Book Review: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Recently I’ve found I’ve had much more time for reading – perhaps I’ve made more time, who knows, but a good while ago (and following my friend Claire who also did this) I used to record what books I’d read, giving them a brief review. Using this method I discovered one year that I’d read about forty books – I’ll be lucky this year if I read half that number! I haven’t done this for a long time, but since I’ve now got ole bloggy here, I thought I’d record them here. It’s purely for my own interest but if you find it interesting then yay!

I’ve already reviewed House of the Hanged and Divergent which were books by authors new to me and I continue the trend of new authors by reviewing The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (sponsored).

At first when I saw the book I wasn’t especially impressed as I thought it’s another Harry Potter/Percy Jackson/Lemony Snicket etc etc thing, but once I’d started reading I really did enjoy the story which stood on its own and, while it had similarities to these other books, there were some really good elements and characters that lifted it somewhat.

The Emerald Atlas is the first in a trilogy called The Books of Beginning and tells the story of Kate, Michael and Emma who are taken from their beds in the middle of the night to protect them against a dark power. Ten years later they have been through a succession of orphanages and, after their bad behaviour becomes too much for the latest one, they find themselves at a very curious orphanage in a town called Cambridge Falls – and they are the only residents. As they explore the orphanage they find a mysterious old book which, they discover quite suddenly and dramatically, allows them to travel through time.

By the time I finished the book, I was really excited by the characters and what was to come in the rest of the trilogy. There really is something for everyone and, although it’s a book aimed at children, I found it thoroughly swashbuckling and enjoyable! Our heroes Kate, Michael and Emma are really well written – they are strong as they have had to be in the orphanages and yet they are still children so have the vulnerabilities that children do have. I particularly liked Emma as, while she’s only eleven, she’s a feisty little firecracker who’s willing to put herself in danger for her family and the new friends she meets in the back-in-time world.

There are also some fantastic villains in the book – The Countess oozes malice and her army of Screechers put me in mind of Harry Potter’s Dementors as they enslave the population of Cambridge Falls int he quest to find the Emerald Atlas. I guess we’ll find out more about him in the other books, but we were also introduced to The Countess’s mysterious master, the man who’s really pulling the strings.

The Emerald Atlas was released in April, so I imagine the next book is a little way off yet, but I will certainly be at the front of the queue for it!

There are a few places to find out more about The Emerald Atlas and the trilogy and to view the book trailer including the book’s website and the Global site at Random House Kids.

The Emerald Atlas is available now and if you’d like to buy it from Amazon, you can use my affiliate link here.

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