Note: Bear in mind that there will be minor spoilers from here on out.
Stormchaser is the second book (fifth chronologically) in The Edge Chronicles. It was published in 1999 by Random House and is the second in the Twig trilogy.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“Far, far away, jutting out into the emptiness beyond, lies the Edge. Both the land and the air are filled with strange peoples and terrifying creatures; action—and danger—await at every turn. On board the famous sky ship Stormchaser, Twig eagerly looks forward to the adventure and excitement that lie ahead in his new life as a sky pirate. The crew’s quest: to collect stormphrax—the precious substance created at the heart of a Storm the very moment it unleashes its most intense power. Only a sky ship as powerful as the Stormchaser, piloted by a man as brave and fearless as Cloud Wolf, could risk entering such a storm…”
“It was midday and Undertown was bustling. Beneath the pall of filthy mist which hovered over the town, fuzzing the rooftops and dissolving the sun, its narrow streets and alleyways were alive with feverish activity.
There was ill-tempered haggling and bartering; buskers played music, barrow-bows called out unmissable bargains, beggars made their pitiful demands from dark, shadowy corners—though there were few who paused to place coin in their hats. Rushing this way and that, everyone was far too wrapped up in their own concerns to a spare a thought for anyone else.
Getting from a to b as quickly as possible, being first to nail a deal, obtaining the best price while undercutting your competitors—that was what succeeding in Undertown was all about. You needed nerves of steel and eyes in the back of your head to survive; you had to learn to smile even as you were stabbing someone else in the back. It was a rough life, a tough life, a ruthless life.
It was an exhilarating life.”
Warnings: There are some creepy and disgusting and disturbing creatures that do creepy and disgusting and disturbing things.
Recommended Age Range: 12+ (although be aware that there are a few scary/violent/creepy parts)
What I Liked:
The plot is much better developed than in Beyond the Deepwoods. We get to see more of the various creatures and cultures that inhabit the Edge, going beyond the Deepwoods (ha) to visit four more places, each with their unique population and customs. There’s a lot more conflict and tension and even the writing style has changed to become more tight-knit and enjoyable. Riddell’s drawings are fantastic, even when they get slightly gory, really capturing the tone and setting of the book. Stormchaser is quite an improvement over the first book, which is a good sign for the rest of the series.
What I Didn’t Like:
Twig’s and his father’s interactions can get a bit melodramatic at times. Their conversations are perhaps the least developed in the book, in my own opinion.
Stormchaser continues the brilliant, beautiful worldbuilding that was first glimpsed in Beyond the Deepwoods, while improving on plot, conflict, writing, and overall enjoyment.
Coming Up Next: Midnight Over Sanctaphrax