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Literature / The Edge Chronicles

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Far far away, jutting out into the emptiness beyond, like the figurehead of a mighty stone ship, is the Edge.

The Edge Chronicles is a middle grade series written by Paul Stewart and illustrated by Chris Riddell. Surprisingly dark and cynical for its target audience, the novels take place on the Edge, as in the edge of the world. Filled with sky pirates, bizarre wildlife, and a notable aversion of many stock fantasy tropes, the series is highly recommended.

It should be noted that this series has some of the most detailed and beautiful art you will see in any novel, anywhere. Also some of the ugliest, also some of the scariest.

It consists of trilogies (each centered around a certain character) and some additional novels and side-stories.

The first trilogy stars Twig.

  • Beyond the Deepwoods (1998)
  • Stormchaser (1999)
  • Midnight over Sanctaphrax (2000)

The second centers on Rook Barkwater.

  • The Last of the Sky Pirates (2002)
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  • Vox (2003)
  • Freeglader (2004)

The third (prequel) trilogy stars Quint.

  • The Curse of the Gloamglozer (2001)
  • The Winter Knights (2005)
  • Clash of the Sky Galleons (2006)

A fourth trilogy takes place after The Immortals and stars a lad named Cade.

  • The Nameless One (2014)
  • Doombringer (2015)
  • The Descenders (due to be published in 2019)

Supplementary books and material include The Lost Barkscrolls (a short story collection), The Edge Chronicles Maps, The Immortals (a novel set about 500 years after Freeglader); The Sky Chart: A Book of Quint ()taking place after the Quint trilogy); and "Weird New Worlds", a story in blog form which takes place after The Immortals.


