneering ship hauled in years, by venturing straight into the waters of the Dragon King himself, Yurgen, who had felled mountains in the first age of Aerwiar, thereby bringing to an end the first epoch.

With a wary crew and an unwilling captain, Podo Helmer sails past countless dangers — Symian Pirates, Trollian Armadas, even the great Gyres of Plumb, the Sea of Sprouts, and the Haunted Smoldrums — with one goal in mind: trespass Yurgen’s Halls and make off with young dragons on the one day in the year that he can.

But when what you want is all you see, and all you see is more of what you want, the greatest danger lies in not knowing when enough is enough. Although Podo’s adventure that day might have been worthy of tales, they were tales he would have relived if he could, yarns re-spun to tell another story. A different story. Every day thereafter, his limp reminded him of the day he should have had courage to let go.

A S Peterson

[“From the Deeps of the Dragon King” is the fourth tale in the six-story collection, The Wingfeather Tales, edited by Andrew Peterson and published by Rabbit Room Press.]

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Willow Worlds by N. D. Wilson (Wingfeather Tales)

Wingfeather Saga

The Rose Review

Three Roses

A Three-Star Story

A willow that tells stories. That is how “Willow Worlds” begins. N. D. Wilson weaves two worlds (and more) together in his contribution to Wingfeather Tales. This is the tale that someone who listens to the willow saw happening in a land far away.

Podo Helmer, a young Strander, is searching for wood to give to the leader of his clan: the great Strander king, Growlfist. On the way back from cutting the wood he gets taken by a strange cupboard maker. The cupboard maker wants to know where to find the wood that made Growlfist’s “bottomless” box. He knows something about the box no one else does; the box, along with his cupboards, are doors into other worlds. Podo’s choice might make a door into another world, or it might land him in a sticky situation.

WIllow Worlds quote

A favorite quote

[“Willow Worlds” is the third tale in the six-story collection, The Wingfeather Tales, edited by Andrew Peterson and published by Rabbit Room Press.]

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The Wooing of Sophelia Stupe, by Jennifer Trafton (Wingfeather Tales)

Wingfeather Saga

The Jewel Review

Five Jewels

Five-Jewel Story! In the words of Oskar N Reteep, “This tome is stupendously indibnible!)

There are those who would attest (woeful!) that the only good flabbit is a dead flabbit. There are those who would silence (aghasting!) every last thwap, even those harmlessly caged in bags (harmlessly Helmer-like) or trunks (Slarbs, beware!).

Then there are those (singularly) who brave quilling, munching, nibbling, pocking, snicking, and impaling to discover, in his words, “creepers, crawlers, squatters, chewers, gnawers, etc.” Such is the tale of Ollister B. Pembrick, scrawler and notationer of the famed and notably exhaustive Pembrick’s Creaturepedia, who finally meets his match in the personage of a pockmarked (yet still lovelishly Lone-Fendrilish) and pulchritudinous Sophelia Stupe. He painstakingly notates the surpriseful and abjectably lamentable actions that bring about the woman’s wondrously whimsical tale of wooing.

Ollister B. Pemprick travels from Anneria to Skree at the behest of his old youngish friend, Edd Helmer, to participate in a signature affixation ceremony. Ollister’s grandiouse expectations find themselves level with the snout of a droopy grobblin when he finds the artistically-inclined residents of Skree less than interested in the book for which he sacrificed elbow flesh and one-and-a-half toes (on one foot!). His book is only purchased eight times, all eight purchases by the same woman; and regardless of the fact that she uses the books to boost posture and straighten chins of the students of the Betterment School for Unpolished Children, Ollister is struck as with a quill diggle’s quills.

He is fallen deeper than a saggy hound into a gargan rockroach’s lair. Ollister is in love, and tumbles (willingly!) even further when he sneaks (topiary-like!) into her home, Anklejelly Manor, and finds that (calm thyself, palpitatious heart!) she has read his book and he even forgives her for her numerous and not-altogether-positive comments notated throughout the pages of Creaturepedia.

