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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

"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."-GoodReads.

Hardcover417 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers 

  I had not seen much on The Emerald Atlas so it was not really on my radar of books to pick up. It was really only by chance that I got it. A bookstore in a small town not far from where I live was going out of business and running some sales so while I was there with my mom we decided to go in and take a look. There was not a lot to choose from anymore, so it stood out on the table from the rest of the books. When I picked it up and started reading the synopsis I remembered one rave review for it. For the life of me I cannot remember who wrote the review, I just know that it said the book was great.
 So after reading the first couple of pages in the store I knew I had to read the rest. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of reading another book at the time and could not start this one right away. Which was bad for the other book I was reading because I could barely pay attention to it anymore. I wanted more of the world that I was introduced to on the first pages of The Emerald Atlas. When I finally did get to start reading it again, I was nervous, it being a middle grade book and me not having read a middle grade in years. I was a bit worried that it was going to read like a little kids book. It did no such thing.

The whole time I was reading I kept thinking how much I loved the writing. It just flowed so perfectly and the characters and world building were fantastic. What I loved most about the characters is you could really get a sense of how different they were from each other. Even the siblings. A lot of books I have read with siblings tell you they are complete opposites but you never really get to see their differences. This book does not just tell you, it shows you. Which, the three of them are very different and that brought such life to the pages.
After reading one of the chapters I flipped to the back of the book to read the blurb about the author. His writing was too good and I wanted to know if he had any other books out. That is when I found out why I loved the writing so much. John Stephens was a writer for Gilmore Girls! Which happens to be one of my favorite shows. 

The book opens up right at the beginning of the action and it doesn't stop until the end. Something is always going on and it kept me in the story until I turned the last page.
While I enjoyed the entire book and all of the story lines, I was definitely partial to Emma and Gabriel's story. It was just so sweet, and Emma is a little firecracker.
There are a couple places where you need to make sure you are paying attention to what is happening or you will get lost in the next few pages and have to go back and re-read them.

Again, this book did not read like a child's book. It spared no detail of the tragedies of life that even young children can go through. Some of the scenes could be considered a little gruesome, but for me, it added realism to the story. That just because they were kids did not mean they were not going to see or be exposed to bad things happening.

Do not, I repeat, do NOT let the fact that this is a middle grade title steer you away from reading it. Even though this was the first book that I read this year and I know there are going to be many more books read in 2012, I feel it is safe to say that it is already one of my favorites and will be on the top of my list when this year comes to an end. If you love fantasy and worlds within our world you should pick The Emerald Atlas up. 


  1. Oh this is one of my favorite books!! I am so so so glad you liked it!! I agree it didn't really read like a middle grade. I can't wait to read the next two in the series and I'm not really a series person. *high fives*

    1. There's two more? I did not know that, but that's exciting! I can't wait to read them either :)


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