Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart

Beyond the Deepwoods (Edge Chronicles, Book 1) The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, let's see if I can get this right. The Edge Chronicles is a 10 book series. This juvenile fantasy gem caught me completely by surprise. I jumped in somewhat grudgingly because it wasn't the greatest time in my life to be starting a long series. But I have been richly rewarded for my sacrifice. Here, you'll find a world where the laws of physics as we know them do not apply. There are creatures you've never imagined, but the illustrations of Chris Riddell help bring them to life.

I'd like to say a little something about the genre here- yes it's unquestionably fantasy, but it is also my first introduction to steam-punk, which I had heard of before and knew roughly what it was but didn't feel too interested in. By the end of the first book, I felt that this is a fabulous introduction to the steam-punk genre. It has turned out to be thrillingly imaginative. Stewart writes in such an easy way, it feels only natural that I should love this special niche of fantasy.

I read all 10 books in numerical order, and that was fine way to do it. But now that I've done it, I can tell others that they have options. If 10 books seems a bit much all at once, then you might be interested to know that the series is really three trilogies and an extra book to tie it all up. Reading them numerically, you'll find that there is a lot of jumping around in this world's timeline. But if you want to read them chronologically, here's the order for you:

Quint's Trilogy:
The Curse of the Gloamglozer (book 4)
The Winter Knights (book 8)
Clash of the Sky Galleons (book 9)

Twig's Trilogy:
Beyond the Deepwoods (book 1, pictured above)
Stormchaser (book 2)
Midnight Over Sanctaphrax (book 3)

Rook's Trilogy:
The Last of the Sky Pirates (book 5)
Vox (book 6)
Freeglader (book7)

Nate's story and the end of our epic tale:
The Immortals

Reading them this way would allow you to take a natural break from the series (if you wanted one) before committing to reading more. Just a thought.

I really enjoyed every book in this series and highly recommend them. Bare in mind this is juvenile fiction, but it also has some pretty adult themes, such as war and political intrigue. There is a lot of fighting, and yes, killing. Personally, I would still let my child read it because it isn't terribly graphic. So add it to your to-read list. Now.

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