His heart was black with despair, so the Maker’s magic was most welcome. It helped him believe there was power pulsing behind the veil of the visible world, pulsing like blood through the world’s veins, sending life and light coursing through everything, surprising and confounding at every turn. When he remembered this, the darkness glimmered with goodness.
We’re up to The Monster in the Hollows, Book 3 in Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga and as I said to my youngest daughter after I finished this one, they just keep getting better! I will call out “Spoilers” here even though I’m not revealing anything that isn’t in the description on Goodreads.com.
The Igiby family is now known by their true identity, the Wingfeathers, the royal family of the once glorious but now destroyed Shining Isle of Anniera. In order to escape the Fangs (half animal and half human creatures created by the evil Gnag the Nameless), they travel from the Ice Prairies to the Green Hollows, Nia Wingfeather’s childhood home and the closest thing to safety they know.
Not an uncommon theme in fantasy stories, the fear of evil can cause an evil of its own. Expecting to be welcomed to their new home, Kalmar (known as Tink in his younger days) and a choice he made in the previous book North! Or Be Eaten leads to fear and suspicion from the otherwise peaceful folks of the Green Hollows. In spite of a few friends, the Wingfeather children find themselves alienated from virtually everyone around them – strangers in a strange land.
The working through this alienation is one of the highlights of the series so far. In addition, the jealousies and insecurities that exist between Kalmar and his brother, Janner, slowly change to mutual admiration, respect and, yes, perhaps even love.
Also in the story, a mystery begins to be revealed little by little. I found myself early on asking questions like “I wonder?” or “Could it be?” It’s easy sometimes to criticize a plot line by saying “I saw that coming a mile away” but in the case of The Monster in the Hollows that “mile” is one of the best feats of story-telling I’ve read in a while. And the emotional punch at the end of that mile can’t be dismissed, either.