Tropes Used:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Vilnix Pompolnius only stayed in power due to his monopoly on phraxdust, and when that runs out...
    • Hemtuft Battleaxe, and later, Kulltuft Warhammer
  • Action Girl: Eudoxia in 'The Immortals', Varis and Magda in the Rook Trilogy. Maris could also qualify, but most of her action is off-screen between the Quint and Twig Trilogies.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Vox Verlix. He's hardly the worst villain in Vox and, whilst he was definately a Jerkass when he was younger, he only really becomes a villain because he has been betrayed by everyone he has ever worked with. In the end he dies a broken old man with his palace falling to pieces around him, betrayed once again - this time by the one person he thought was actually on his side. It is also interesting to note that the name of this book is Vox rather than, say, Rook.
    • To a lesser extent, Screed Toe-Taker. His final words, and his final smile, are a poignant contrast to his 20-odd years of murder. Then you meet him as a noble young man in The Winter Knights, and his final fate seems even more tragic.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Mostly averted. Even some of the more aggressive species, such as shrykes, flat-head goblins, and termagant trogs have individuals who side with the heroes, and most races have both good and evil members.
  • Amazon Brigade: Shrykes.
  • Androcles' Lion: Twig gains the friendship of all banderbears after helping one with a rotten tooth.
    • Subsequently, Rook also becomes a friend of banderbears after rescuing one from an evil slave-employing factory.
    • Nate in The Immortals also becomes a friend to banderbears after helping one with a rotten tooth, by using the Riverrise water he purchased to use on himself.
  • Angel Unaware: The Caterbird.
  • Anyone Can Die: As long as they aren't the main character, although the main character of one trilogy can die in the next.
  • A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: Vilnix Pompolnius to the Professor of Darkness.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From The Immortals:
    "Arrest?" said Felftis Brack cooly, backing away. "On what charges?"
    "Charges of fraud, embezzlement, blackmail, smuggling, false imprisonment, conspiracy to commit murder..."
    *Brack tries to flee, but runs into some sports players he hired and never paid, who throw him into a lake*
    "...And non-payment of the New Lake thousandsticks team," finished the constable.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Cloud Wolf. Also Twig and Rook, eventually.
  • As Long as There is Evil: The Gloamglozer to Quint.
    "So long as the strong pick on the weak, so long as fear is valued above tenderness, so long as hatred, envy, and mistrust divide the various creatures of the Edge, then I am indestructible!"
  • Asshole Victim: Thunderbolt Vulpoon in Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, though you can actually feel a bit sorry for him when he dies.
  • The Atoner: Xanth Filatine becomes this during Vox, and stays this until near the end of Freeglader.
  • Awesome Mccool Name: Many times;
    • Sky pirate captains either choose their own cool name of have one chosen by their father. Particularly impressive names belong to Thunderbolt Vulpoon and his son Deadbolt Vulpoon. Thunderbolt turns out to be a subversion, as he's a cowardly slaver, but Deadbolt turns out awesome enough to match his name.
    • Thaw Daggerslash is another subversion, although it does sort of fit; the dagger is the weapon of backstabbing and treachery.
    • Most other characters also have really cool names, even if they are just bit-parts. For example, there is the creepy slaver named Ilmus Pentaphraxis. Vox Verlix also has a pretty cool name for a Fat Bastard.
    • Averted with Twig, although he doesn't seem to care. Besides, he does get an Awesome Mccool Name at the end of Stormchaser - Arborinus Verginix.
    "What sort of name is Twig for the son of Quintinius Verginix, the finest sky pirate to ever sail the heavens blue?"
    "It's my name."
  • Badass Bookworm: Badass Scholars, really, but: Librarian Knights and Knights Academic. Ambris Hentadile also deserves a mention, as does Bungus Septrill.
  • Badass Crew: Sky pirate crews.
  • Badass Beard: Tem Barkwater and Fenbrus Lodd
  • Badass Family: The Verginix family.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The low-bellied goblins are one of the more peaceful species in a brutal world, but drive them too far and they can turn nasty, as the despotic clan leaders found out the hard way...
  • Big Bad:
    • Stormchaser: Vilnix Pompolnius.
    • The Last of the Sky Pirates and Vox: Orbix Xaxis.
    • Freeglader: Hemuel Spume.
    • The Immortals: Golderayce One-Eye.
    • The gloamglozer is this for the series as a whole.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Any and all conversations involving Banderbears.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism:
    • Female Termagant Trogs are hulking, ill-tempered bald amazons, while their male counterparts are small, skinny, and passive.
    • Shrykes play on the reality that females are larger than males in many predatory bird species by having the females being large, fierce and very aggressive. Males, or "shryke-mates", are invariably referred to as "weedy" or "pitiful", and are usually pictured as scrawny little things being hauled around on collars.
