The Edge, the third and final part of the Relics trilogy, returns readers to the world of the Kin in a much smaller, creepier tale where the stakes have never been higher.
The thing that took me most by surprise with The Edge, is just how different it feels from the other books. Relics was very much an urban fantasy story, set in the twisting streets and tunnels of London; The Folded Land was a sweeping chase story set across the countryside of the United States; and The Edge is a very small, focused story in comparison to these. There isn’t much more learnt about the world of the Kin, no big reveals or revelations, no shock changes to the status quo. Instead it centres on the characters and tells the most personal story yet.
Set two years after the events of The Folded Land, we find that Angela and her niece Sammy are still hiding from law enforcement, living in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Trying to come to terms with not only how their lives have both changed so dramatically, and the losses they’ve both suffered, the two of them are drawn back into the world of the Kin when the town of Longford reappears from beneath the surface of a reservoir.
Longford is one of the best locations yet in the Relics series, a town infected with a deadly contagion, where the residents were all killed, and sunk beneath a lake for decades; it is a haunting place that makes for the perfect location of this final confrontation. The deserted town, falling to ruin and rotting away but surrounded by lush forests makes for a truly striking visual, one that feels very appropriate for this final fight to save the world.
As with the rest of the series the character moments make for some of the best parts of this book, and the reunion of Angela and Vince, who was trapped inside the folded land for two years, makes for one of the best moments. It’s such a huge moment for both characters, and has such an impact, but manages to not become too big a thing as they are forced straight back into the fight rather than focusing on each other. It’s these important characterisations and personal moments, spread out through a story where the fate of the world hangs in the balance that makes the book work so well. You want to spend time with the two of them, seeing them reconnect, but you also want the main plot to move forward, and Lebbon gives the reader both of these in spades.
Despite The Edge being the final part of the series, and bringing back many of the older characters, it also introduces several new people, two of whom quickly became some of my favourites of the series. Dastion the dwarf needs a book of his own. Coming in towards the end of the story, he’s brilliant back-up for Angela and Vince, fighting by their side with his big metal pike, taking on Kin in hand to hand combat; he’s completely bad-arse yet gruffly lovable at the same time. I need more time with this character!
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Bone is another new character who proves to be very interesting, and I wish more of the book was given over to him and his story. I would have gladly read another 100 pages if he was given more of a focus. Someone with a strong connection to the town of Longford, he weaves in and out of the narrative at times, with his own mission that intersects with that of our heroes. He proved to be fascinating throughout, yet I never quite connected with him as much as I wanted to, and can’t help but feel this would have happened if he had more of a presence. However, his final moments in the story were very good, and gave me strong Game of Thrones vibes (though I won’t allude to how as it may spoil a big moment from both stories).
The Edge is a brilliant conclusion to Lebbon’s trilogy. It takes the grand world established in the first two books and brings a satisfying conclusion to this world-threatening plot, yet manages to do so in a very small and personal way, where the characters are the bigger focus. A brilliant melding of character driven storytelling and epic fantasy.