Book Review: The Emerald Atlas

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Emerald Atlas The Emerald Atlas by
Series: The Books of Beginning #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 417

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.

My Review:

Sometimes the books we love are huge bestsellers we hear about for weeks before they’re published. Then again sometimes we pick something on a whim, based on title, blurb or whatever, just to see. For me The Emerald Atlas was one of the latter. I’m actually really surprised, with so many people doing the Debut Author Challenge, that I haven’t seen one single review of this book yet, good or bad. This is especially surprising considering how much I loved the book!
Of course, it’s not all that surprising that I loved the book in the first place, since it really is a mixture of all my favorite YA/MG series’ rolled into one. Take Harry Potter, add in a good dose of Series of Unfortunate Events and Percy Jackson, and just a touch of Faerie Wars, Peter Pan, and The Mortal Instruments and you’d have something very similar to The Emerald Atlas. Stephens gets the blend of reality and fantasy just right to create my own personal Neverland. (As an aside, I love it when authors create a world so well that it seems to explain other stories as well as their own, and this seems like the perfect explanation of Peter Pan too!)

But the thing I love the most, I think, is that there’s someone and something for everyone in this book. Younger readers will identify with Emma and her need to be different from her siblings, while older readers will identify with Kate, who feels a responsibility to protect Michael and Emma, despite their best efforts at getting into trouble. Those of us much older than the intended audience will see the similarities to the novels we grew up with – Harry Potter and His Dark Materials among others – while reveling in the new and interesting ways these tropes have been put together.

The point, if you haven’t guessed already, is that this book, and it’s sequels, are books to look forward to, to read and to cherish. Find yourself a copy, if you haven’t already, and help spread the word!

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