Ollister is prepared to declare his undying love to the turkeypox-survived, wondrously-read, dreamish Sophelia when he finds her in (untrustworthy!) danger. Never trust a squeeblin! With no pencils in sight to knightingly rescue her, he has but one choice. A choice he might ever regret. An ill-thoughten, catalystical act, which ushers an (eclipse-like!) entourage of wings and wriggles, snouts and snuffles, claws and jaws and teeth and toenails (and a bellybutton!).

The exclamatorial-worthy wooing of Sophelia Stupe leaves her with only one exit. One way out. Or in. Or beyond. Or through. For she is done hiding and running. And she is ready to (oh, bravesome wonder!) leap on the back of the Lone Fendril, breathe into the branch of a guarding tree, and live.

There are those who are lucky enough to wander into wardrobes, wake to the shuffling and snuffling search of loyal raggants, dive (nosebleedingly!) into cupboards, and breathe on ancient trees in order to find themselves in another world. Then there are those who are lucky enough to traverse all these worlds by immersing (dreamingly! longingly!) into the pages of books and emerging somehow transformed. I am the second kind of lucky.

Wingfeather Tales

A favorite quote

Recommended Age: 8 and up (though not recommended for sneezerous greengrocers-for-literature or moonish toothy cows)

[“The Wooing of Sophelia Stupe” is the second tale in the six-story collection, The WingfeatherTales, edited by Andrew Peterson and published by Rabbit Room Press.]

Wingfeather Tales

Another favorite quote

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The Prince of Yorsha Doon, by Andrew Peterson (Wingfeather Tales)

Wingfeather Saga

The Rose Review

Wingfeather Tales

Four-Rose Book!

Young Safiki is an orphan; his grandmother lives in a home for the elderly. It could be a home to Safiki if he wants. But Safiki’s home is Yorsha Doon. All of it. The sprawling city west of the Woes of Shreve near enough to the sea to avoid becoming a deadly desert.

One day Safiki meets a girl hiding from the palace guards. She tells him that the palace is overrun by Rodin the Bloodbrute’s men and mad Fangs, and she tells him her name, Saana, before she is caught. Safiki tries to forget her, but life grows complicated when you know someone’s name (which is why he has always tried to remain anonymous).

However, when a mysterious (and somewhat accident prone) man needs his help, Safiki is thrown into the midst of things. Everyone is searching for him and everyone knows his name. Can the knowledge that his two new friends give Safiki enable him to save Yorsha Doon? Or will it only make things worse?

Safiki’s adventure is exciting, amusing, and interesting as he encounters treacherous shopkeepers, prisoners, mad fangs, librarians, codes, books, and the Prince of Yorsha Doon himself.

Recommended Age: 9 and up

[“The Prince of Yorsha Doon” is the first story in the six-story collection, The Wingfeather Tales, edited by Andrew Peterson and published by Rabbit Room Press. Stay tuned for the next hortubinous review: “The Wooing of Sophelia Stupe”.]

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The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia #7) – C. S. Lewis

The Last Battle

The Rose Review

Five Roses

Five-Rose Book!

Treachery lurks at the edge of Caldron Pool beneath the great waterfall. A donkey swims after a skin, commanded by an old ape named Shift. Strange you might say, but nothing more, even when the ape sews the skin – a lion’s skin – into a coat for the donkey, Puzzle. It could seem like a kind gesture, but it’s purpose is far more terrible than any Narnian could imagine, including Puzzle.

It’s been a long time since the Narnians have seen Aslan. Over two hundred years since a son of Adam, and a daughter of Eve last came to Narnia. When rumor of Aslan’s return reaches King Tirian of Narnia and his dearest friend, Jewel the Unicorn, they are at first overjoyed. However, they find the stories are different this time; there are no children emerging from a different world, there is no Lion ridding Narnia of evil; instead, sacred trees are being felled, free talking beasts are becoming slaves, and Calormene workers enter Narnia – all by order of “Aslan”.

Within a few hours, Tirian is tied to a tree bleeding, Jewel is nowhere to be seen, and an ape is telling the talking beasts that are not working all about their wonderful future of slavery in Calormine. The ape, of course, is Shift, mouthpiece of “Aslan.” Stable Hill, where “Aslan” now resides in a stable near the Shift’s headquarters, is soon emptied as the night grows darker. The king, alone, in sight of the top of Stable Hill calls to the true Aslan begging him to send the Friends of Narnia – children who come when Narnia is in desperate need. His cry is answered after he wakes from a vision. Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole are once again magically in Narnia.

With their help, Jewel is freed, and they find the ape’s “Aslan.” They soon find out that it is not enough; their revealing the false Aslan only makes most of the Narnians at first assume there is no Aslan at all. As they continue on with a few new friends, they find that the ape’s treachery runs deeper than even sending the talking beasts to work for the Calormenes.

When they reach Stable Hill where one of Shift’s Midnight Meetings (the time he shows the false Aslan to everyone and gives a speech) is going on they soon find that anyone who wants to, can go into the stable now to see the great Tashlan, for he revealed that Tash the Calormene’s god and Aslan are the same person. He cautions that Tashlan is very angry though. Narnians are almost forced through the stable door when Tirian emerges from the shadows. Not all the Narnians join him, in fact, some join the Calormenes for the Last Battle. Soon the Last Battle begins, but what is behind the stable door? Calormenes with swords? Or could it be that Tash has come for those who foolishly called him?

Jill, Eustace, and Trinian fight for their lives, and for Narnia, but soon all of them will have to face what is behind the stable door. Will help come before they are killed or thrown into the stable? But what happens when they die? Where will they find themselves when they pass through the stable door? For “in our world too, a stable had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”

The Last Battle is an amazing book, and one of my favorite Chronicles of Narnia. It is a beautiful and real allegory to the end of our world as we know it. It is an amazing picture of what might happen when we say farewell to the Shadowlands.

Recommended Age: 8 yrs-98 yrs

Re-readable: Yes, if you have TIME (not the giant you might meet in this book, I doubt anyone does has him, he is not a tame giant I think)


The Jewel Review

Five Jewels

Five-Jewel Book!

Ages have passed since a son of Adam and a daughter of Eve listened as a Lion sang Narnia into being.

Ages since two daughters of Eve watched that Lion submit to mocking and murder for the sake of saving a traitor, their brother; since two sons of Adam, one of them the redeemed traitor, fought evil bravely to the point of death until the Lion rose and vanquished evil from the land.

Ages since an orphan discovered a talking horse and braved a journey into unknown lands at the thought of world of wonder, only to learn that world of wonder was where he truly belonged.

Ages since two brothers and sisters who felt their dream had ended learned “once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia” even as they worked to bring a new king to the throne.

Ages since an annoying cousin accidentally tripped into Narnia on his cousins’ heels, morphed into a dragon, and then into a boy whose heart bore the scars of his transformation.

Ages since two unpopular classmates, one of whom might have at one point been a dragon, attempted to follow instructions from a tawny Lion so that they might free a prince held captive by beguiling witchery.

The talking animals of Narnia have nigh forgotten the Lion, the Son of the Emperor across the Sea, who breathed upon them in the beginning and bid them to think and to speak. So when a foolish donkey listens to the counsel of an even-more-foolish ape to don the skin of a lion and use it to their own purposes, the talking animals believe Aslan has returned. And he is angry. Within days, treachery and slavery, horror and sorrow, abound.

And few … so few, too few … know the Lion’s true story well enough to understand that He would never return to ring in an age of horror and wrong. These few stand for truth, with only a son of Adam and daughter of Eve standing with them.

Waiting for the return of the real Aslan, hoping beyond hoping that it will be soon, before their world of Narnia is destroyed by evil. Before their world falls to shadow. These few who endure the Last Battle find the shadows recede as they journey further up and further into glory.

C. S. Lewis’ final book in the Chronicles of Narnia, as the preceding stories in the series, weave deep truths and spiritual parallels with fascinating fantasy and captivating characters to create a story that every parent should read. And, when they trust their children are ready, share with them the tales of a land where animals speak, where wardrobes lead to wintry wonderlands, where the Son of the Emperor beyond the sea awaits, at just the time appointed, to draw His children Home.

Farewell to shadowlands.

Recommended Age: 8 and up (depends on the sensitivity of the reader; the first time I read it, I cried in the scene with the dogs; still tears me up)

Re-readable: Highly

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