Saturday, August 10, 2013

Memorable Worlds: The Edge


My Experience with this World: 

When I was younger, my mom would sometimes bring home books for her to read. Often she'd tell me to keep my nose out of them ... but sometimes they looked so good, I just had to peek.

One of these books was The Last of the Sky Pirates, book 5 of the Edge Chronicles. I read bits and pieces of it, but it went back to the library before I could digest enough of it for it to really stick with me. A few years later, I graduated to YA, and mom handed the first book, Beyond the Deepwoods to me. It had been a while since reading 5, so I had forgotten about it, but the book struck me as familiar, especially when it came to the art. At the same time, it was very different, since there were no underground canals, just trees that want to eat you. I liked the book, so I continued the series.

With each book, I became more convinced that I had probably read a book of the series before, or at least something with the same illustrator. When I came to 5 and found the canals, I knew for certain.

I haven't read all of the books yet, indeed it was only recently that I put my hands on 7, but I do intend to finish the series eventually.

I have however, played around on the official website, even gaining an Edge name for myself - Speegspeel Thornwood. Like it?


To my knowledge, this is never discussed.


I was going to post the map from the official site, but I discovered that it was animated and interactive, so I'll just point you to it.

The Edge is another small world with a lot packed into it. The place itself is best described as a cliff with no mountain attached. There are seven main sections ... or at least, there is in six of the seven books. (There is a huge change in landmarks partway through the series, which is the reason I couldn't find the underground canals in the first four books. They weren't there. BTW, this series, like Narnia, has two orders, publication and chronological. I've read them in publication order, and that's the numbers I've been giving you. By chronological order, I've read all but books 2, 3, and 10.)

First you have the Deepwoods, which is a treacherous place even if you know your way around. If you don't ... well let's just hope that you have a gentle death. Many creatures live here, both friendly and not-so-friendly. Even the plants are dangerous - many, such as the bloodwood, want to eat you!

And then you come to the Twilight Woods, which are twice as dangerous. You won't die there, but there's a ninety-five percent chance that you'll never leave. It has a mind-numbing atmosphere that makes you forget why you came and most of everything else you know. However, as I've said before, you can't die there. Nearby, you find the Edgelands, where it's easy to fall off.

The Mire is next, which is a nearly-uninhabitable patch of ooze and mud which takes up a good chunk real estate.

If you can get across the Mire, you come to Undertown, which is the big city. It is actually built on top of the mire, and it's not a nice place to live either. It is filthy, dirty, rundown and everyone wants your money. Floating above it is Santaphrax, where all the academics and their books live.

Beyond that is the Stone Gardens where stones grow until they get too big and float away.

Yes, I said float away. That's the charm of this world! Many rocks and woods are buoyant and will float away if they aren't tied down. Or at least, they do until the Stone Sickness strikes between books 3 and 5. (4 takes place before 1)

Peoples and Culture:

There is no way that I'll be able to talk about all of the delightful (and not so delightful) creatures and peoples of the Edge. I'm not sure there are humans, rightfully, but the species of the main characters is never explained, so I assume that they are. Many of these "humans" are academics, and they live in Sanctaphrax. Others are merchants, and many are Sky Pirates, and they fly around on boats held up by the floating rocks. This changes after the stonesickness, unfortunately.

The Wood Trolls live in the Deepwoods, and they are a kindly folk. They make their living copping wood - especially the more dangerous ones - and their life's creed is "to never stray from the path."

There are Oak Elves. And banish both the folklore and Tolkien images of Elves out of your mind, for these are small creatures who look more like the green guy on Star Wars (Yoda, isn't it). They're very wise and thoughtful.

And there are the Shrykes, which are bird-like creatures who are extremely matriarchal (Matriarchal societies are actually quite common on the Edge). There are some nice ones among them, but most of them are money-hungry and blood-thirsty.

And there are various types of goblins, many warlike and many peaceful homebodies. And there are waifs, who ears big enough to hear thoughts. And the Slaughters which are actually quite nice. And the Caterbirds .... I shall stop there.

What I like about this world:

The variety and high concept. Also the way that the author(s?) were able to make such a huge change (the stonesickness) and remove one of the most charming elements, and yet keep the magic and charm of the world.

What I don't like:

I wish there were some nice, friendly, non-dangerous habitats where I could move to. I want to live there, but I don't think I could survive. 

What I learned from this world: 

It's okay to tell a world out of order. It's okay to step away from people's preconceived notions and make your elves look like Yoda instead of Elrond. It's fun to mess around with physics and make rock float.

I can't say that it has directly affected any of my writing, but it has affected my bravery in world building.

These world-building posts are for the promotion of the upcoming release of my book The Ankulen. Feel free to do one yourself, just make sure you refer back to my blog and let your readers know about my upcoming book. If you do write a post, post a link in a comment somewhere on my blog and I'll add you to a giveaway for a copy of my book.

1 comment:

  1. Reading these posts has made me want to visit the library and check out some of these worlds for myself!
    Interesting that Trolls would be some of the "good guys." Another instance of messing with preconceived notions, wot?

    Thanks for sharing!
    God bless,
    ~"Tom Wild Rose"~


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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