Note: The wrap-up for Series Week will be on Tuesday because Monday is my busiest day and I won’t have the time.
The Immortals is the tenth (tenth chronologically) and last book in The Edge Chronicles. It was published in 2009.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“Nate Quarter is a lowly lamplighter in the phraxmines of the Eastern Woods, until treachery forces him to flee for his life—to the mighty city of Great Glade.
But these are turbulent times. In far-off Hive—the spectacular city founded by the goblin tribes—the clan leaders are preparing for war. And out beyond the dread Nightwoods, in the fabled gardens of Riverrise, a one-eyed waif jealously guards the life-giving waters of the mystical Riverrise spring…
Swept up in the maelstrom that follows, Nate and a small band of intrepid friends must set off on an epic journey that will lead them into terrible peril.
And all the while, from over the Edge cliff itself, a storm unlike any ever seen before is building—a storm that is to roll across the land, bringing both echoes of the past and the promise of a new beginning…”
“I’m Ambris Hentadile, otherwise known as the Professor. And you are?”
“Nate,” said the youth, his gaze still on the tiny portrait round the commander’s neck. “Nate Quarter.”
“Quarter?” said the Professor with a delighted smile. He pushed his spectacles up onto the bridge of his nose. “By Earth and Sky, that’s a coincidence.”
“Coincidence?” said Nate.
“Barkwater—Bar-kwater,” said the Professor, pronouncing the second half of the name carefully. “Over the centuries, the Barkwater name became shortened to Quarter. It’s a common enough occurrence with the old Free Glades names. ‘Pentephraxis’ to ‘Rackis’; ‘Pompulnius’ to ‘Pulnix’—and so on. Who knows, you might even be distantly related to the great Rook Barkwater himself, Nate Quarter!”
“They continued down the path, which wound through a grove of copperwoods, until they reached a tall ironwood pine. Squall stopped. Nate looked up, but saw nothing at first. As he squinted more closely into the dense foliage, though, he caught sight of a vessel moored to a lower branch—a medium-sized phraxlighter with an underslung phraxchamber and twin side funnels. Above it, on a timber platform lashed to the tree trunk, was a workshop, complete with hanging furnace, bellows, forge bench, tool racks and phraxlanterns.”
Recommended Age Range: 14+
What I Liked:
The first thing I thought of when I started reading: Hey, it’s steampunk! This reads very much like a steampunk Edge Chronicles; it takes place 500 years after the Rook trilogy and technology has advanced a lot. Of course, it’s not technically steampunk, but it had a steampunk-feel to it. I guess you could call it…phraxpunk?
I loved all the references to the past and to the three trilogies—characters, events, places, etc. I also liked the fact that this could be a stand-alone book; you don’t have to read the first nine to read this one. Stewart explains it all very well without getting too expository.
The ending of the book was, I think, the best part. The final battle was, if a bit anticlimactic, at least very cool to read, and the final illustration made my mouth drop open (in a good way). It leaves the possibility of (even more) sequels open.
What I Didn’t Like:
This book is loooonnnnng. It’s easily three times longer than any other Edge book. It’s about four books in one. And, unfortunately, it really drags in a few places. Time also passes pretty quickly in some parts, which might jolt you a little bit if you’re reading one chapter and then the next takes place six months later.
The title of the book is pretty significant to the plot, but I don’t quite see what the point was. The Immortals show up in two scenes and it’s all very mystical and all I can think is, “What’s the point?” The Immortals seemed to be thrown in there for two reasons: 1.) I can’t say because it’s a spoiler and 2.) to be a deus ex machina. Sure, it tied together all the trilogies, but all I could think was that Stewart could have done it better.
The Immortals finishes by leaving the Edge a peaceful place at last, but this was also done with Freeglader, and so Freeglader can easily stand as the close of the series. And in my opinion, Freeglader is better.
The Immortals ties together all three trilogies and serves as a decent ending to the Edge Chronicles, although its length and some of the plot points really drag the story along. The final illustration, however, is very worthy of a last book, and, in my opinion, was the best part of the whole thing.
Coming Up Next: The Series Week wrap-up on Tuesday!