Since the dawn of time, humankind has been fascinated by the visions that visit the mind during the time of REM sleep. The Mesopotamians believed that when a person dreamed, the soul left the body traveled to the places seen in the dream. The Egyptians believed dreams were divine revelation from the gods. Freud believed that dreams are an expression of a person’s deepest fears and desires. However in Delores Hawk’s novel, The Edge of Finalia, the protagonist Gemma and the rest of her society are taught from a young age that dreams are a thing to be ignored and suppressed. Gemma may have been taught from a young age to pinch herself when dreams come upon her, but unlike the rest of her society, she still has dreams.
But dreaming is not the only thing that makes Gemma different from other Finalians; Gemma is divergent in her society. From a young age, Gemma has flouted the rules of Finalian society; she has worn contraband clothing, built dream catchers and gone on adventures with her friend, Lecko. If Gemma were Katniss, Lecko would be her Gale. However, by the time the novel begins, they have grown apart as Lecko has become a Boarder Watcher and the carrier of the famed Golden Javelin. When he first appears in the novel, he and Gemma have an argument and Gemma accuses him as being as bad as The Parents.
Gemma’s parents, whom she called The Parents since the pronoun “my” has been deemed too personal, are average everyday Finalian citizens who despair of their daughter’s differences. When Gemma becomes a thirteen, they want her to quietly fill out her personality profile (a questionnaire that Finalia’s government uses to decide its citizen’s future) so she can leave them as soon as possible. When Gemma vaporizes it, it slips out that her parents never wanted her in the first place. The only person in Gemma’s entire Nuclear Family who really loves her is her little sister Ruby.
The closest thing that Gemma has to a real parent is her mentor Sar-Aga, a sorceress also known as Lady English. Gemma met Lady English a year before the novel started after she collided with her while skipping (one of many prohibited acts). When Lady English sees Gemma, she is flabbergasted because years before – when she was still in her homeland (the Island of Osiris) – she had seen a vision of Gemma leading a rag-tag army in her crystal hexagons (divination tool). She invites Gemma to her tower later so she can educate her and teach her how to control her DreamState.
Later in her novel, Gemma is captured by what she called the “Twisted Wizards” or “Twizs” (a racial slur). The Wizards are the real natives of Finalia, and resent the Finalians for kicking them out of their homeland and into the desert. The wizard that captured Gemma is called Devrolo. He kidnapped her when she was in her DreamState. She and Devrolo were initially antagonistic towards each other, but gradually Stockholm syndrome set in and Devrolo takes over in the place that Lady English had stopped. The Wizards, like Lady English, believed that Gemma was the One-Whom who was mentioned in the Book of Life.
In the prophecy, it said that when three rusty moons were in zyzygy, the One-Whom, along with a beast, a raven and a snake would fight the Maw. As the antagonist in this series, the Maw is a great devourer of universes who, along his army of Dreaded Forces and right-hand man, the Necrofager, is coming to obliterate Finalia.
For the portions of the book that may seem cliché to the average book fanatic, Hawk makes up for it via her rich usage of language, allusions and character growth. The Pseudonymous Bosch of the Secret Series aptly described the book in these words,
“beware, this marvelous and fantastical book will hold you spellbound.” If you wish to read the first chapter of this book, it can be found here, the full book can be found on Amazon here.