Note: This is going to be done differently than most of my other reviews, as I am reviewing an entire series. That will make this review longer and with a different format than my previous reviews! The following series was published non-linearly when it comes to content storyline, however, I read them by the numbers written on the spines and therefore have grouped them in respective trilogies in the order in which I read them. If you want to follow the author’s advice on how to read them, check out THIS LINK and decide for yourself! There will be some mild spoilers for the series, though I will try my hardest not to spoil too much.
The Twig Trilogy
Beyond the Deepwoods (#1): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
Stormchaser (#2): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
Midnight over Sanctaphrax (#3): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
Plot: The first trilogy follows the young protagonist, Twig, who was, to his knowledge, born and raised by woodtrolls in the vast forest called Deepwoods, situated in a world called the Edge. He soon finds out that he in fact was left in the forest with the woodtrolls by his true parents. Twig starts out his adventure by getting lost in the Deepwoods and finally finding his way across a vast white marsh and to the cities of civilization near the very edge of where the world stops on a steep cliff. Along the way, Twig finds his father and becomes a sky pirate in his own right and he and his friends end up being witness to the greatest event in history: the loss of the floating city of Sanctaphrax.
Review: These books are truly a delight. The world is so vivid and unique that it immediately draws you in. It took me no time at all to enjoy reading of Twig’s adventures, especially as more creatures and cultures were introduced. The writing was spot on, and, as an added bonus, there are dozens of brilliant illustrations throughout each book that helps the reader fully realize the world that they are reading about. Even as an adult, I felt like this was an extremely sophisticated series that anyone of any age could enjoy fully. The adventure never ended, and the themes of friendship and family and human error are rampant through this and the other books as well.
The Quint Trilogy
The Curse of the Gloamglozer (#4): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
The Winter Knights (#5): 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4/5)
Clash of the Sky Galleons (#6): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
Plot: You start off this trilogy meeting Maris, daughter of the Most High Academe in the floating city of Sanctaphrax, and Quint, the son of the sky pirate, Wind Jackel, who very recently lost his entire family (wife and five other sons) to a terrible fire. Anyone paying attention in The Twig Trilogy will recognize Maris as Twig’s mother, making this a series about Twig’s parents. It follows Quint and Maris as they become friends and uncover the dark secrets brewing in the heart of the great floating rock. Following that, Quint grows older, becomes a sky pirate of his own, and helps his father take revenge on the man who killed their family.
Review: I was originally thrown off about who the main character was, and it took me longer than it should have to realize it was Twig’s father! And it’s also funny that this trilogy had my favorite and least favorite book in the entire series in it. The Curse of the Gloamglozer was my favorite story out of all 10 books, because it was so rich and dark and full of adventure from the first page to the very last. However, The Winter Knights was my least favorite, as nothing actually happened in it at all. It was still entertaining to read, because you learned more about the world of the Edge in that single book than the entire rest of the series, but after the breathtaking adventure of TCOTG, TWK fell flat for me. However, the story picked up its pace very quickly with the third book. It was such a unique experience to read about characters I knew of from years later in The Twig Trilogy. One thing that Paul Stewart does amazingly throughout this entire series is interviewing the world in such a way that nothing is coincidence and every character introduced is someone you should remember in case they show up again.
The Rook Trilogy
The Last of the Sky Pirates (#7): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
Vox (#8): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
Freeglader (#9): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
Plot: Fifty years after the plot of The Twig Trilogy, we find the world a new and unknown world. The great buoyant rocks that once created flight for the sky pirates are sick and no longer fly. The great librarians are forced to live underground in the sewers beneath Undertown, which is where we meet our protagonist, Rook Barkwater, a young under-librarian. He is chosen to travel from Undertown, across the Mire and Twilight Woods to the Deepwoods, where there is a settlement called the Free Glades, where people can live free from the rule of an evil trio of creatures. Along his journey, Rook meets an old sky pirate, fights the fierce skryke bird warriors, flies on a thin craft lifted the light floating wood and sails, and fights to free the Free Glades. All the while, another new change is brewing in the world, ready to change the face of the Edge forever, and it’s up to Rook to save everyone from certain death.
Review: The Twig Trilogy and The Quint Trilogy were relatively similar, as they took place in a familiar Edge that the reader got very comfortable reading. Rook’s world, however, was so different, I had a hard time figuring out the timeline until it explicitly told you in the text. Rook was young and adventurous, like the other two protagonists, but he had more friends and more emotional struggle than the others. With each page I read, I was thinking of the first six books and having the face of the Edge change in my mind as changes took place. It was quite exhilarating to read through so many generations in a world that was constantly changing, from geological changes to introductions of new species and places in the Edge that we hadn’t heard of before. Again, the ties started way back in book 1 continued to tie together in these three books. It was like a big giant puzzle trying to figure out how every character fit together and why some sounded familiar as you were reading. It was truly a powerful read and this trilogy, like the others didn’t shy away from blood and violence and death.
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (5/5)
Plot: Once again transported into the future, this book takes place about 500 years after The Rook Trilogy. We see a world completely transformed, where people live in the Deepwoods and harvest stormphrax from the ground where it sank through the Twilight Woods’ ground. We meet Nate Quarter, a recent orphan, who finds himself run out of his familiar life when his friend is murdered trying to save him. Things keep going wrong for Nate. He meets a number of interesting characters and settles into a life in a city of Great Glade, only to find his life upturned once again and set him on the run with a growing ensemble of former librarians, old sky pirates and various creatures. The story follow’s Nate’s journey to clear his name, his friend Eudoxnia’s journey to find her kidnapped father, a former librarian’s journey to find his brother who is missing, and the general question of the disappearances of entire towns of woodtrolls and slaughterers and other natives to the Deepwoods.
Review: I indeed read this as if it were the last book in the series. It is twice the size of any other other books, and condenses what could have been a full trilogy into one hefty novel. This world is completely unrecognizable to the world that Twig introduced us to. This world is darker but grander and has more to offer when it comes to the ties to previous characters. Nate is a highly likable character to be the protagonist, and he creates a great band of misfits into a family not of blood but of experiences together. It was paced perfectly, and somehow all of the questions I had been building up from the previous nine books were almost all answered by the time I reached the end. I also found myself completely flabbergasted by the amazing plot twist near the end of this book. I hadn’t seen it coming and yet it was so simple that it completely threw me in an amazing way that I haven’t been completely surprised since I read Harry Potter. It almost made me not want to read the (possibly) last trilogy that isn’t quite complete yet, because this was such a lovely ending and it tied together just about everything that I was questioning. I do, however, want to read the (probably) last three books once the final one is released!