  • Body Horror: Hoverworm venom makes you inflate like a ballon, float into the sky, and eventually pop. Also noteworthy is the fate of Hax Vostillix in The Winter Knights: tricked into eating woodwasp eggs, which hatch inside him and sting their way out.
  • Brick Joke: Overlapping with Continuity Nod. The League-Master's round table is seen in Stormchaser first, and gets shattered by a falling weight near the start of Midnight over Sanctaphrax, and then in Vox, several books later, Rook finds himself in the palace, and notices an odd round table, that had at one point been snapped in half and then crudely bolted back together.
    • Happens again in Vox and The Immortals. Vox Verlix has the head of his own statue hurled through one of the skylights in the Palace of Shadows in Vox, and it reappears in The Immortals when Nate goes to meet his mother's brother, the Professor of Flight, who is apparently related to the lesser-known half of the Verlix clan. The Professor states that it was dug out of a pile of broken masonry in Old Undertown (the ruin of the Palace of Statues).
  • The Bully: Vox Verlix in Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, Branxford Drew in The Immortals.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The first few books were chock full of original creatures with a light smattering of Mix-and-Match Critters, but as the series progressed the number of normal animals with "wood" tacked onto the beginning of the name increased. Woodbees, woodturkeys, woodwolves...
  • The Cavalry: The Freeglade Lancers.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Caterbird.
    • Quint's portrait, more than once. It plays an important part in the Quint and Rook trilogies, The Slaughterer's Quest, and The Immortals.
    • The Skyraider.
    • Vox Verlix.
    • Honestly, if anything gets mentioned even in passing by a random unnamed creature, it'll be important at the end of the book. Also, any character given a name and doesn't die is guaranteed to return at some point.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Cowlquape.
  • Child Soldiers: The series loves this trope. We have the academics-at-arms in the Quint trilogy, the Librarian Knights and some of the Freeglade Lancers in the Rook trilogy, and at one point Nate and Eudoxia (and probably some others) in The Immortals. Results in a case of Fridge Horror when you read about the horrible fates some of them suffer and then remember how old they are.
  • Cool Ship: Any sky ship of any sort, period.
  • Continuity Nod: All over The Immortals. For example, the scene where Nate meets Weelum is very similar to the one in Beyond the Deepwoods where Twig meets the first banderbear to appear in the series.
    • Another example appears in the final story in The Lost Barkscrolls anthology, when the main characters visit the ruins of the Foundry Glades and find the skeleton of Amberfuce in the cauldron he was boiled alive in at the end of Freeglader.
    • A subtle one in Midnight Over Sanctaphrax when Flabsweat, a minor character in the previous book, gets a passing mention.
    • Played with in The Last of the Sky Pirates. When Rook is talking to Deadbolt Vulpoon, the latter mentions how his father gave his life to save Twig in the last trilogy. It didn't quite happen like that.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Leagues of Undertown are full of these.
  • Corrupt Quartermaster: Many of them.
  • Darker and Edgier: To the average story of this kind. So very much.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Slaughters and the Professor of Darkness sound like evil people... but the Slaughters are merely the red-colored, happy-go-lucky professional butchers of the Edgewoods, while the Professor of Darkness studies literal darkness (as in, the absence of light).
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Professor.
  • Death World: The Deepwoods especially, but the entire Edge can be considered this, from a filthy bog full of predators to a forest that turns you into a zombie. Even the towns are almost like this.
    • So everyone in the series is living on the edge of disaster.
  • Decapitation Presentation: The goblin clan leaders get all their heads on a pike and shown as part of the goblins surrender to the Freegladers. They deserved it.
    • The same thing happens to Kulltuft Warhammer in The Immortals, except this time it is presented in a far more negative light. The culprit is even sentenced to capital punishment by being thrown over a waterfall in a barrel.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Are they ever! If by some miracle a main character's parents are still around when the story begins, you can bet they probably won't make it to the end of the trilogy.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Maris's attitude toward Quint in Curse of the Gloamglozer.
    • Maugin, the stone pilot, is a possible Zig-Zagged example. In Beyond the Deepwoods the stone pilot never spoke, just grunted when moving the flight rock, We never even found out if they were male or female, due to the wording of the text. And that was it until they got to the mire in Stormchaser. Once she started actually talking to Twig, it became apparent she had plenty of reasons to hide her face. Nevertheless she still becomes more open in general; And doesn't hesitate to ditch the suit in front of Twig's crew, as opposed to wearing it all the time aboard the Stormchaser.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: The Gloamglozer is essentially a Captain Ersatz of Satan, and all he's interested in is playing petty (albeit deadly) tricks on people. Averted later when he's much more dangerous in subsequent portrayals.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Minor example between Twig and Maugin in Stormchaser. While trapped in the Mire, Twig and the Stone Pilot work on making a wrecked ship skyworthy again. After several days' hard work, the pair sit down to enjoy dinner for the evening, whereupon she spots a shooting star and tells Twig to make a wish, to which he responds that he already has. It's later revealed that his wish was for them to return to the skies, but the framing of the scene suggests that he may have kissed her, at least.
