Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)From Goodreads:
John Stephens' aptly-titled new fantasy trilogy begins auspiciously with a nimble, fast-paced tale of three siblings. Kate, Michael, and Emma have suffered through ten years of odious orphanage "care"; now they have slipped into the care of the eccentric, disturbingly mysterious Dr. Pym. While exploring their new home, the children discover a magical green book. With that discovery, a decade of tedium dissolves into cascades of dangerous time travel adventures and struggles with a beautiful witch and decidedly less attractive zombielike Screechers. High early reader marks for strong characterization and battle scenes.
This is one of those fun children's books that can have an appeal to even the adult crowd. There is magic and wonderfully ridiculous names in which fans of English children's books will enjoy. In fact when we really get acquainted with the children at the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans. This is the worst of the lot of orphanages; it's scraping the barrel. As all good English faerie tales go, they escape this horrible orphanage and land on the doorstep of the strangest orphanage of all. In fact, they are the only 3 children in residence at the edge of the strangest village they have seen. A village without any children at all. They explore the grounds and wander into a odd looking study where they find an empty book. Magically they are transported into the past and find out why the village had become so odd. A witch had the town under her thumb and the children were her prisoners. This is where the adventure truly begins.

Oh I will not give anything away from this point on *evil laugh* (sorry, the witch put a spell on me...yea, that's a good one...uh why I can't say). However, if you enjoy a good children's tale full of magic and adventure, I'd say try this book out. It is written simply for MG readers, but not so simply that YA or adults will lose interest. It has strong primary and secondary characters as well as good world building. It is also book 1 in a trilogy (yes, I read book 1 first... be prepared to hand out the smelling salts!). I give this book 4 stars.

There is a website for The Emerald Atlas. I received this ARC by the publisher, Knoff and no compensation for my review was given.


  1. Ooh I like the look of this one, it looks and sounds suitably dark for us adults.

  2. Hmmmm.... I am kinda conflicted with this book, on the one hand you gave it 4/5 starts which means that it is obviously quite good, but on the other hand it seems quite similar to the Series of Unfortunate Events/ Chronicles of Narnia... Hmmmm....

  3. It sounds like a fun read! But like Avery said, it reminds me of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

  4. This one sounds like a fun read xD Thanks for the review *checks out the trailer* I love book trailers!

  5. This seems like such a fun and cute read! I've written the title down to pass on to my niece, I think she'd love it. Thanks Melissa:)

  6. This looks like suck a fun read chick!

  7. I like to read about characters with unique and very strange names. ;)

  8. I've heard so many good opinions about this one that I must read it for sure - splendid review, thanks a lot! Your evil laugh made my evening ! ;)

  9. What?! No way, evil laugh!
    *gives you the evil eye* You are such a meanie ;)

  10. You know... I've kind of always wished I had a wonderfully ridiculous name instead of plain old Melissa.

    Wait... oops. Awkward. I didn't mean you, I meant me.

    You believe me right?

    And I would comment about the evil laugh, but I am going to be the bigger person that I am and refrain.

    Sounds like a fun book. :))

  11. @...Petty... Yes, it should appeal enough to adults as well.

    @Avery... Elements are similar to those books as well as to other English tales. It was intentional, but still a story in it's own right.

    @Misha... It was fun.

    @Samita... There have been a few I don't like, but this one I did like. :)

    @Jenny...Oh I think it would be perfect for her.

    @Bookish... it was! :)

    @Nina... Well, the children's names were normal, but some of the places they visited were unusual. :D

    @anachronist...Glad I gave you a smile. An EVIL smile! ;)

    @Blodeuedd... Hee hee.. hey! You do the same, but just don't admit to the evil grin. :D

    @Missie... HEY! Plain! Psh! Nope... don't believe you. *sulks* You just want to be the bigger person so I'd look up to you. Okay... I'm short. I admit it. ;D

  12. Great review! Thanks for bringing this one to my attention. :)

  13. This sounds like Narnia and Spiderwick cross-bred with Lemony Snicket, which means I am rabid for it!

  14. Oh Melissa, This one sounds great! :) I love the sounds of it. Now another book I could share with my son. :) Thanks!!!

  15. I'm glad you gave it a good review. I picked it up at Walmart last week and my 13 year old is reading it right now.

  16. Great review. I am not a huge fan of fantasy so this is probably not for me but I am glad you enjoyed it :)

  17. Oh this sounds like the perfect gifts some of the MG readers in my life! I think they are tired of "aunt" Flea giving them books but lately I have gone to blaming y'all for saying they are really good.

    (They actually love books and getting them but I still blame y'all)!


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