Edgar knows that he should be working rather than climbing and swinging in the trees, but he just can't seem to help himself -- even if it does earn him a beating from Mr. Ratikan's stick. It would hardly be the first time and it isn't likely to be the last. He also knows he shouldn't be climbing the cliffs, but he has to.
Edgar's world is shaped sort of like a three-leveled top. The top level, the Highlands, are populated by the well-to-do people. They control the water for all of the other levels. If you fell off of the Highlands, and didn't die, you would land on the middle level, Tabletop, which is the level Edgar lives on. They are the workers who harvest food and raise animals. They receive water based on how well they feed the people above. If you fell off of Tabletop and weren't killed by the fall to the Flatlands, you would either be eaten by the monsters that live there, or die of starvation. If you could survive long enough to fall off of the Flatlands, you would fall off of the earth.
Edgar's father fell off of the middle level when Edgar was just a small boy. Edgar has one memory of him, though. The older he gets, the weaker the memory becomes, but he knows that it has to do with a book that he is supposed to find. It's hidden in the cliffs between the top and middle levels. So Edgar climbs, and searches, whenever he can.
In one day Edgar finds the book, climbs all the way to the Highlands (forbidden), and makes a friend (hopefully) there. The biggest discovery Edgar makes that day could be he most dangerous of all. The Highlands are sinking. If the cliffs keep shuddering, eventually the Highlands and Tabletop could be level with each other! That thought alone sends Edgar off on the adventure of a lifetime.
Edgar is off. He is on a search for answers, for the right questions, for his destiny. It's going to get far worse before it gets better.
This book is a fantastic mix of mad scientist, alternate worlds, and realistic people. Patrick Carman hasn't missed a trick in this one; believable characters, a fully imagined and realized world, and an absorbing plot. I had a hard time putting this book down. I can't wait to see what happens next! Though while you're waiting you should check out the very cool, interactive website athertonseries dot com.
Reviewed by: Carrie Spellman