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Book Review:
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, The Edge Chronicles

by Jerry Wright

Deepwoods Cover
Stormchaser Cover
The Edge Chronicles
Author: Paul Stewart
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Pub: David Fickling Books
Hardback: June 22, 2004
Length: 288pp
ISBN: 0385750684
Price: $12.95

Well, the gentle people from Random House and David Fickling Books sent me two really enjoyable "juveniles" to read. And if they hadn't sent them, I would have had to buy them. The Edge Chronicles are a really successful series of books from England. I'm impressed. Recently England has sent us J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, and now the team of Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.

The first two books in the series Beyond The Deep Woods and Stormchaser have just been released in the US, and if you enjoy Harry Potter, or Lemony Snicket, your probability of enjoying this series is great, although the various series have NOTHING in common with each other except that they are well-written fantasies, and young readers as well as adults will enjoy them.

The writing is adventuresome and fun, albeit scary at times, with the protagonist who's name is Twig discovering that he is a foundling, having been raised by Woodtrolls, and now he must make his way into the world. In many ways the story of Twig is predictable albeit untraditional, going from chapter to chapter making new acquaintances, getting into trouble, and getting out of trouble by pluck and the skin of his teeth. But what makes this book different are the characters that Messrs Stewart and Riddell have created. Such beings as Woodtrolls, the Caterbird, the foul-breathed halitoad, the Rotsucker, the Termagant Trogs, the gyle goblins, everyone's horrible nemesis the Gloamglozer, the wonderful Banderbear, Sky Pirates and their flying ships, and many more, including the world of the Edge, sitting on the edge of an abyss.

The writing evokes a simpler time, and yet bad things happen to good creatures. I'm giving these books to my 15 year old niece, because I know she will love them, but that's okay, because now I'll just have to go out and buy them for myself.

Now that I've discussed the writing, I have to rave about the illustrations. Chris Riddell has done a wonderful job capturing the creatures that Paul Stewart has written about. With the help of a scanner, I've copied several pictures from the first book, and I hope that "fair use" and the fact that this is a review will save me from the ravages of the intellectual property police.

I've created a thumbnail which will link to a larger picture in each case. On board first:

The Banderbear

The Spindlebug

Twig and "friend"

All pictures Copyright © by Chris Riddell for The Edge Chronicles

So, if you like well-written fantasies, may I recommend The Edge Chronicles? And I am looking forward to the release of Book Number Three in the series, coming in September; Midnight Over Sanctaphrax. --Jerry

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