Midnight over Sanctaphrax by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Review by Floresiensis
A ferocious storm threatens the magnificent city of Sanctaphrax. Only Twig knows of the approaching danger. But his perilous voyage destroys his sky ship, hurling his crew beyond the Deepwoods, and robbing Twig of all memory...
Midnight over Sanctaphrax is the third and final instalment in The Twig Trilogy by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. The adventure that began in Beyond the Deepwoods, and continued in Stormchaser, is now brought to its triumphant conclusion.
The Twig Trilogy has been an uninhibited journey into the fantastic, a voyage made captivating by an author and illustrator working together in faultless harmony. The three books are all subtly different and complement each other perfectly. Beyond the Deepwoods, Stormchaser and Midnight over Sanctaphrax should be read in order for maximum enjoyment and should also be read soon!
Your standard run-of-the-mill fantasy book has its hero and their band of loyal allies, their fellowship. The Twig Trilogy has this, but then, member-by-member, the fellowship is allowed to die, only to be replaced with characters every bit as strong as Twig recruits his new crew. This is the first time I have come across a series that was brave enough to do this.
What is even more daring and impressive is that during the final book a character called Cowlquape is introduced, a character that is almost another lead. When Cowlquape entered the story it was like a new beginning, a breath of fresh air. The following excerpt is taken from the moment of his entrance into the story.
‘I … I was just going,’ said Cowlquape, all fingers and thumbs as he gathered up his bundle of scrolls. He hurried off down the rubble-strewn walkway.
’Undertown scum!’ Vox’s voice floated after him.
Barely fifteen years old, Cowlquape was small for his age. He was lowest in the pecking order of Sanctaphrax – slopping out the latrines was just one of his jobs. He was at the beck and call of any who had a menial task that needed performing: running errands for the various sub-professors, mistsifting and windgrading, helping to maintain the spotless and gleaming appearance of the floating city.
Midnight over Sanctaphrax: Chapter 5 – Cowlquape
Midnight over Sanctaphrax is an excellent fantasy book, one that gives the trilogy the finale it deserves. Although I think that Stormchaser is the best book in the series (thanks mainly to Screed Tor-taker and Vilnix Pompolnius) this comes a close second.
Paul Stewart is a highly regarded author of books for younger readers – everything from picture books to football stories, fantasy and horror. Together with Chris Riddell, he is co-creator of the Far-Flung Adventures series, which includes Fergus Crane, Gold Smarties Prize Winner, and Corby Flood, Silver Nestle Prize Winner. They are of course also co-creators of the bestselling Edge Chronicles series that has sold over a million books and is now available in over thirty languages.
Chris Riddell is an accomplished graphic artist who has illustrated many acclaimed books for children, including Pirate Diary by Richard Platt, and Gulliver, which both won the Kate Greenaway Medal. Something Else by Kathryn Cave was shortlisted and Castle Diary by Richard Platt was Highly Commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal.
You can also join The Edge Chronicles Fan Club, it is free and features an excellent character gallery plus an interactive map and wallpaper downloads. Visit www.kidsatrandomhouse.co.uk/edgechronicles.
Firn from South Africa
In this brilliant book, Paul Stewart opens a door to his wonderful imagination and invites us inside. The originality of his world is striking, but despite the strangeness of it all, he manages to make the reader feel comfortable and at home in this new world. Twig is an inspiring hero, and all the characters are interesting and feel so real. A great read.
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