BOOK TITLE: The Last of the Sky Pirates (The Edge Chronicles #5)
AUTHOR: Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell
Howdy again! My adventure through this world of the Edge Chronicles continues in a very interesting manner. I have recently purchased the 5th (or at least chronologically the 5th-I’m still a little bit confused with how this series should be read) book and this time I had the surprise to find yet another new character taking the front spot. You shall meet young Rook Barkwater, during The Second Age of Flight when the world is a little bit different from the one in the previous book of the series.
He is an under-librarian in Undertown (if you are not familiar with the title or the place, trust me, you will soon become) and even from the first pages you can notice that there is something special about him; a nicely built character, full of selflessness and devotion to knowledge – I think that would impress any book reader. His thirst for knowing more is highlighted and even if he is so young he seems to be willing to try everything in order to discover something new about the world he is living in (needless to say how much I admire such bravery – wish I could have been that brave when I was his age). He is underprivileged but he tries to make the best of everything. Thus, he embarks on an adventure he never thought he would have, only dreamt of, together with two other brave comrades – Magda Burlix and Stob Lummus.
They set on a dangerous journey, trying to escape the sewers of Undertown and reach the Free Glades. On the way they encounter numerous intriguing characters and some less savvy. I would like to mention the shrykes (the creatures on the Great Mire Road) who are terribly vicious and who in a very ironic way remind me of clerks from my own country; once they think they have the power they use it reckless and abusive without acknowledging the others or any of their needs, they are strict and uncompassionate and also extremely arrogant even if there seems to be no reason they should think so highly of themselves. This is a part of the book I greatly enjoyed because I felt it was so similar to the world we live in (like a metaphor regarding our world) and it exposed the corruption and the abuse that people face every day while trying to do simple things like picking up a package or paying their bills.
The three of them manage to surpass the difficulties that emerge on the journey and you will encounter a diversity of creatures and personalities which really spice up the book. I will leave it up to you to discover where their steps carry them and what surprises lay ahead and I will make only one more mention – the banderbears; exquisite creatures with whom Rook will develop an interesting connection whilst studying them. They are a perfect example of loyalty and elegance, they are just majestic and when you read the book I believe you will understand what picture I am trying to paint here.
I stand by the points which I loved in the previous book, such as the entanglement of drawings amongst the text, painting such a vivid portrait of all the characters in the book. Again, the diversity of creatures and places in this book is perfect and extraordinary! I like how you as a reader can discover new things and at the same time get the feeling that they are right where they should be, making perfect sense, like you knew them forever.
As for the favourite character(s)… obviously Rook, the main one. He is brave and curious, two adjectives which I think describe best every person who reads; he embarks on an adventure that promises a lot but at the same time is known to be full of perils, yet that does not scare him. And let’s face it, he is training to become a librarian knight – who would say no to that?! So I totally comprehend his thirst for adventure and for becoming more than the others think he is, thus I identify myself with him. I also like Magda, though she wasn’t that much developed as a character, but I think that many interesting stories hide behind her. There are also other interesting characters (spoiler – some of them are banderbears!), but I believe it’s best if you discover them by yourself (one honourable mention is Xanth; he is introduced in one of the chapters and he is quite an interesting villain).
As a downside, the only one I can think of right now, would be the length and development of the action (again). There were parts where I would have liked to know a little more about the character in question or about what happened before or what is going to happen after.
We have arrived at the end of my little review and I hope that I convinced you all to give this book (or series, even better!) a try. It will be good for the child inside you and for the grown-up who is encouraging that child to still be present. Again, this book is a striking metaphor of our own society, but in a much more colorful and extravagant world than that in which we live. It is an easy read so you won’t have a hard time finishing those pages.
Overall rating: 4 stars (this is because of those extra pages I wish it had)
Goodreads link: The Last of the Sky Pirates