Title: The Emerald Atlas
Author: John Stephens
Genre: Juvi, fantasy, adventure, friendship
Perfect for: Middle school kids who like long fantasy tales
Star Rating: 4/5 stars
Taken from Goodreads, "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' by John Stephens is a fun fantasy adventure that is sure to please readers of Cornelia Funke's 'Inkheart' series, as well as fans of Lemony Snicket's 'Series of Unfortunate Events'. 'The Emerald Atlas' has a great cast of characters and some really great dialogue. And the funny thing? This juvi friendly story was dreamed up by someone who usually works on WB shows like Gilmore Girls or Gossip Girl!
I've found that in-between YA reads, it's always nice to delve into a good juvi fantasy adventure. If you're in need of a Juvi fix, this book just might be what you're looking for. The standout feature of this novel, which is the first in a trilogy, has to be the characters.
We've seen plenty of books that star orphan children, but this set of kids seemed a little different. I found all three siblings unique, likable, and, actually, quite real. My favorite character of the three is Emma. She's the youngest of the trio. She's a tough, spicy girl who you don't want to mess with. Middle brother, Michael, is obsessed with knowledge, especially that on fantastical things. And then there is big sister Kate, who at a very young age was entrusted by her mother to keep her siblings safe. Each child has their own journey to take and that is one thing I really liked about this story. Because each character had their own thing going on, we got to see a bit of development in each of them, not just one.
This book has some great dialogue. The lines are fun and have a life of their own. Stephens did a wonderful job at inserting a touch of everyday humor into his dialogue and story. One running gag in particular made me laugh out-loud (note to future time travelers-- you may need to explain who you are to the same person a lot depending on the timeline!)
The only thing that bugged me a bit in 'The Emerald Atlas' was that the descriptions were a bit blocky. That's a big pet peeve of mine because I don't do well with long involved paragraphs about things. I like them to be broken up with dialogue. Many time Stephens would use a line of description (instead of dialogue) to describe what people were discussing. I would have loved for him to just show us, as opposed to telling us what was happening. Plus, then it would have cut down the page count a bit-- this is quite a long read!
Other than that minor issue, I enjoyed 'The Emerald Atlas'. No spoilers, but the ending had me grinning from ear to ear. It was very well done! 'The Emerald Atlas' is a fun, fantasy read that should catch young readers interest quickly and even some older readers (like me!). I'm looking forward to the next installment of this series!