Page 45 Review by Stephen
Inspired by the films of Hayao Miyazaki and a fair few console games, this gorgeous, all-ages series full of breath-taking fantasy landscapes and weird, wonderful and often alarming creatures packs plenty of punch. I thought I was just going to skim the third book to keep up to speed, but it sucked me right back in and kept me riveted. It's the finest instalment yet.
Following his son's failure to kill Emily, the Elf King has dismissed the rebellious Prince Trellis and brought in a professional assassin called Gabilan, clad in ebony armour and riding a ferocious bird of prey. His targets: Emily, her companions... and Prince Trellis himself. Meanwhile, our band of heroes set off in search of the lost city of Cielis, leaving behind the bipedal sanctuary, the ultimate in mobile homes. Some say Cielis was razed to the ground by the Elves, others that the Guardian Council and its five Great Stonekeepers managed to hide it among the clouds, there to be rebuilt in safety. That's what Emily's great grandfather Silas believed, but he never managed to find it. Nor has the reluctant Captain of the airship they hire to fly into heart of a raging storm. As the ruthless Gabilan closes in, the ship comes under attack from Wyverns, monstrous feral dragons. They're hungry, very hungry, and not everyone will make it through.
Why does the Elf King wear a mask? Why does Trellis have virtually no memory of his childhood? And what lurks in the storm itself?
More high-speed chases, ferocious battles and mechanised armour suits. Towns reminiscent of early Final Fantasy and floating outposts reminiscent of Roger Dean's.
The arrival of Gabilan raises the stakes, and the addition of Emily and Navin's mother, now rescued, shifts the balance in an unexpected way. Alarmed equally at her alien surroundings and her children's familiarity with them, all she wants to do is take them home, but that's not even an option. For a start, if the land is to survive this new rampage of the dark elves, they must find the Guardian Council; secondly, the Stone which endows Emily with such powerful abilities, and speaks to her in her dreams, won't let her leave.