  • Dirty Communists: Averted with the Freeglades. If this series was written during the Cold War, it might have been called Communist propaganda. Though they're not really affiliated with Soviet Russia per se in any way, the Freeglades' society is basically communism that works - everybody works honestly, money has been made unnecessary, and everyone is happy. (By contrast, many of the villains are ruthless capitalists.)
  • Doorstopper: The Immortals is essentially a sequence of four novels (one for each city; Great Glade, Hive, Riverrise, and the Edge/Old Sanctaphrax) all bound together as a single book.
    • The special editions of each trilogy in one volume count too.
  • Disney Villain Death: Vilnix Pompolnius in Stormchaser.
    • Also Thunderbolt Vulpoon. Though it wasn't the fall that killed him - he is eaten alive by Wig-Wigs.
  • Dwindling Party: in Stormchaser. Twig, the Stone Pilot, and Cloud Wolf are the only crewmembers to survive the book - and Cloud Wolf doesn't last much longer.
  • Dystopia: The Old Undertown.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The fact the slavery is illegal is really the only limit on the Leagues' power in Undertown, although some still keep slaves anyway.
  • The Evil Genius: Vox Verlix.
  • Evil Plan: Enacted by both Vox Verlix and Thaw Daggerslash.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Tower of Night.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Gloamglozer is one. Until you learn that it was created, in part, by Maris's father.
    • The Rogue Glister. No questions.
  • Emotion Eater: The Gloamglozer and the glisters, especially the Rogue Glister.
  • Enemy Civil War: In Vox, the goblins and shrykes hate each other almost as much as they hate the good guys.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: That more or less sums up the plot of the first book.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Guess what Screed Toe-Taker's gimmick is.
  • Eye Scream: The glister from "Curse of the Gloamglozer" attacks its victims by holding them down and forcing tendrils into their eyes. Surprisingly, it's quite painful.
  • Fantastic Racism: Thaw Daggerslash.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted in The Immortals.
  • Fat Bastard: Vox Verlix.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Twilight Woods make you both immortal and insane.
  • Feathered Fiend: Shrykes.
    • Vulpoons are also unpleasant.
  • First Girl Wins: Maris, Sinew, Magda, and Eudoxia. Ladies, we're looking at you.
  • Floating Continent: Sanctaphrax, though technically it's only a city.
  • Foreshadowing: many times.
    • A decidedly unsubtle example when Twig tries heart charming in Beyond the Deepwoods. The idea is that a stick placed in the middle of a drawn heart falls to point towards his destiny. Instead it stays pointing upwards. This is Lampshaded later when Twig meets the sky pirates.
    • The Winter knights has a scene in the Loftus Observatory that foreshadows both The Cloudeater and Maris and Quint nearly falling to their death
    • Throughout Clash of the Sky Galleons are scenes where pieces of the Bringer of Doom are being made. One is even a Chekhov's Gun for it's eventual destruction. Also, almost every appearance of Thaw Daggerslash gives clues that he isn't as charming as he acts at first. The Reveal at the end is really no surprise at all when it comes.
    • The Last of the Sky Pirates has a scene early on that reveals Twig left for parts unknown instead of scuttling his ship.
    • The fireball that hits Rook in Vox is actually a prototype of the real weapon Vox intends to use to destroy Undertown and New Sanctaphrax.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend:
    • Rudd the cloddertrog in The Immortals, who looked out for Nate in the mining stockade ever since his father died, is killed watching his back in a bar fight gone horribly wrong, and is mentioned maybe twice, if that, in the rest of the book.
    • Cloud Wolf's original crew. They die/get lost in the Twilight Woods one by one during Stormchaser except for the Stone Pilot. Only Tem is ever mentioned again.
    • Averted with Twig's crew. He never forgets any of them, and it's clear how guilty he feels about their fates.
  • For the Evulz: The reason the Gloamglozer does anything.
  • Gambit Pile Up: In Vox, all the enemy factions make their move at the same time to kill the librarians and each other; however, the librarians survive because the others were lured into a trap by the eponymous character. In the end, however, Vox himself is out-gambitted by the two he trusted the most.
  • Gentle Giant: Any banderbear.
  • Ghost Town: Screetown in the Rook Barkwater stories - Felix Lodd's group of freedom fighters even get called "the Ghosts of Screetown".
  • Giant Flyer: The caterbird is the Deus ex Machina type.
  • Happily Ever After: Violently averted. The heroes of the trilogies tend to go through some nasty shit offscreen once their stories are over, and often die onscreen in another trilogy. In Quint's case that's a Foregone Conclusion, since his story is a prequel.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Xanth Filatine.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Twig with Sinew and Maugin.
