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The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)
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The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  10,687 ratings  ·  1,613 reviews
Called “A new Narnia for the tween set” by theNew York Timesand perfect for fans of theHis Dark Materialsseries,The Emerald Atlasbrims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

These three siblings have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost bag...more
Hardcover, 417 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Becky
I requested this book thinking that it would be a fun and magical children's story aimed at 8-10 year olds, like with the Percy Jackson series, but I was really surprised by the complexity and depth in this book, as well as the darkness, and loved every minute of reading it. I'm actually a little disappointed that I'll now have to wait for so long to read the next book and see what happens.

Kate, Michael and Emma have been shunted from orphanage to orphanage for 10 years, since being removed fro...more
Priscilla
AHHHHHHH!!! So good.

First impressions:
1. The story is amazing! It's fantastical, magical, fast-paced and action-packed!
2. Characters are love. The relationships between Kate, Michael and Emma are great. There is a fierce love and hate (like with all siblings) relationship between them. And their growth and development is outstanding! There are great side characters as well.
3. Fresh. You would think orphans on a quest/adventure to save the world has been done a billion + 1 times, but The Emerald...more
Cora Linn
WOW.

This was as magical as Harry Potter and as epic as Narnia. The Emerald Atlas was simply a delight to read.

This is a fantastic children's fantasy. The characters are engaging and each has their own personality, making it easy to relate to at least one. And they have flaws. They have real believable flaws.

The world is simply enchanting. It is built so well that I could imagine it all so well - at points I wondered to myself if there had been a dramatisation of this made because it really came...more
Stephanie
First in a series of three (I'm guessing) about three kids who are supposed to save the world. The only thing is they don't know why and they don't know how...

These three kids, Kate, Michael and Emma are orphans. Their parents had them taken to an orphanage ten years ago with a promise to Kate that they would be back. Since then the children have been shuffled from home to home never giving up on their parents and never allowing themselves to be adopted. They eventually end up in a place called...more
Jeffrey
Aug 05, 2011 Jeffrey rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 10 to 12 set who have finished Harry Potter and want a new adventure
Recommended to Jeffrey by: New York Times
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2011
JK Rowlings Harry Potter series resulted in a cataclysmic change in fantasy fiction for children. Forty years ago science fiction was marketed to children and young adults. Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Ursula LeGuin were available at the library, but fantasy was mostly missing. This is not to say fantasy novels were not available, but it was primarily limited to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It was not until The Sword of Shannara was published in 1977 and becam...more
Nian
Jul 06, 2011 Nian rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
The Emerald Atlas reads like a mix of C.S.Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter, and even Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. It was just too much - so many plots and elements taken from every other popular series that Stephens almost fails to deliver his own twists, his unique charms, to the novel.

Stephen's protagonists are not unfamiliar. They're almost archetypal. And certainly, the're very reminiscent of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire - p...more
Allison
This is an amazing book! Let me restate that: this is an AMAZING, TERRIFIC, APPALLING, AWESOME, EXTREME, SHOCKING, MONSTROUS, ASTOUNDING, ELECTRIFYING, FLABBERGASTING, IMPRESSING, ASTONISHING, IMAGINATIVE, GRASPING book!!!!!!!! Ten years ago Christmas, 3 kids were dropped at an orphanage. They know their parents are alive. For the past ten years the children have gone from orphange to orphanage. Now they are headed to the mysterios Cambridge Falls that nobody can tell them anything about. There...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay...I torn here. I'd like to go a bit more than 3 stars here, but if I do I'll need to go find all my 4 star books and move them up to 5, then what do i do with the 5 star books?

So, stuck with 3 and telling you i find it a bit better than "just 3".

You will, if like me, you occasionally pick up a YA book or if you have "YAs" in your life and read with them, find some of this book somewhat familiar. A group of 3 children (rather than a single child) are whisked away into the night away from th...more
Karen
I’m personally not a big fan of fantasy books, but I picked this one up because it got such good reviews and sounded interesting. The first book in a new trilogy, it’s the story of 3 young siblings who have been in various orphanages for 10 years, despite their conviction that their parents are coming back for them some day. Their lives change when Kate, Michael and Emma discover a powerful book of magic which leads them on exciting but dangerous time travel adventures and to the realization tha...more
Kerith
I started this with a fair amount of skepticism. Considering this has all the hallmarks of the usual derivative fantasy: "children of destiny", a missing magical object upon which the safety of the world hangs in the balance, a very evil bad person, an angelic good person, DWARVES, a wizard, etc etc...really, I should have been rolling my eyes so hard they fell out. But I wasn't. I really, really liked it. The place and time feel like the present, and yet not quite (in what Baltimore is there an...more
Rachael Stein
When I was a "real" children's librarian, I tried to maintain a familiarity with the books that were popular with kids, which occasionally meant reading books that didn't live up to my lofty literary standards. Since I don't work directly with the public anymore, I rarely take the time to read mediocre books on purpose. Sometimes I feel like this gives me a skewed set of standards for the books I do read. It's easy to nitpick A Monster Calls when you're comparing it to Breadcrumbs, instead of th...more
Migdalia
Sometimes authors have really good ideas, but they need more time or more pages to develop them. Such is the case with The Emerald Atlas. We've seen this kind of thing before: children who turn out to be "chosen ones" who have to fulfill some prophecy to save the world from the clutches of evil. Some authors invest the time and create masterworks (Rowling, Lewis, Flanagan). Others have nice ideas, but the storytelling involved is a lot more complicated than they are willing to do or are capable...more
Corinne
What do you get if you throw together The Series of Unfortunate Events, The Lord of the Rings, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and a little bit of Harry Potter type magic? You get this book, an adventure story, a fantasy story - a story of orphans and wizards, hidden books and midnight chases.

