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The Edge Chronicles, #1

by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: June 22nd, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-75068-4
Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Readers fond of nonstop adventures thickly stocked with variously clawed, tentacled, tusked, venomous, tattooed, insidious, blood-drinking, slime-vomiting plug-uglies will be in hog heaven over this imported series opener, trendily bound in a jacketless pictorial cover. Young Twig has grown up as the foundling child of a peaceable, none-too-bright pair of wood trolls. But he enters a different destiny when he strays off a marked path into the trackless Deepwoods, where challenges as diverse as the aptly named Halitoad, tribble/piranha hybrids dubbed Wigwigs, toothy Bloodoaks, and, most horrible of all, a cooing, preteen, makeover-happy Termagant Trog await. All will be escaped by the skin of his teeth and, as he's not particularly strong, brave, or clever, with the help of mysterious strangers. Rendered in realistic, gloriously obsessive detail in dozens of drawings, the monsters seem to leap (or ooze) to life-sometimes so vividly that Twig seems to fade into the background. By the end, though, he's eluded them all, reunited with his real father aboard a flying pirate ship, and is sailing off into the simultaneously published sequel, Stormchaser (ISBN: 0-385-75070-6), with more sequels to come. Good fun, though the supporting cast tends to overshadow the plot. (Fiction. 10-12)