  • Hotblooded Sideburns: Chris Riddell seems to be very fond of these.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: It's a little more complicated, but fourthlings are essentially this.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to one of the waif guides on the Thorn Trail. It's implied that he's not the only one.
  • Improbable Age: Each trilogy focuses on a character in their early teens saving, if not always the world, then at least their home city.
  • I Was Named "My Name": An understandably rare human example where Twig is captured as a pet for a Termagant Trog, while pretending to be unable to speak he starts chanting "Twig, Twig, Twig." which causes her to decide this is a good name for him.
  • Jerkass: Vilnix Pompolnius is probably the best and most obvious example. He spent his days at the knight's academy alienating everyone, sabotaging and poisoning fellow students for fun and even killed someone in the most horrible way. Then when he is ruler of Sanctaphrax he has to wear nails in his shoes to stay as much of a jerkass because the luxuries is softening him in a smug way.
    • Branxford Drew as well.
    • Young Vox in Midnight Over Sancthaphrax would count.
  • Karmic Death: Frequently used.
    • Vilnix Pompolnius falls to his death in a Sanctaphrax basket whilst trying to escape from a mob of angry academics and Twig.
    • Mother Muleclaw falls to be devoured (offscreen) by Wig-wigs in the Wig-wig Arena.
    • Orbix Xaxis is struck by lightning, the very thing he hoped would give him supreme power.
    • Vox Verlix, become a morbidly obese alcholic, is drowned with the stuff by his maid.
    • Hemuel Spume is trapped in one of his war machines as it explodes.
    • Amberfuce is boiled to death inside his own bath by his old nurse.
    • Golderayce One-Eye is killed by his own poison dart due to a sudden intervention.
  • Kick the Dog: Orbix Xaxis' 'purification ceremonies'.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: a very heartbreaking example: The fourth book takes place after a massive timeskip and we find out that Twig never found his friends and grew old wandering the great forest.
  • Killer Rabbit: Wig-wigs are best described as orange, fluffy, mouths full of sharp teeth. Despite being about 8 inches tall, they are at the very top of the Deepwoods' food chain.
  • Kill It with Fire: The only real defence against the above orange fluffy death-bringers.
  • Knight Templar: Orbix Xaxis seems to be one. Some might say he just uses this is merely his justification, but the fact that he willingly sacrifices himself to allow a lightining bolt to strike the Sanctaphrax rock proves he really believed in his cause.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Felix Lodd is both described and drawn as having one; apart from some daddy issues, he's probably one of the most traditionally heroic characters in the series, so it's fitting.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Oh, Vox... usurped the position of Most High Academe from Cowlquape, and spent the rest of his life paying for it. He established the Guardians of Night to take care of the diseased Sanctaphrax rock, (who betrayed him and took it for themselves) created the Great Mire Road and contracted with the shrykes to manage the Twilight Woods segment of it, (they betrayed him and took it for themselves) constructed the Sanctaphrax forest and contracted with goblins to guard it, who then... decided to share power with Vox? No, of course not, they betrayed him and took it for themselves. Then he was left an Authority in Name Only bereft of any of the power that he backstabbed to get, a morbidly obese drunkard with chins in the double digits. Upon building a machine that'd destroy Undertown and all that betrayed him. Then he was betrayed and murdered by his servant and his right-hand waif. Damn.
    • Fittingly, the right-hand waif that betrayed him sold out the servant that had carried him all the way to the Foundry Glades. And then the waif was boiled alive in a hot tub.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Wonderful though the UK cover art for Clash of the Sky Galleons is, it means you're going to know that Thaw Daggerslash is masquerading as Turbot Smeal long before it comes out in the plot. This applies in a lesser way for most of the other covers as well.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: There are upwards of 40; about a dozen kinds of waifs, eight kinds of trolls, a few kinds of trogs, around twenty kinds of goblins, and then assorted races like slaughterers, fourthlings, and spindlebugs.
    • And a lot of them are cross-fertile, leading to a Heinz Hybrid (like one of the Hive conscripts in the Immortals, who's part woodtroll/part fourthling/part slaughterer).
  • The Lost Woods: The Deepwoods, the Twilight Woods, and the Nightwoods are all fitting examples of this trope.
    • The Twilight Woods are shrouded in eternal twilight and slowly erase the memories and sense of self of those who cross them, and anyone who loses their path will wander in the forest forever.
    • The Deepwoods are an enormous (later books show that they take up far more territory than all other lands in the Edge combined) and are teeming with dangerous peoples, monstrous predators and Man Eating Plants.
