Book Review: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

View from the window seat:
Kate, Michael, and Emma P have spent the past four years in countless orphanages. When they fail to impress a rich lady looking to adopt children, they’re shuttled off to the mysterious Cambridge Falls, a place where the people seem frightened and the three siblings seem to be the only children in town. Housed in a mansion belonging to the unknown benefactor Dr. Pym, the children find a green book that sets them on an adventure to change the cursed town of Cambridge Falls and possibly even save the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced fantasy adventure. I honestly wasn’t expecting a story with such depth and complexity. My favorite character arc was that of the eldest sibling, Kate. She starts off the novel weary from the responsibility of looking after her two younger siblings for all these years, but still loving them fiercely. As she faces dangers and struggles to protect those around her, she is forced to confront her feelings about the parents who let them be taken away ten years ago. I loved the bond between the siblings; even when they make mistakes, their love for each other stays strong.

This book features time travel as part of the central conflict, which can be tricky to pull off. That said, I think the author handles this masterfully. The time travel logic of this world is similar to that of the Star Trek reboot (sorry, I can’t help but try and mention this movie as often as possible because of its sheer awesomeness) in that traveling back in time alters the flow of history and creates an alternate stream of events. The Emerald Atlas focuses on the first of three Books of Beginning; the first book’s power is of time and space. I can’t wait to see what the other two books can do.

Overall impression:
With fast-paced action and a strong cast of characters, The Emerald Atlas is an entertaining read sure to keep readers anxiously awaiting the next part of the story.



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