Midnight Over Sanctaphrax by Paul Stewart
Midnight Over Sanctaphrax falls into the middle of the first three books of the series. While Twig’s character is enlarged upon and other interesting ones added, the book falls too easily into the same episodic nature of the first book, where one peril follows closely upon another with none of them ever explored in enough depth so that they truly feel dangerous or suspenseful.
The nature of the basic plot, Twig searching for his lost crew after his skyship explodes and hurls them in different directions, also unfortunately lends itself to a sense of dull repetition as he searches, finds, sends off for safekeeping, and searches once again with the same results.
At times the plot of Midnight Over Sanctaphrax is somewhat contrived and at others may call for a bit too much suspension of disbelief, but overall it’s imaginative and energetic, moving along in quick if repetitive fashion.
It also, like the second, improves on the first by adding other levels of depth beyond simple fear of being killed/eaten (though as in all three, there is a fair amount of both). Here issues of slavery and class rear their heads and if they are handled a bit sketchily, they do deepen the book’s complexity and pleasure.
Recommended, though a bit disappointing as it seems to regress a bit from the second book.
The Edge Chronicles — (1998-2015) Ages 9-12. Publisher: 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…