Review: The Curse of the Gloamglozer by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell

Goodreads summary:
Fourteen-year-old Quint Verginix is the only remaining son of famous sky-pirate Wind Jackal. He and his father have journeyed to the city of Sanctaphrax – a great floating rock, bound to the ground below by a chain, its inhabitants living with their heads literally in the clouds.

But the city hides a dangerous secret: deep inside the great rock, something horrible lurks. With his father away, Quint may be the only one who can save Sanctaphrax from the dreaded curse of the gloamglozer . . .

The Curse of the Gloamglozer is the first book of the Quint Saga – first trilogy in The Edge Chronicles, the internationally best-selling fantasy series, which has featured on the UK and the New York Times best-seller lists and sold more than 3 million copies. There are now 13 titles and four trilogies in the series, but each book is a stand-alone adventure, so you can read The Edge Chronicles in any order you choose.


Coming back to the Edge Chronicles feels so amazing. According to my recently re-discovered Reader’s Reports from when I was eight, I read at least six of these in a year when I first discovered them. But I haven’t gone near them in years.

It’s only recently that I realised how much of an impact these books had on me. For one thing, I did my undergrad dissertation on liminal space – gateways, rites of passage, the space between things. Liminal. Edge. Edge Chronicles.


But, as with all books from childhood, I was afraid that if I went back to it, it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered.

Don’t worry though, the Edge Chronicles are still great.

The Curse of the Gloamglozer really sets the world up. We’re introduced to flight rocks, prowlgrins, and scheming academics – which are really the most important parts of the Quint Saga, the chronologically-first trilogy in the series. We learn about many of the weird and wonderful creatures and people that populate the Edge, including the terrifying gloamglozer, kindly woodtroll matrons, and warrior-like hammerhead goblins.

What’s great about the Edge Chronicles is that they are all, distantly, related. So this time around, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for things that might pop up later. Like Tweezel, the elderly spindle-bug, or banderbears, or the exact cause of flight-rock sickness, which will become huge later on. What’s really clear in this first book is that the people of the Edge are not secure. Many people balance on the precipice of poverty, dependent on others’ greediness or pride to keep them alive. But more than that, their world is not a hospitable one. The Edge is plagued by storms and ill weather patterns. And even with the entirety of the floating city  Sanctaphrax dedicated to the study of the sky, no-one really knows why the flight-rocks behave as they do. Sanctaphrax itself is dependent on the Anchor Chain – and in The Curse of the Gloamglozer, we are made sharply aware of the fragility of chains.

It’s fun, and it’s emotional, and it’s clever. It’s an incredible fantasy world, but the people who populate it experience perfectly relateable fears and flaws. Quint is a young boy, traumatised by fire, raised by his sky pirate father, and left on Sanctaphrax to act as apprentice to the Most High Academe. Maris is a young girl, worried about her father’s health but with no friends to turn to beyond her old nursemaid. They are not Chosen Ones. They make mistakes. They can be cruel, and cowardly. But they’re trying their hardest to keep their loved ones safe, and to keep the whole of Sanctaphrax safe – even if the city of arrogant Sky academics doesn’t deserve their efforts.

The Curse of the Gloamglozer by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell is the first book in the Edge Chronicles series. 

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