Stormchaser by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Review by Floresiensis
On board the Stormchaser, Twig, a young crewmember drawn by destiny to join the sky pirates, is filled with excitement at the adventure ahead. Their quest is to collect stormphrax – a valuable substance created inside the heart of the storm.
Stormchaser is the second book in The Twig Trilogy, a fantasy series for older children / young adults. Written by Paul Stewart and illustrated by Chris Riddell, it forms part of the Edge Chronicles, a series that has sold almost one and half million copies worldwide.
Beyond the Deepwoods (the first book in the trilogy) was an all-action, fast-paced adventure that introduced us to the characters and locations that would inhabit the series. It was a fine read in itself but Stormchaser takes the series to another level – it is a book which surpasses its predecessor in every department.
Characterisation is the strength that is most evident, the existing characters take on a life of their own and Stewart and Riddell make two fantastic additions to the cast, in the form of the odious Vilnix Pompolnius and the unforgettable Screed Toe-taker.
“With his leather bag full of bloody booty clasped in his bony hand, Screed Toe-taker picked his way across the Mire. Far away in front of him, the moon glinted on the wreck of a sky ship which lay half-buried in the mud like a giant skeleton. Unblinking, Screed kept his eyes fixed on the glinting ribs of the broken hull. Closer and closer he came. Not once did he falter. Not once did he look back.
Chapter 6: Screed Toe-taker
Chris Riddell’s illustrations are once again the perfect companion to the narrative and the turning of every page is filled with a sense of anticipation as the reader eagerly discovers which character or location has benefitted from the beautiful line drawings.
Stormchaser is also about relationships. Twig and his father, Twig and the Stone Pilot, Twig and his fellow crew members (Tem Barkwater and Hubble the Banderbear to name but two). As the crew of the Sky ship set of to attempt to retrieve stormphrax, a valuable substance that will help to weigh down the floating city of Sanctaphrax and so keep it from breaking its anchor chains, these relationships play out amidst great adventure and wondrous settings.
Stormchaser is the best book in The Twig Trilogy, everything is perfect – the characters, the setting, the plot, the illustrations – and reading it is a pure delight.
Note to authors – Please, please, please give the poor Banderbears a break!
The Twig Trilogy is completed in the third and final book, Midnight over Sanctaphrax.
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.
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