Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

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.
I had no idea what to expect with this story. At first, it sounded a little too similar to The Series of Unfortunate Events, but as the story unfolded, it was nothing like it. I really enjoyed this book.

The story is told in multiple points of view, which wasn’t my favorite. I would have preferred staying in Kate’s head, but it didn’t interfere with my overall enjoyment. The story is gripping and fast-paced, and lots of fun. The tension mounts higher and higher as the story progresses, and I couldn’t put it down toward the end.

Time travel books can be difficult to pull off, and it’s hard to avoid plot holes. But this story manages to keep the plot tight and interesting, and offers valid explanations for the changes in the timeline. Big plus, in my mind.

I really liked the relationships between the siblings. Each of them felt real, with their own beliefs, quirks, flaws, and growth. The impression I got is that each book is going to focus on each sibling, and I liked them so much that I’m really looking forward to finding out what’s in store for them next. Definitely recommended.


Kelly Hashway said...

Ooh, this sounds good. I'm adding it to my TBR list. Thanks!

Catherine Stine said...

Thanks for alerting us to this. I'm sure that it would be very hard to write a convincing time travel novel where the "jumping around" doesn't come off as corny. I should read this to see how to avoid the "cornball factor".

cleemckenzie said...

Mulit-POVs is always interesting and in YA dicey. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

Ruth Donnelly said...

Just requested it from the library. sounds great!

Beth said...

Great review.