The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Title: The Emerald Atlas (The Books of the Beginning #1)
Author: John Stephens
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: April 5, 2010
Hardcover, 432 pages
ISBN: 0375868704 (ISBN13: 9780375868702)
Available @ Amazon | B&N |Book Depository

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.

This is one of those books that sucks you in from the first paragraph. There is quite a bit of mystery to it that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The story is centered around three orphans, Kate, Michael and Emma. Their parents gave them up for adoption at a very young age. You don't know why but you know that it's for their own good. The children grow up in several different orphanages over the years. I really liked the children's characters. They each have their own distinct personalities that add charm into this story. Kate is the eldest. She's a leader but she's still young with lots of insecurities. Michael is the middle child. He's bookish with a fascination for dwarfs that boarders on obsession.  Emma is the youngest and the girl has gumption. I think she's my favorite of the three. Emma is a brave and tough cookie but at times you see her vulnerabilities come through. I love the dialog between the three children. Several times I laughed out loud because of it. John Stephens captured the art of sibling rivalry perfectly. The children are placed in a new orphanage where they are the only children. This is where the adventure begins. They are led through a time traveling journey full of magic and impossibilities. Along the way they find friendship and make enemies. They unlock secrets that have been forgotten and awaken mystical forces. The children find out that they are more important than they could ever imagine. I like how John Stephens slowly unravels the children's personalities. He shows you their strengths and weaknesses that help to form them. He pulls back their layers as the children are tested in all sorts of ways. 
I really like this book. The characters are great although some of the characters reminded me of others. For instance, Granny reminded my a little bit of Yoda and the secretary reminded me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. It's not that they were exact copies but there was something about their characters that brought these others to mind. This did not take away from the story at all. This is the first book in the series and I can't wait to see what happens next. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters. 


  1. I've been wondering about this book as I've seen it popping up around blogs and sites. Great review. Thanks for the insight.


  2. I have seen this book in some blogs.Just like you, most of them loved it. It makes me also want to read it. It's always nice to read positive things about one book.


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