Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Edge Chronicles: Freeglader

Edge Chronicles: Freeglader

Paul Stewart
Illustrator:   Chris Riddell 
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Random House UK, 2010   ISBN: 978-0385736114

Rook and all the people and creatures who used to live in Undertown are on the move. They are leaving behind the ruins of their old homes, which were destroyed by a fierce storm, and heading towards the Freeglades, a place where they can all live together in peace, a place where slaughterers, goblins, trolls and others don’t have to fear for their lives every time they walk the streets.

Their journey is going to be a dangerous one. They have to cross The Mire, home of the ferocious muglumps; and they have to edge around the Twilight Woods, an evil place where a person loses all sense of self. They also have to navigate through the Deep Woods, and only then will they be close to their destination.

Unfortunately, there are those in The Edge who are determined to destroy the Freeglades, those who are eager to wipe out the refugees from Undertown, and those who have their own agenda. Members of the latter category are eager to fill the power vacuum that was left in the aftermath of the Great Storm, and there are three groups who will do anything to gain this position. There are the Shryke sisters, the Goblin Nation, and those who are in charge of the Foundry Glade. If any one of these three groups gains the upper hand, life for everyone else in The Edge will become very difficult indeed.

When they finally arrive in the Freeglades after suffering terrible hardship and dangers, the Undertowners are delighted to find that their new home is everything they could wish for and more. Rook now has to decide what he is going to do with himself. Does he want to go back to being a librarian or does he need a different sort of life, one full of purpose and adventure.

In this tale Paul Stewart has woven an incredible story full of intricate details, larger then life characters, and extraordinary adventures. As Rook faces all kinds of challenges, he learns a great deal about himself and we, the readers, are shown that Rook is connected through time to the other heroes of the Edge - to both Twig and Quint. The fascinating story of how these three young men are connected will give the reader a real sense of time and history. The reader will see that the story of the struggle to find peace and happiness on The Edge is a very old one, one which goes back to the days when Sanctaphrax still floated in the sky above Undertown and to the days when great sky ships floated above the lands of this remarkable world.

For this book Chris Riddell has once again created rich, sometimes disturbing, and always entertaining artwork which can be found throughout the book.