Beyond the Edge of the Map by Robert McCarroll — A Review

Beyond the Edge of the Map is one of those books that are hard to rate. It doesn’t have that tied-together and cohesive feeling that many novels have. This isn’t a book that should be measured by its cutting emotional narrative, but it isn’t supposed to be. The book tells you what it is right off the bat.

An in-universe account of various adventures on a long trading run across the world.

If that sounds interesting AT ALL, buy this book and read through until you reach the part about Frost Giants. If you aren’t hooked by the world, the characters, the accomplishments of Dug FitzHelen, and the blood-rising action, then you just don’t have an eye for it. Beyond the Edge of the Map carries itself well, delivering awe-inspiring moments and locales alongside action, humor, and discovery with ease.

I’ve recently been reading Progression Fantasy stories, and this book has elements of that Genre. Seeing Dug grow in experience, as well as renown, skill, and knowledge, is alone worth the price of admission.

There were a few typos still present, which always irks me, and the story is a little slow getting started. There is also a lot of logistics involved in the movement of this trade run, but the book is never bogged down by ‘who sold what’ and ‘what sort of profit is being made.’

The biggest downer to me is the book’s ending. It clearly sets up a sequel, but since this adventure is a set of chronological stories, it fails to have any lasting resonance as an ending. There is a climactic arc just before the ending chapter, but it only lasts a short time, and ends up just being another little fantastic adventure along the way. That said, if there’s a sequel to Beyond the Edge of the Map, I will read it just to follow further adventures with this trade caravan in this well-realized world.

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