The Last of the Sky Pirates by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Review by Floresiensis
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell’s The Last of the Sky Pirates was first published in Great Britain by Doubleday - an imprint of Random House Children’s Books - in 2002. The first book in The Rook Sequence, the trilogy is completed by Vox and Freeglader.
Rook Barkwater lives in the network of sewer-chambers beneath Undertown, the bustling main city of the Edgeworld. He dreams of becoming a librarian knight and, breaking all the rules, grabs his chance when it comes, setting out on a perilous journey to the Free Glades and beyond. Then, buried in the heart of the Deepwoods, Rook encounters a mysterious character – the last sky pirate – and is thrust into a bold adventure that dares to challenge the might of the dread Guardians of Night…
The Edge Chronicles are quite an achievement: to have written so many novels and to have kept the standard so high is an accomplishment that both authors deserve great both credit and admiration for. The Last of the Sky Pirates is amongst the best in this excellent series, right up there with Stormchaser and Midnight over Sanctaphrax.
As we follow Rook through the sewers of Undertown and beyond the Deepwoods we find the author’s right on top of their game. The new story and characters and the now familiar locations combine to powerful effect and those who have previously read and enjoyed The Twig Trilogy will be delighted to learn that there is closure to his tale within.
The story itself is classic fantasy: a youngster, orphaned and seemingly unremarkable embarks on an adventure of a lifetime. What makes these books so brilliant is how the story is told and depicted, the narrative and the illustrations exude quality and you would be hard-pressed to find any better example of the ideal fantasy books for older children.
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell are bang on form with this outing, creating an involving and exciting tale of heroism, friendship and discovery which is perfect for ages 11+. Very highly recommended and it even makes the life of a librarian seem exciting…
The chronological order of The Edge Chronicles has always been a slight source of confusion. There is of course an excellent time-line on the official site - www.stewartandriddell.co.uk/edge/ - that helps clear things up and using that as my guide I have put together my recommended reading order:
The Curse of the Gloamglozer (The Quint Sequence)
The Winter Knights (The Quint Sequence)
Clash of the Sky Galleons (The Quint Sequence)
Beyond the Deepwoods (The Twig Sequence)
Stormchaser (The Twig Sequence)
Midnight over Sanctaphrax (The Twig Sequence)
The Last of the Sky Pirates (The Rook Sequence)
Vox (The Rook Sequence)
Freeglader (The Rook Sequence)
The Lost Barkscrolls
Paul Stewart is an author of books for young readers and 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 Edge Chronicles series which has sold over a million books and is now available in over thirty languages.
Chris Riddell is a graphic artist who has illustrated many 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.
The Edge Chronicles Fan Club
You can join the free Edge Chronicles Fan Club by visiting this web address: www.kidsatrandomhouse.co.uk/edgechronicles
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