Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, then happy Thursday!
Freeglader is the seventh book (ninth chronologically) in The Edge Chronicles. It is the third and last in the Rook trilogy. It was published in 2004.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“Undertown is destroyed! Disheveled and homeless, those who once lived there—gnokgoblins, cloddertrogs, woodtrolls, waifs and many others—huddle by the ruins, preparing for a mass exodus across the Edgeworld to a new home in the Free Glades.
Rook Barkwater, a young librarian knight, knows the journey will be perilous—across the desolation of the Mire, through the swirling mists of the Edgelands and on into the treacherous Deepwoods. Vengeful shrykes are flocking to swoop on the travelers and predators are everywhere—wild muglumps, lumpskulls, spiderbats and flesh-eating plants.
For those who survive and attempt to forge new lives in the Free Glades, there are further dangers to come. For the Goblin Nations, hordes of bloodthirsty goblins, are gathering. Can Rook and his friends possibly withstand the goblin onslaught and preserve freedom in the Edgeworld?”
“It was getting dark—and not only because night was approaching, Rook realized with a jolt. The vast billowing form of the dark maelstrom was on the far horizon to the east, and looming ever closer.
The Undertowners must have noticed it too, for as Rook gazed back, too exhausted to move, he saw them climbing over the balustrades and clambering down the ironwood-pine struts of the Mire Road onto the mud below. All around, the bustle of feverish activity became more desperate, and the air grew thick with urgent cries and screeched demands. He scanned the balustrades for any sign of his friends, the banderbears, but it was impossible to pick them out in the milling throng.”
“As he entered the cavernous, vaulted chamber of the new Great Library, Rook’s heart missed a beat. It was even more impressive from within than without. Tall tree-pillars stood in lines, hundreds in total and each one with a little plaque at its base. Rook looked up into the shadowy roof space, where the tree-pillars divided and sub-divided into branchlike sections, each one housing a different category. This was where the scrolls were stored, high up in the well-ventilated, pest-free upper reaches.
The whole place was a hive of activity. At ground level, and up on raised platforms around the walls, research was already in progress, with bent-backed academics poring over treatises and scrolls and laboring over work of their own. In the central areas, the activity was more frenetic, with innumerable librarians scaling the tree-pillars, winching themselves along the branches in their hanging-baskets and loading up the clusters of leather tubes where the individual barkscrolls were stored.”
Recommended Age Range: 12+ (with a few violent scenes that may be more suited for 14+)
What I Liked:
Freeglader is a great finish to the Rook trilogy. There are battles, trials, rebels—everything you need to make lots of action and thrills.
Xanth is really fleshed out in this book. He is, I believe, the most nuanced, most well-developed character in the series. Rook, too, has some shiny moments of character development in this book as well.
The battles in this book were very well-done. A bit violent, but the way they ended was satisfying. The end of the last battle, in particular, was, I thought, appropriate (as well as a bit…scary). Also, there was a realistic ratio of deaths (some authors hate killing off the characters on the good side).
I loved the continuity of this book and how it relates to the previous two trilogies (and not just with recurring characters).
What I Didn’t Like:
There’s one point in the book involving a trial where one character comes bursting in at the last minute to save the person on trial. It’s very Deus ex machina, especially considering the events surrounding that character.
There are a few cheesy/corny/hard-to-read-without-wincing lines in the book (specifically, the entire battle with the shrykes where the roost mother says nothing but variations of “KAR” and “KI” for about three pages, mostly in caps).
Freeglader ends the Rook trilogy fantastically, with plenty of action (and down-time in between), suspense, and even character development. It is, in my opinion, perhaps the best book in the series, capping off the best trilogy in the series.
Coming Up Next: The Winter Knights