Rating: 5/5 stars
“In the second novel in the Rook Barkwater sequence, the young knight librarian attempts to stop the dark might of the Most High Academe. High in the crumbling Palace of Statues, oily Vox Verlix is brewing a terrible plot to take over power in Edgeworld once again. Can Rook foil Vox’s plan and save the lives of his librarian colleagues?”
-from ‘Vox’ on Goodreads
As a child there was one series of books, above all others, that caught my imagination: The Edge Chronicles. I used to prance around my garden pretending to be a sky pirate and you can’t imagine the excitement when I first went on a boat, the closest thing to a sky pirate ship that I could access. Okay, in my defense I was about six at the time, not that I’m saying I have grown out of the feeling!
However, there was one of the trilogies that I couldn’t get into… Rook’s. I guess the lack of proper sky craft was too much for me! A few weeks ago I managed to read ‘The Last of the Sky Pirates’ all the way through for the first time which left me ready to tackle the second book ‘Vox’…
Naturally, I loved it!
There is something quite fantastic about the way in which these books conjure up a whole new world that is quite amazing yet somehow believable. From the characters to the places to the creatures, Paul Stewart’s writing, reinforced by Chris Riddell’s illustrations, creates vivid concepts that are exciting in their own right!
In ‘Vox’ we get to discover more vividly what has become of the world beyond the Deepwoods as Rook returns from his time training and writing. This is what sets the book apart from the others in the series, I feel. There has always been a contrast between good and evil but it’s always been on a small scale. In this instalment we see just how deep reaching the corruption truly is and we also come to appreciate how impossible it is for the ‘good forces’ to possibly win out. This made the book a lot darker than its earlier counterparts. Another aspect that I felt made ‘Vox’ more disturbing was the interaction between the people in Vox’s household. Their behaviours be they threatening or loving were tainted by an implication of obsession that made them seem exceptionally dark. I couldn’t help but feel that, although younger readers wouldn’t notice these overtones to the same degree therefore the book is perfectly suitable for them , this book is really a lot more adult that earlier instalments.
Something I also really appreciated was the way in which this book, perhaps more so than the previous novel, was obviously set later than the Quint and Twig trilogies. There was a real feeling of a progression of time and this added to the entire atmosphere. I also love the small ties to the past and to previous novels. I worked out the setting of Felix’s house before it was revealed so that wasn’t too much of a shock but then they had to go and uncover the mural.
I don’t really know if I can go into any more detail without giving major plot points away or going over aspects of previous books so I’ll leave this one here. Will certainly be reading “Freeglader” when I can to my book collection again!