Review: The Edge Chronicles; The Twig trilogy

Just a note before the reviews: There's something a bit unique about the series that I'm going to review today. I've recently read and fallen in love with The Edge Chronicles, a middle-grade fantasy series. The unique thing about this series is that it's made up of trilogies. Books 1-3 are the Twig trilogy, books 4-6 are the Quint trilogy and books 7-9 are the Rook trilogy, book 10 is The Immortals which is the "final" non-trilogy book. A recent trilogy(?) has started called Cade, book 12 and 13, the first two books with Cade have recently been published and therefore I'm not sure if this is a trilogy or not.
Also, on a side note: Some have recommended to start with reading the Quint trilogy first, followed by the Twig trilogy and then lastly, the Rook trilogy (followed by the others in order). In fact, Goodreads has started to list Beyond the Deepwoods as book #4 in The Edge Chronicles. Also, it seems the series must be going through a re-design and cover change because new editions (paperbacks) I've found also list Beyond the Deepwoods as book #4. I didn't know this until I had already started reading Beyond the Deepwoods and I couldn't stop reading it (I literally couldn't put it down, lol) so I just read them in the order of publication. So far I haven't really noticed any big differences in reading it this way, but then again I have only read the Twig trilogy. I just wanted to through this note in here in case you decide you'd prefer to read them this alternate way :)

Now onto my reviews for the first three books...non-spoiler reviews, of course. To avoid spoilers, I'm just including the synopsis for the first book.

Title: Beyond the Deepwoods
Author: Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Publication: June 22nd, 2004
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Source: Bought it
Series: Yes, this is book #1, I'm also going to be reviewing book two and three down below!

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

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....
-From Goodreads

Review: First off, I need to thank Sanaa from InkBonesBooks for talking about this series and raving about it. Without her, I don't know if I ever would have picked it up. I really do enjoy reading middle grade, but often put off reading it for some unknown reason. When I picked up this first book in the series, it was exactly what I was looking for... I wanted something whimsical and imaginative with lots of adventure and that's exactly what this book (and series so far) has delivered.  

Throughout the book are illustrations and Chris Riddell makes some beautiful art. It really added to the story and placed me right in the midst of all the shenanigans that Twig seemed to fall into. The illustrations really added to the book in such an atmospheric way. I felt like I was on the adventure with Twig and it made me like Twig and the book even more. 

Twig was such an interesting character to follow. He's full of such hope and goodness that I found him rather endearing. He seemed to keep landing in these situations where I wondered how in the world he was going to get away (and I was actually scared for him!) but yet he somehow found the courage or hope to do something about it. 

I started out with the first book in this series and then started to take out the following ones from the library, but I've loved the first three books so much that I've started to collect the rest of the series. I am way, WAY excited to read these with my kiddos when they get older. I think this series is definitely one that is underrated. If you like fantasy, whimsical and unique worlds, please pick these books up..or even just the first one of wherever you want to start in the series, I think it'll hook you in and have you dying for the next one, like it did for me ;)

Book Two: Stormchaser (mini-review)

Immediately after finishing Beyond the Deepwoods, I NEEDED to have this book. I couldn't get enough of the world and the adventures. This book dives even further into the world and even introduces some new and exciting sky pirates! Once again the illustrations were on point, and delivered such an atmospheric tone to the novel that put me right there with all the characters. Speaking of characters, I really enjoyed getting to know some of the new characters and also continuing to get to know some of the ones from the first book. Twig grows up a bit more in this book and that was something that was really to see happen. While this one didn't quite have as much of the unique world in it as the first one as far as creatures that they meet, I still quite enjoyed exploring a different part of the world and learning more on a grander scale. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. 

Book Three: Midnight over Sanctophrax (mini-review)

Once again, I dived right into this one after finishing Stormchaser, because, seriously you guys, I COULD NOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS WORLD AND ALL THE ADVENTURING. This one dived yet even deeper to the world and also brought back a lot of the whimsicalness that I was missing in the second book. Also, Twig grows up even more and watching him grow up through the three books had me grinning like an idiot.. Also seeing other characters grow with him was wonderful too. I didn't expect to start caring so much about these characters but the more I've gotten into these books, the more that I've dived deeper in caring for these characters. I really love the world that Stewart and Riddell have built and it's a new favorite that I am happy to get lost in. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Have you read any books in this series and if so, what did you think of it/them? What did you think of the world and illustrations? Were they different than you pictured? What are some of your favorite middle-grade fantasy books? (this series has sparked a new love for middle-grade fantasy for me!)