    • The Nightwoods are a forest beyond even the Deepwoods, dark and deadly and full of vicious waifs, found on the other side of the Thorn Forests. An extremely dangerous crossing of the Nightwoods is also the only way to reach Riverrise.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Done twice, and surprisingly well.
  • Luke Nounverber: All sky pirate ships, including the Skyraider, Stormchaser, and Edgedancer. Also, Barkwater, and absolutely anything involving stormphrax.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Cold rock rises, hot rock sinks. Applied constantly throughout the series whenever flight rocks are involved, particularly in the Winter Knights when the freezing cold makes almost every attempt to fly lethal.
    • There is also an incredibly badass moment where a freezing storm sends the Galerider's rock unstable, and nearly dooms the ship. The Stone Pilot saves everyone single-handedly by setting herself on fire.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Bloodoak trees, though there are implied to be others.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Gloamgloazer.
    • Also Slyvo Spleethe, to a lesser extent.
    • Also most quarter-masters. It's sort of their thing; there are occasional exceptions, but it does get to the point where you begin to wonder why captains ever take on the same quartermaster for more than one voyage.
  • Master of Disguise: Once again, the Gloamglozer.
  • Master Poisoner: Hestera Spikesap.
  • Merciful Minion: As a part of Xanth Filatine's Heel–Face Turn, he shoots the rope tethering the protagonist's ship instead of shooting Rook himself, allowing Rook to flee from the Mooks swiftly closing on his location.
  • Mind Rape: Certain waifs have this ability to go with their mind-reading capacities. Amberfuce tries to erase Rook's personality in Vox, but luckily proves unable to touch the furthest reaches of his soul...
  • Minovsky Physics: Stormphrax and flight rocks/buoyant wood. There's also Chine, the Librarians' version of Stormphrax.
  • Mr. Exposition: The Professor, Ambris Hentadile, in The Immortals.
  • Monster of the Week: Most of 'Beyond the Deepwoods' has a Monster of the Chapter format. Each nastier and weirder than the last.
  • The Mutiny: Sprinkled liberally in the Quint and Twig trilogies. Twig finally starts regarding this by the end of Stormchaser; he nips the possible mutinous nature of new crewmember in the bud and shows hesitance at taking on a quartermaster who has nothing to deter him from mutiny.
    • An example of the 'overthrowing tyrannical captain' kind in Midnight Over Sanctaphrax when Twig successfully carries off a mutiny on the Skyraider, overthrowing Thunderbolt Vulpoon and earning the everlasting loyalty and devotion of the crew.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Linius Pallitax's reaction when he realises he has unleashed the Gloamglozer.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Hekkle is a shryke (albeit a male one) who actively works for the good guys in The Last of the Sky Pirates. Another good shryke, an unusually kindly female named Mother Bluegizzard, owns the New Bloodoak Tavern in Freeglader. Noticeably, Bluegizzard is the only female shryke seen in the series whose mate doesn't have a chain around his neck.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Screed Toe-Taker.
    • Orbix Xaxis versus Rook Barkwater. Guess which one's the good guy.
    • Kind of subverted when Xanth Filatine, possessor of a champion evil-guy name, completely wastes it by turning good.
    • Wig-Wigs.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown : Twig, and to a lesser extent, Nate after his father's death and Grint Grayle's takeover of the mine.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Quite a lot, although Magda is an aversion, since we never learn anything about her family. Technically, it applies to men too, especially in the Rook trilogy. Everyone expects Felix to be chosen as a Librarian Knight elect because of who his father is.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Rook accidentally sets off the explosive "baby" after fighting savagely to prevent it from going off... by sweating on it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Who would have guessed that Screed's twenty years of murder would turn out for the better? Screed himself, apparently, which was his original motive
    • a straighter example occurs much earlier in the same book. Spleethe smuggles Twig onto the Stormchaser to use him as a hostage in the mutiny. A brief line earlier implies that Vilnix was going to use Twig as a hostage himself to steal the Stormphrax when they returned.
  • New Eden: There's an element of this in The Immortals when the characters get to the Mire and find a lush grassland instead of the expanse of bleached mud they were expecting.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Deliberate part of the design for the dungeon in the Tower of Night.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: Maugin, the Stone Pilot in the Twig sequence, is a neotenous Termagant Trog.
  • Obviously Evil: Grint Grayle. From the very moment he's introduced, it's pretty obvious what he did and what's about to happen.
  • Oh, Crap!: Quint's reaction in The Curse of the Gloamglozer when he realises the man he has followed onto the roof is not actually Linius Palitax...
  • Our Goblins Are Different: even within the series itself, goblin "subspecies" differ dramatically from one another.
  • Parental Abandonment: In the Verginix/ Barkwater family, try to think of one example of a child not becoming an orphan or at least separated from his or her parents at a very young age. It was revealed in The Immortals that Rook managed to break the chain.
  • Parental Substitute: Maris for all the original Freegladers.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Used and averted: a sky pirate is more of a freelance merchant/smuggler than an actual pirate, but they do raid league ships when they have to.
    • There's also the fact that how far each pirate goes depends on the morality of each individual captain and crew, so on one side you do have indiscriminate piracy and even worse (like slave traffic), while on the other you have piracy of people who kinda have it coming and the activities mentioned above.
  • Pregnant Badass: Maris worked beside her husband on a sky ship while pregnant, gave birth during a storm, while the ship was crashing and then made a trek directly afterwards to a woodtroll village so her son would live.
  • The Professor: Read any book with Sanctaphrax in it.
    • Also nickname of Ambris in the Immortals.
  • The Purge: Earth-scholars in the First Age, and librarians in the Second Age.
  • The Quisling: Amberfuce.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Xanth Filatine.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Xanth, for a while.
  • Rule of Cool: The series runs on this.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Maugin, aka the Stone Pilot. Extra points because immediately before this was revealed, Twig braced himself to confront another hideous monster, reaching the wrong conclusion about why the stone pilot concealed their appearance.
  • Scenery Porn: There are some insanely detailed and beautiful pictures of sky ships, not to mention the maps.
  • Science Is Bad: Trying to create life is a very bad idea:
    • It may go horribly right, and not only will the result will be murderously insane, it will summon a continent-sized space whale that will suck all the heat out of the world unless you feed it a piece of crystallized lightning. It gets worse when we learn about stone sickness, which causes stone everywhere to crumble to dust which eventually spells the end of society as many know it, in the Rook trilogy
    • Or, it may go horribly wrong, and you get The Giant Glister, an Eldritch Abomination tentacle monster that will suck out your emotions and strength and leave you an empty shell (and get the same space whale side effect as previously mentioned.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The series plays around with this trope.
    • So at the end of Stormchaser, Twig brings back the first batch of Stormphrax in decades, along with the formula for the safe production of phraxdust, thus both freeing Sanctaphrax from having to build extra chains to keep it from drifting and making clean water available to all. Sounds like the Edge is in for a new era of peace and prosperity, right? Wrong!
    • The arrival of the Mother Storm forces Twig to cut Sanctaphrax's Anchor Chain in the very next book, Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, and by the Rook Trilogy, the world has entered a Dark Age. At first glance, this would seem to make everything Twig did be in vain... but if there hadn't been just one chain remaining, Sanctaphrax could never have been cut loose, while phraxdust later gets used as a fuel supply which puts civilisation back on track.
  • Shout-Out: In "Curse of The Gloamglozer", Quint notices a constellation named Borius the Spider.
  • Sky Pirates: Lots and lots of them in the First Age of Flight. They're still around in the Third Age, though they share little with the First Age sky pirates aside from the name.
  • Smug Snake: Cagemaster Leddix, the chief executioner of the Tower of Night. Vilnix Pompolnius, too.
  • Space Whale Aesop: A more literal example. See above.
    • Also after reading all the books, the Aesop could be pirates make bad parents. All the characters who have close relationships with their pirate parents end up being horrible parents themselves: Wind Jackal and Cloud Wolf, namely. Twig was initially said to have waited until Keris grew up before leaving, but The Slaughterer's Quest revealed that he actually left when she was three. Granted, he did have a fairly important quest to finish, and he left her with her uncle, but still.
  • Spoiled Brat: Branxford Drew.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the German version the name of Sanctaphrax was changed to Sanktaphrax for unknown reasons.
    • "K" is used far more frequently than "C" in German, so the spelling change was likely to make reading more fluid for German-speakers.
  • Stay on the Path: The theme of the first book. Twig, naturally, doesn't, and away he goes...
  • Steam Punk: The Immortals strays into this territory, although 'phrax punk' is probably more accurate.
  • Storming the Castle
  • The Starscream: Orbix Xaxis was one of Vox Verlix's right-hand men until it no longer suited his purposes.
    • Amberfuce counts as well.
    • Pretty much everyone who sided with Vox at one point backstabbed him at another.
    • Not to mention Slyvo Spleethe, in "Stormchaser," and Turbot Smeal in "Clash of the Sky Galleons." Given that sky pirate-quartermasters have to be cunning to be good, it seems that having a Starscream on board is a hazard of the business.
  • The Swarm: Grey goblins and the dreaded Wig-wigs.
