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Reading Discussion Guides

Vox by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

About the Book

Rook Barkwater’s skycraft crashes in the deadly area of the Edge known as Screetown. Rook is rescued, only to be captured on the way back to the sewers that house the Great Library. Mindwashed and forced to work for a sinister goblin whose life work is to concoct potions that cause instead of cure sickness, Rook must survive only on his wits. With determination and luck, Rook manages to come face-to-face with Vox, the usurper and false Most High Academe, and discovers this brilliant but vengeful former apprentice of Sanctaphrax has a plan to destroy all of Undertown and his enemies. Can Rook foil Vox’s plan?

Guide prepared by Colleen Carroll

Discussion Questions

  • Many of the characters in Vox display an easy ability to commit cruelty: the Guardians of Night, the slavers, Amberfuce, General Tytugg, the Shrykes, and Vox. Although these characters are not human, their actions are sadly very human. Why do you think some people are capable of abject cruelty? Do you think some people are born cruel, or does cruelty occur as a result of certain conditions or experience?
  • Amberfuce attempts to erase Rook’s memories. Rook resists by holding onto one memory of warmth and security, and realizes that there was one thing that remained the most important and most precious thing of all. The seed of his existence, the essence of himself-in short, the knowledge of who he was. (pp. 135-136) Why is self-knowledge a necessary part of maturity? How would you describe the essence of yourself?

Extension Activity

  • Form book clubs of four to six students. Assign each group a theme from the book, and have them identify and discuss examples that support the theme.


Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell
Age Level:
Middle Grade