Warning: Contains Spoilers!
A pair of large, round eyes were staring up at her from the solid murk below.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I’ve got to say, Edie is probably one of Mr Jarvis’s most peculiar characters, and that’s really saying something. She’s just fallen into the belly of the earth, and yet she chuckles at the thought that she might be mortally injured and face a slow, lingering death underground. It’s moments like this that make us wonder how much of her is regular human child and how much is mythical Askarian (?) spirit. Even the most courageous and doubty of young heroes would surely balk a little at the thought of perishing alone in the depths of the earth, but here’s Edie, happy to one day be picked up as a fossil. Odd girl.
I also like the moment of bleak humour where Miss Veronica hoves into view exclaiming about strawberry jam… as opposed to the ‘jam’ that her fall might have made her into. Things are getting so intense at this point that it’s strangely charming to find that even in the direst of circumstances, Miss Veronica can still be thinking of her favourite teatime snack, then declare that she ‘did enjoy that little fall.’ (I’m rather glad she and Celandine never did experiment by leaping off the roof of the museum, however. They might’ve found that their invulnerability only stretched so far.)
The undine is an interesting addition to Jarvis canon. The closest we’ve seen to his like before would be the Lords of the Deep and Dark in the Whitby Witches Trilogy, or Zenna’s deep-sea companions in Thomas. I hesitate to compare the noble undine to the mallykin, though in terms of appearance I’d hazard that he is closer to that flesh-eating sea demon than to, say, the aufwaders or squalbiters. I would love to see a painting of him in the style of the Deathscent cover, but perhaps he’s shown in The Fatal Strand, so bear with me on that.
Matt’s Thoughts: This chapter caught me out a bit. I thought last time we’d been following Edie that Veronica had disappeared down the hole and Edie had not. That was clearly wrong.
And then, like another layer down in a Russian doll, this chapter gives us even deeper mythology. Last chapter seemed fascinating, with the idea of a long-hidden corpse with a magical artifact hidden below Glastonbury. It was a fascinating location just by itself.
But now we find there’s another cave underneath that one with an ancient sea monster thing? Bring it on.
I do wonder whether something like the undine could tie in with the Lords of the Deep and Dark somehow, but I would of course be trying to stretch things too far. Still, I do wonder …
And I’m just going to assume that neither Edie nor Veronica are out of the story yet, despite the merciless cliffhanger at the end of the chapter.