Wren is an orphan living at the edge of the world. Literally. Known as a grayling, Wren scavenges Edgeland for anything and everything she can use to escape. This includes scouring the water surrounding the island for treasures left behind by the dead. But when Wren is caught standing over the body of a murdered religious official, her plans are thrown into fast forward.
Her best friend Alec is an apprentice at one of the most famous Bone Houses in all of Edgeland. It's his job to help ready the bodies for their passage into the Drain and on to the afterlife. When he scores a huge job for House Aron, the same day he discovers Wren is being sought for suspicion of murder, it seems fate is aligned to save her. Unfortunately, his fee is set to go straight down the Drain itself.
Desperate, Wren and Alec attempt to catch their score before it goes over and end up falling over the edge themselves. When they surface, they discover that everything they've been told about the afterlife is a lie.
Edgeland is a brilliantly unique read. From the very start, Wren and Alec, and the world they inhabit really do grab hold of the reader.
Wren, a clever girl with a mission, is basically one of the invisible and untouchable. She's a thief, one who's perfected her technique to the point that she's secured quite a fortune. And a fortune is exactly what it takes to get out of Edgeland. Her goal is to find her father, who she believes is living in a far off land and once tried to find her when she herself was apprenticing at House Aron.
It was there that she met Alec. The son of a wealthy family, Alec was sent to Edgeland to learn from one of the best in the Bone House business. His every effort is to please his family and prove his worth. But he's never abandoned Wren in spite of her being ostracized and banished from House Aron after being caught stealing from the dead. And so, when she's in trouble, he'll do anything in his power to help.
The world building in this latest from Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski is phenomenal! Every detail is so carefully thought out and presented to the reader, that you can't help but get sucked into the story and join in on Wren and Alec's adventure. And what an odd adventure it is!
Edgeland is great fun - perfect for its middle grade audience and much bigger kids (ahem, 35 year old ones) alike!