Book Review- The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Posted May 29, 2011 by Kara in Uncategorized / 1 Comment

The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)The Emerald Atlas by John  Stephens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


John Stephens’ aptly-titled new fantasy trilogy begins auspiciously with a nimble, fast-paced tale of three siblings. Kate, Michael, and Emma have suffered through ten years of odious orphanage “care”; now they have slipped into the care of the eccentric, disturbingly mysterious Dr. Pym. While exploring their new home, the children discover a magical green book. With that discovery, a decade of tedium dissolves into cascades of dangerous time travel adventures and struggles with a beautiful witch and decidedly less attractive zombielike Screechers. High early reader marks for strong characterization and battle scenes.


I’m not feeling very inspired to write this review. I don’t know if it’s because I’m just not in the mood, or because the book failed to inspire me. Here’s the thing though. I don’t have a lot of criticisms, but it just didn’t do a whole lot for me. One of the things I look for most in books that I am reading is something, anything in the writing that evokes an emotion in me. That didn’t really happen here. I read for pure enjoyment; I read to get completely lost in the story.

The Emerald Atlas was well written however. I did really enjoy the story and the creativity behind the writing. I really enjoyed the scenes with the dwarves. It’s a children’s book so I don’t expect the characterizations to get very deep, but I actually felt fairly connected to the characters here. Emma was my favorite by far and I enjoyed her relationship and attachment to Gabriel.

I don’t usually “do” time-travel books. I had no idea this was a time-travel book before I started it. Had I known, I probably wouldn’t have read it, but I still enjoyed it. I just thought that certain parts of the book were unnecessarily confusing. And if it was confusing for me as an adult, imagine how it would be for a child. Not to mention, I have a hard time suspending disbelief for time-travel plots. But that’s not the author’s fault. It’s just a personal preference for me.

The action was great and a lot happened. I thought the book was well-paced, but the one thing I didn’t care for was the voice. And I’ve been noticing this in a lot of middle-grade books lately. Why do the authors feel the need to talk down to their readers? Just like a lot of others this one was written with an air of “I’m much more intelligent than you, so listen to what I have to say.” I really find that to be annoying. I’m sure most children wouldn’t even notice it, but I do. A lot. I never felt that way with Harry Potter. Not with Fablehaven either. Just because one is a child, they do not need to be talked down to. I really dislike that and it makes a book less enjoyable for me.

I did like the action though, the setting was kind of cool, and I like where the series is going. So I will probably read the next book. It was better than most middle-grade books I have read lately. I guess I am just looking for more. It didn’t wow me enough. Hopefully that will happen with the next book.

View all my reviews

You can purchase The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens here: The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)
And here is a short book trailer so you can get more of an idea of what the book is about.

One response to “Book Review- The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

  1. From there the three children discover this emerald book that is no ordinary book, with it comes the ability to travel through time. However, with great power comes great responsibility and there are people who will stop at nothing to obtain this book of great power.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge