Summary and book reviews of Beyond The Deepwoods by Paul Stewart

Beyond The Deepwoods

The Edge Chronicles #1

By Chris Riddell, Paul Stewart

Beyond The Deepwoods
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  • Hardcover: Jun 2004,
    288 pages.

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Book Summary

Young Twig lives in the Deepwoods, among the Woodtrolls, but he isn't one of them. In a brave attempt to find out where he belongs, Twig wanders into the mysterious, dangerous world beyond the Deepwoods. He meets a collection of odd companions, such as his wise guardian, the Caterbird; the Slaughterers, a peaceful race who butcher animals for their livelihood; and the vicious, bile-swilling Rotsucker. Always watching out for the horrible Gloamglozer, whose presence haunts the thoughts of all the inhabitants of The Edge, Twig steadfastly pursues his quest until he discovers his roots, not among the trees, but in the skies. . . .

The Snatchwood Cabin

Twig sat on the floor between his mother's knees, and curled his toes in the thick fleece of the tilder rug. It was cold and draughty in the cabin. Twig leaned forwards and opened the door of the stove.

'I want to tell you the story of how you got your name,' his mother said.
'But I know that story, Mother-Mine,' Twig protested.

Spelda sighed. Twig felt her warm breath on the back of his neck, and smelled the pickled tripweed she had eaten for lunch. He wrinkled his nose. Like so much of the food which the woodtrolls relished, Twig found tripweed disgusting, particularly pickled. It was slimy and smelled of rotten eggs.

'This time it will be a little different,' he heard his mother saying. 'This time I will finish the tale.'

Twig frowned. 'I thought I'd already heard the ending.'

Spelda tousled her son's thick black hair. He's grown so fast, she thought, and wiped a tear from the end of her...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

I've been anticipating the arrival of The Edge Chronicles series in the USA for almost three years - ever since our son's Godmother, who lives in the UK, gave him the first three books in the series.  Why it took 6 years from the time the first book in the series (Beyond The Deepwoods) was published in the UK to it crossing the Atlantic is one of life's mysteries, but the good news is that it and the second in the series (Stormchaser) are now available in the USA, and others in the series will be following shortly.  

I've read the first two books, and our son (aged 10 now) has read a few more.  Personally, I think they're great - in fact I'd go as far as to say that I think they're the most imaginative books I've read in a long time.  These are classic adventure stories -  an orphan boy 'strays from the path' in order to pursue his destiny in a fantastic world of foul-mouthed halitoads, red-faced slaughterers and galumphing banderbears.   I've been racking my brain for a book to compare these to but am drawing a blank - the best I can come up with is The Phantom Tollbooth by way of Lewis Carrol's Jabberwocky.

Enhancing the tale are the many pen and ink drawings by accomplished cartoonist Chris Riddel.  The 'official' reading age for the series is 9-12, but I think it would be enjoyed by some younger readers and many older ones.   

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

In poetic prose, Stewart and Riddell invent the magical realm that culminates at the Edge....The narrative will cast a spell over readers from the beginning with its utterly odd, off-kilter sense of logic and a vocabulary that is equal parts Dr. Seuss and Lewis Carroll Ages 10-12.

The Guardian (UK)

Stunningly original.

The Literary Review (UK)

A richly inventive fantasy . . . one of the most exciting collaborations between a writer and illustrator for a long time.

Reader Reviews
Rowan

I loved it!
I was very happy with it. A friend recommended it to me and it looked a little childish, but it is great for a wide range of ages! Anyone who likes sci-fi/fantasy!

Divo

Edge Chronicles book number 1
I am a book lover and have read numerous books for children. But, the Edge Chronicles disappointed me. The story dragged on from place to place. The story was repetitive. The story had a good idea. But seriously, it could have been written better.

Gabriel

An Enchanting Novel
This book was absolutely fantastic. It will sweep you away into a different realm that has mystical creatures, and unbelievable stories that can relate to life. One of the most creative novels I've ever read. Any young adult would absolutely enjoy ...   Read More

Ryry

Beyond the Deepwoods
I thought this book was enchanting, I mean it was a great book for young readers. It was a great novel. The only thing is... I want the third book to come out in the United States, other than that it was an amazing book.

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