  • Take Up My Sword: In the literal and figurative sense. In "Stormchaser," Cloud Wolf gives Twig his sword and tells him to complete the Stormphrax quest. This happens throughout the series: The protégé of the older sky pirate must complete the quest, sometimes doing so inadvertently. The older sky-pirates never live to see their quests completed.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Cloud Wolf keeping Slyvo Spleethe on as part of the crew, despite repeated attempts at mutiny. Even though Spleethe is usually incompetent, what kind of idiot captain keeps on a crewmember who has shown time and again that, at best, he wants to take over your ship and, at worst, may shoot you into open sky, a known consequence of mutiny for whichever side loses.Oh and he is friend with the Dumb Muscle of the ship so he can so even if he can't fight he has someone to back him up. Eventually, Spleethe succeeds, proving that Cloud Wolf really is Too Dumb to Live.
  • Tragic Villain: Vox Verlix, to an extent. He is an extremely intelligent man who has been screwed over by severel different factions. His doomsday device is simply his revenge, yet he manages to be somewhat sympathetic at times, particularly at the end of Vox when he is trapped in his crumbling palace.
    • Screed Toe-Taker, to a lesser extent, once you learn that the failure of his quest drove him mad.
  • Translation: "Yes": The banderbear language consists mostly of the word "wuh", which can have a myriad of different meanings depending on body language and inflection. The Immortals contains several prime examples.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In the end of Freeglader, Amberfuce is trapped in his special bath, abandoned by the gabtroll nurse for which he abandoned his old faithful nurse to abusive treatment as a slave. His old nurse then creeps into the room... and promptly boils him alive in his own bath for mistreating her.
  • Token Evil Teammate: For sky pirates,quartermasters are usually the one to set the mutiny , even nicer ones are butting heads with the captain. Wind Jackal does explain why: The quartermaster's job description is deal with cutthroats leaguers and make sure the ledger is in the black so the pirates can keep plundering the sky, so even if they are not treacherous to the crew they disapprove personal vendetta or expedition that has high risk low reward as the businessman of the group.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Mother Bluegizzard and Hekkle are good-natured shrykes who, in Hekkle's case, help the heroes against their own kind. Mother Horsefeather, while unpleasant and greedy, is also nowhere near as vile or bloodthirsty as the shrykes encountered later in the series.
  • The Trickster: The Gloamglozer is a particularly malevolent example.
  • Ultimate Evil: The Gloamglozer, who is also directly responsible for causing stone-sickness and thus setting civilisation back by centuries.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Maugin for Twig. For about fifty years.
  • Utopia: The Freeglades.
  • Vader Breath: Orbix Xaxis. He even looks similar!
  • Villainous Breakdown: It sucks to be Vox Verlix.
  • Vindicated by History: An in-universe example with Vox Verlix who is remembered in The Immortals as a great genius and spectacular architect (which, admittedly, he was, but he was also a Fat Bastard).
    • There's also Thunderbolt Vulpoon, who we'll remember tried to kidnap Twig and Cowlquape so he could sell them to the shrykes as bait for the Wig-Wig arena. Rook, however, heard a tale of his selfless sacrifice to save the pair from Thunderbolt's shryke-imprisoned son Deadbolt on the Great Mire Road.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Gloamglozer's main ability.
  • War Is Hell
  • Weather-Control Machine: As a revenge against those who betrayed him, Vox creates an extremely powerful bomb, the detonation of which in the sky would cause a titanic storm to ruin Undertown and everything around it.
  • Weather Dissonance
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In a rare father-daughter variant, Maris just wants her father's love and approval.
    • In Stormchaser, Twig wanting his father to be proud of him is a recurring theme. It doesn't really help that Cloud Wolf isn't the best parent.
    • In the Rook trilogy, Felix Lodd to his father, Fenbrus.
  • What Do You Mean, "It's for Kids"?: The marked age bracket of all 12 (soon to be 13) books in the series is 9-12. Yeah, it technically is for kids, political intrigue, murder, and flesh-eating trees included.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Evil waif keeps all of the life-giving Riverrise water for himself in The Immortals, only letting some down to the world below... and feels very bitter over his life's emptiness.
  • A World Half Full: No matter how much the world tries to cancel out the heroes' efforts with each passing generation, Edge society becomes gradually more progressive, and life is shown to be not without its merits, tough as it may get.
  • Wrench Wench: The Stone Pilot
  • Wretched Hive: Hive, appropriately. Also Old Undertown.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Pick a page, any page, and count the number of X's on it. Seriously. Some of the character names have three or more.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The Bringer of Doom. The most impressive skyship ever to exist. Nothing can stand before this behemoth... or so it seems, or so it would be. Instead, it makes an impressive entrance, then anticlimatically tumbles to the ground because the guy charged with harvesting the floating rock used to keep it flying couldn't be bothered to remove the Stormphrax weight inside it. However, it did demonstrate it's invincibility by devastating ships that did get in it's way before hand.


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