Book Review : The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Kate as a small child was promised that her parents would come back and was given the responsibility to keep her siblings safe. Kate, Michael and Emma have been passed through one orphanage after another until they finally land at the Cambridge Falls Orphanage headed up by Dr. Stanislaus Pym. The first unusual thing is that there are only three orphans in the entire mansion. After that it is hard to keep track of the number of unusual things and curiosities. As a small sample there is a disappearing door, a book that seems empty, visions, time-travel, strange creatures and even dwarfs.
Perhaps the orphans will even survive, and maybe not.
Adult Point of View
The Emerald Atlas feels a bit familiar in the beginning, reminding me of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The children, Kate, Michael and Emma, remind me a lot of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baud.
I enjoyed the quirky characters like the swan lady and her husband, as well as, Hamish the drunken and belligerent dwarf (who according to Michael did not uphold the true values to call himself a dwarf).
I expected this novel to be for younger readers, 10 -14 years old, because of the cover and the writing style. As I read the entire book I felt that it became too dark at times, particularly when a man is cut in half as described in vivid detail. I never love books where the children are the victims of murder, which is the intention of the Countess, and what happened prior to the time traveling of Kate and her siblings.
I also felt that children reading The Emerald Atlas might get confused with the flashbacks and time continuum. One other slightly confusing point was the use of names, sometimes a character was called one name and other times another, such as, the Countess and the Sorceress – they are the same person. It’s a bit cliche that the children are the key to saving everything, including the world from this unexplained force of evil. Sometimes a cliche works and sometimes it doesn’t. I will let you decide if it works this time.
It was a fine book though not earth shattering. For children 13 years and older.
2.75 stars out of 5
– the Mother
Teen Point of View
I thought the book was okay. It seemed like an old story line with the missing parents and the three orphaned children. It was still enjoyable but more lukewarm than other books I’ve read.2.5 out of 5
– the Daughter