Janner has fled his hometown, braved the lawless Strand, escaped the dangers of Dugtown, slipped from the grasp of countless Fangs, and crossed the Dark Sea. Now he’s in the Green Hollows, a rich and beautiful land. Above all, it is a free land, where he can walk the streets without fear of Fangs. The only downside is the people.
I’m sure they’re decent folk, once you can get past the distrust, suspicion, and punching. It’s just hard to get past. Never is this more true than when your brother looks like a wolf. The Wingfeather Saga is a story about family – how they help each other, how they love each other, how they strengthen each other. It is also about how they complicate things, such as your life. When you have, like Janner, one heck of a family, you get one heck of a complication.
Monster in the Hollows is in some ways more serious than its predecessors. The pandemic quirkiness of the first book is restrained, and the humor is noticeably less – though even so it’s funnier than most fantasy novels.
The book’s themes are weighty. The first can be summed up in the words of Aleksandr Solzhenistyn: “A human being is weak, weak.” The second theme is shame – both deserved and undeserved. Yet for all this, Monster in the Hollows remains the most staid of the three books. I don’t think so many pages have ever passed with so little danger.
The middle of the book – about a hundred pages – lapsed into a school story. It was a well-told school story, with conflict, humor, and emotion, and it sowed the seeds of greater things. Still, it was a school story. For me, at least, it lagged.
Then it began picking up speed, gathering power until, finally, it burst into glory. The end of Monster in the Hollows is a work of beauty, crafted with strength and depth.
Monster in the Hollows succeeds as a book. It succeeds also as part of a series. It advances the story toward its ultimate confrontation while digging deeper into what has already been told. The mystery of what happened to Artham continues to be unlocked, though his part is fairly small. It’s an unhappy trend of the Wingfeather Saga that Artham appears less in every new book than in the one before.
Monster in the Hollows is less funny than On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, and less exciting than North! Or Be Eaten. But it is more beautiful than either of them. It is also, I think, more profound. There is a clear view of the Fall of Man – not in the worst people but in the best. Monster in the Hollows is, at times, only a good school story, but in the end it is a wonderful novel woven with glory and tragedy.
Now, campers, it’s time for the links. We have …
Andrew Peterson’s website
A website for The Wingfeather Saga
And a link to The Monster in the Hollows
Last, and most importantly, are the links for the blog tour:
Thomas Clayton Booher
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Donita K. Paul
Rachel Starr Thomson
6 thoughts on “CSFF Blog Tour: The Monster in the Hollows”
The end of Monster in the Hollows blew me away. Just being able to experience the impact of the conclusion is a worthy reason to read the book.
I agree the tone changed as the series went on, but I think it needed to change. The children are older, and their circumstances are grimmer. The more serious tone conveyed the maturation they were experiencing, at least to me. Overall, I loved the story and I’m eagerly anticipating The Warden and The Wolf King.
I grew a little bored in the middle, but the ending made every page in the book worth it. It really was incredible.
I’ve wondered if the change in tone is related to Andrew Peterson’s evolution as an author. I’ve wondered if, could he do it all over again, he would still name the first people Dwayne and Gladys. But you’re right – the more serious tone is suited to the darkening storyline and the maturing characters. Janner and Tink are notably more mature by the end of the third book. I don’t think Leeli is so much, but she never needed as much maturing as her brothers. Maybe it’s because, being crippled, she had already spent all her life dealing with adversity. Maybe it’s because she’s a girl. 🙂
I think it’s because she’s a girl! 😉 Kidding, though only a little. At that age, girls are more mature. Witness all the very appropriate boy humor — the spitting and such.
But here’s the interesting thing. You’re the second person I’ve read who thought this was a darker book. I on the other hand thought it was much lighter than book 2. Darker than one, and not as funny, but perhaps because Janner isn’t alone having to deal with Standers or the Fork Factory or crossing the ice to find his family, I thought this book was “easier.”
I love your concluding paragraph, Shannon. It’s beautiful and I think really says exactly what this book is.
I think that North! Or Be Eaten is the scariest book so far. Many of the events were darker – such as the hags and beggars chasing Janner and the children enslaved at the Fork Factory. But I believe the themes of Monster in the Hollows are the darkest yet. Weakness, sin, and the resulting shame are heavy things. Janner is past the Fork Factory. Artham is still being broken by his shame.