““I don’t know how to help him,” Flick said. “What do you do when someone’s had a shock like that?”
“I don’t know either,” Avery said. “Nothing like that has ever happened to me. In fact, I had so little childhood trauma that I’ve been forced to develop a personality instead.”“
After reading The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, I did not think L.D. Lapinski could write a more magical book. Then they wrote The Edge of the Ocean and proved me very, very wrong.
The Strangeworlds crew are back in a brilliant adventure set mostly in the world of The Brink. They’re summoned there by a feisty wee pirate Queen by the name of Nyfe because the magic is leaking out of their world and they are all in a lot of danger. They need Flick and Jonathan to save them. Look, this book had my heart at “pirates” – we all know I love a pirate story and this one brings something new and magical to the genre.
Queen Nyfe is an angry pirate. She is very officious, often cross and rarely likeable. She has an abrupt manner and doesn’t stop to give much thought to other people’s feelings, as we see when she breaks some potentially devastating news to Jonathan with all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer. She wants things done and she wants them done her way. She’s not very forgiving, and she is carrying around a fair few grudges which don’t help the situation. Burnish is another great pirate in this world, and although he seems gruff and fearsome, he helps the Strangeworlds crew, rescuing them from the sea and helping them to negotiate with Nyfe. He has some surprises up his sleeve, and he is a great addition to the story.
There is a lot of arguing in this world. The different groups of people and sea creatures are not on friendly terms, they are used to fighting, so getting them to work together is no easy task. They really struggle to put aside their past conflicts and disagreements, and I loved seeing how they began to work together to reach a resolution (even if I do suspect they go right back to hating each other afterwards).
The solution they eventually come to is not an easy one. It is drastic, has never been done before, and requires everyone to put a lot of trust in Flick. It is a tense read. There is a lot of pressure on Flick, although much of that she puts on herself because she doesn’t want to let anyone down.
I have a real soft spot for Flick, in book one, she reminded me a lot of myself when I was young (although sadly I did not have magic skills or the ability to find new worlds in my suitcases), and I continued to feel for her in book two. She gets a mystery of her own in this book. I won’t say too much because it could be a big spoiler, but I will say I did not see that coming and L.D. gets all the points for making me genuinely drop my jaw in shock. Flick is a real worrier. At the start of the book, she is in a lot of bother with her parents for disappearing into another world (or as far as they know, coming home very late with no explanation). As a parent, part of me thinks I should identify with how anxious they must have been, but to be honest, I still haven’t forgiven them for the way they treated her in book one. Anyway, she is under the close eye of her mother and is very definitely grounded, until Jonathan charms her mum into letting Flick come back to “work” at the “travel agency”.
I adore Jonathan with all my heart. He is such an adorably serious little cinnamon roll. He is going through a lot in this book; his dad is still missing in action and he receives some upsetting news, then one of his suitcases is lost in The Brink so he’s trapped there with the aforementioned angry pirate queen and surrounded by ocean. He is experiencing a lot of difficult feelings in this book and he’s not good at letting people in.
Jonathan’s cousin makes an appearance in this book. Avery is wonderful and I loved her immediately. She is witty and hilarious; I often laughed out loud at her. Flick is far more guarded around her and it takes a long time for her to warm up. I enjoyed seeing her gradually open up to Avery and their relationship develop. Poor Flick doesn’t know what to do with herself around Avery, and I think this is something that a lot of young readers will be able to relate to.
L.D’s writing is exquisite, as always. I love the detail and the descriptions. It is so easy to get lost in their worlds and to feel as though you have really stepped into a suitcase with Flick and Jonathan. There are some real shocks and twists in this book; the ending destroyed me and one L.D. Lapinski was less than sympathetic when I tweeted my outrage. I’ll be needing book three immediately, thank you.