Friday, April 15, 2011

Review: The Emerald Atlas

Summary: Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world. -- Knopf

I debated featuring THE EMERALD ATLAS by John Stephens for this week's Kid Konnection, but I really felt as if I couldn't wait even another day to share my thoughts about this book. This book is fantastic and I think middle graders will just devour it. This story has fantasy, time travel, action, and adventure along with a great cast of characters. It's also exciting, heart-warming, and funny! And as a mom, I loved that there are some nice messages about honesty, devotion and the importance of family. It's all all-around terrific read!

Kids will love all of the fantasy and action/adventure scenes in THE EMERALD ATLAS (and I have to admit I actually enjoyed them too!) When Kate, Michael, and Emma find themselves moved to, yet again, another orphanage, they realize that this time might be a little bit different. They are quickly swept up into a journey to the past where they encounter a very evil woman, some mystical creatures, as well as a magical land. They also learn that the book in their possession holds the power to save people's lives. It's up to Kate, Michael, and Emma to figure out how!

I have to admit that I'm not usually a fan of fantasy -- I always make an exception for the Harry Potter books though because I loved them! However, I found myself drawn into THE EMERALD ATLAS from the very start. To be honest, I think it's because I loved the characters so much. The kids were each very special in their own way (and I'm sure that kids are going to be able to relate to at least one of them!); but I also thought that the adult characters, Gabriel and Dr. Pym, were interesting. Kate, Michael, and Emma had led rather depressing lives -- they had no parents, they grew up in orphanages, they were bullied, etc.; but somehow, they got through and perhaps were even made stronger as a result of the challenges they faced. Whatever the case might be, they certainly were smart and strong and loyal -- and all of these traits served them well in THE EMERALD ATLAS.

THE EMERALD ATLAS is the first book in a planned trilogy and I must say that I am looking forward to the next installment already! I was satisfied with how book one wrapped up; however, I must say that the author also did a great job of setting up book two. There were enough teasers/cliffhangers that I was left anticipating what the future (or should I also say the past?) will hold for Kate Michael, and Emma. If the next two books are anything like THE EMERALD ATLAS, then I'm predicting huge things for this series and Mr. Stephens.

There is a gorgeous website devoted to THE EMERALD ATLAS. I thought the illustrations were terrific and captured the essence of the book perfectly. In addition, you can learn more about the characters and the author, and you can watch a trailer for the book and read an excerpt. You can even download an Emerald Atlas iron-on!

I recently discovered that there is an audiobook available for THE EMERALD ATLAS! It's narrated by Grammy and Tony Award winning narrator Jim Dale (who just happens to be the man behind the 146 voices that appeared in the Harry Potter novels.) I am dying to get this book on audio, and I think it would be perfect for our entire family during our upcoming 20 hour road trip!

I found THE EMERALD ATLAS to be a terrific middle-grade book, and I'm sure is going to appeal to a lot of fantasy and adventure fans!

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel.


Pam Pho said...

I LOVED this book so much. Glad to see you appreciated it as well. We recently met the author on tour at Hicklebee's and the copy he signed for my daughter is the first he has ever signed in a bookstore!

Anonymous said...

I'm reading this aloud to my kids right now, and we're all LOVING it!

bermudaonion said...

I don't consider myself a fan of fantasy either, but there have been exceptions (like Harry Potter). This one sounds like one I would like as well.

Anonymous said...

After reading another review I was thinking of recommending this book to my sister for my nephew but I wasn't sure. Now I am. Great review

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of this and am trying to convince my daughter to read it with me. I don't know why she seems uninterested. It sounds really good.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

You're right - the pictures on the website are beautiful! Thanks for sharing the info on this one!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I really need to get my paws on this. I have recommended it to the librarian at my kids' school. We need to introduce some kids to this series!

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I've been meaning to buy this one for my oldest! Thanks for the review! Bumping it up on the "must buy" list.

Ms. Yingling said...

Thanks for the positive review. I included a link to this from my blog because I had trouble getting into this one, but can see how you would have liked it.