Monday, October 17, 2011

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Title: The Emerald Atlas

Author: John Stephens

Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, April 2011

Pages: 417

Series: Book 1, Books of Beginning

Summary: 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. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: The Emerald Atlas was a fun read.  It originally reminded me a little of The Series of Unfortunate Events, mostly because there are three children and they don’t know where their parents are so they get shuffled around from place to place, each one being as bad as the next.  However, once you actually get into The Emerald Atlas it is a completely different story.

I really liked the character interaction between the three siblings.  It was realistic in that they weren’t the best of friends and getting along every minute of the day.  They fought and niggled at each other.  They also had sibling rivalry.  It was really good because it was just like real siblings.

I liked the story line itself as well.  It was fantasy so it was really good.  It also had a really good lead up to the next book in the series.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next book and finding out more about these Books of Beginning.  My one complaint was that I felt the ending dragged out a little and that it could’ve finished earlier but I guess the little bit at the end also added to the overarching storyline so it was necessary.

Another really awesome thing was that there were the occasional funny bits, so I got a laugh in here and there.  It was also really interesting how there were some parts that were quite serious as well.  That definitely made things interesting.

Overall, I quite enjoyed The Emerald Atlas, it was quite an intriguing book but it wasn’t my absolute favourite middle grade book.  In saying that however, I am definitely intrigued as to what is going to happen next.  If you’re looking for a fun middle grade fantasy then this is definitely a good one to pick up.

Source: Library


  1. I have this book checked out from the library but haven't read it yet. Some reviews have compared this to both A Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter. I am glad that you thought it was good and that there is some humor in it. I hope I can find the time to read The Emerald Atlas. It sounds like fun. Thanks for your review!

  2. The book is definitely a must read. Hard to put down, For all that it's not the first of its type ever penned, it is very well written in terms of vivid dialogue between the characters and description of scenery. The characters, both human and unhuman, were genuine.


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