My first impression of the series was a whimsical family tale. Peterson’s writing was lighthearted and pleasant. As the series and conflict progressed, the humour slipped away from the writing. However, this occurs after you have bonded with the characters so their story becomes something you, as a good friend, must witness. The last book is phenomenal. I am not typically a repeat reader – there are so many books out there and stories to be told that I enjoy a story and read a new one. Yet, as I read these books, I knew I would read them again and again.
I typically read dark fantasy like Abercrombie and Lynch, so it was a bit of a culture shock to read a novel where the main characters continuously escape and survive impossible situations consistently. I stopped worrying about the characters because I knew they would be fine. Instead, I began to picture it as a grandchild listening to tales of her grandparents’ youth in awe and with the assured knowledge they would be okay because here they were telling you the story. The last novel in the series felt more mature as if the children had become more aware of the conflict in the world. In this shift, moments of lightness shine all the brighter.
There are moments of beautiful, profound depth that stay with you, encouraging and filling you with hope when storms threaten to fill you with despair in your own life. The family dynamic is one of the most authentic I have read in a fantasy series. And at the end of the series, when the author leaves you, and the last word is written, the story is finished internally, and you will be surprised to find your conclusion is hopefully, optimistic, and as whimsical as the first novel.
-A Bookish Girl