Review: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

I’m going to try something different and review this as I read it. So warning. Spoilers!

Why I Picked It Up

Basically because book snobs complained about it for being “over the top”. And because some people loved it because it was precisely that.

Ya, so I basically picked it up to annoy people who were annoyed by the book. I have issues.

Page 25

  • Some pretty hilarious opening pages.
  • It is no secret that Grandpa was a pirate. I have cast Jim Carey as Podo.

Page 50

  • The two brothers are so much like my oldest two boys it is ridiculous.
  • At one point Janner freaks out that Leeli isn’t there and has anxiety over how bad it would have been if they had been separated. I fear for Leeli’s safety.
  • The story continues to be told in a humorous tone, but the stakes are pretty grim.

Page 75

  • We learn how Leeli got in trouble with the Fangs, and it is awesome. She kicked him! That’s amazing.
  • Learn that the Ibigy’s are wealthy. Or rather they were until recently. Loved how it wealth was explained and the dynamics between those who are considered wealthy and those who are not. Wealthy live out of town and have these status symbols. Or rather they had them. And then the Nia had them in abundance.
  • I have now cast Elizabeth Banks as Nia.
  • Again the humorous tone doesn’t really fit with the stakes. We’ve learned that nighttime child abductions by the government are routine and everyone has accepted this as part of their existence. Now we see, that three children being arrested (or being escorted to jail) in front a public setting with everyone knowing they will either be abducted, tortured or both and no one does anyting. This is terrifying. When I was in about 5th grade I read The Figure in The Shadows, which was a sequel to A House With A Clock In It’s Walls, which is a tale about dark magic that borders on horror. But the thing that terrified me was that there was an adult constantly trying to attack a child. That same terror is present in this book, but its amplified because the violence is being perpetrated by authority. I’m not complaining that the tone and the stakes don’t match, but I am definitely noticing it.
  • I had assumed this would be a nautical adventure, but I’m beginning to doubt that.

Page 100

  • The last 25 pages have essentially been a recovery of the ordeal that took place between pages 50 & 75.
  • I have cast Jack Black as the book seller.

Page 125

  • A treasure hunt

Page 150 – to the end

  • Whoa


The book has a 4.26 rating on goodreads with 5,601 ratings. That is incredibly good considering that the target market isn’t old enough to use the site. There are also 722 written reviews.

BookTube (spoilers)

There is a surprising amount of content on youtube for this book. I am impressed!

This first one involves lego animation and a song that will probably be trapped in your head for at least one week or possibly all of eternity. Coincidentally the song is by the author.

An elementary school student does a better review than me. Even uses the word “perilous” which is by far the best description of the plot. It was also a word I did not use until I was in my mid 20’s.

This next one is an animation that was produced by the author. It is a 15 minute short that takes you roughly through the first 75 pages. The soundtrack to the short is also available on amazon music and includes the song I mentioned in the first video.

The last one is the author and animator talking about the animated short in this kickstarter video. It provides a little more insight into how the author approached the story. While a movie might sound fun, I don’t think the stakes can be as high or the plot as dark as the book.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think I’ve read a book quite like this, where the narrative is so contrary to the tone of the story. There are some heartbreaking consequences in this book and the narrator offers no consolation to the characters or the readers. Personally, I enjoyed it. But I know a lot of people wouldn’t. I will be reading the sequel: North! or Be Eaten.