One winter night, four year old Kate and her two siblings are separated from their parents for a secret purpose - and while she wants to believe they are still alive, ten years of orphanage swapping be...more
Amanda
While it is possible for a plot to be too simple, this author seemed to believe that his story would get better and better the more complicated he could make the plot. What we end up with is three protagonists who are rarely together so we have to follow at least two and sometimes three different story lines at the same time with constant shifting between them, not to mention all the not-very-well-defined time traveling and it's kind of a mess. There are two or three chapters near the end which...more
Mitch
John Steven's "The Emerald Atlas" was a real dud. It didn't know what it wanted to be, Harry Potter or Narnia. And it failed to be either and also failed to be something new and original. The plot was dull, the characters unlikeable, and the plotline forced. I kept reading on and on hoping for it to get better but instead I started disliking it evermore.

I had high hopes for this one...3 children, parents suddenly vanish, then they are young teens who go on an adventure on a strange island. Soun...more
Sam
What a fantastical adventure! This was an enjoyable book filled with magic, wizards, dwarves, prophecy and humor. I only gave this book 3 stars because the three main characters; the children Kate, Emma & Michael weren't my favourite characters. I found that I liked them ok but who I thought was fantastic was Dr Pym. He was funny, brave and mysterious. Kind of reminded me of Dumbledore.... I loved the ending and look forward to the next installment.
Kellee
Complete review at: http://www.teachmentortexts.com/2011/...

(An almost 5)

Summary: Kate, Michael and Emma have been alone for 10 years. Kate's last memory of her mother is as the 3 of them were being taken away; her mother told her to take care of her siblings and that has been the center of Kate's existence since then. And she has done the best she could as the three of them have been shuffled from orphanage to orphanage never really finding home and always wondering why their parents abandoned...more
Tina
My only qualm with this book is that it is just part of a trilogy, so I only have two more books to look forward to. I was hooked on this book from the beginning. Kate was awakened by her frantic mother to make a promise to watch over Michael and Emma, then all three were whisked away to their orphanage-hopping new lives. This fast-paced start was ominous and mysterious. It also set the tone for the rest of the book. While there are many delightful, light and funny moments; there is always an un...more
Anne Nikoline
Jan 02, 2012 Anne Nikoline rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: younger readers
Recommended to Anne Nikoline by: nice mentions
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens is undoubtedly a great story of mixed creatures and adventures. At least I can imagine this might be the case if you are thirteen years old or even younger. Being my age, almost twenty years old, this novel did not appeal to me highly which is also why I do believe this book should have a age limit, not because it contains swear words or inappropriate descriptions but for the enjoyment only.

What I did like about this novel was the characteristic of Kate, Micha...more
Katri
Actual rating might be 3.5.

A fun and fairly original fantasy adventure, the first of a series, aimed especially at children/teenager audience. The story was original and imaginative enough, though still having a lot that reminds you of things in various fantasy books. It's about three siblings (Kate, Michael and Emma) who have spent almost all their lives wandering from one orphanage to another, until the last one they're sent to is the start of an unexpected adventure involving a mysterious mag...more
Barb Middleton
Magic. Wizards. Time Travel. Dwarves. Witches. Adventure. Sounds fun, right? It is!

In The Emerald Atlas, by John Stephens, Kate, Michael, and Emma are being shuffled from orphanage to orphanage after their parents mysteriously give them up. Kate is told by her mother to look after Michael and Emma, but when they end up in a creepy mansion in Cambridge Falls with a book that allows them to travel through time, Kate’s job becomes impossible. Not only are evil creatures trying to capture the three...more
Brenda
Kate, Michael and Emma have been living in orphanages since they were taken away from their parent's with a promise that they will all be reunited one day. After things fall through with their placement with a new family, the children are brought to Cambridge Falls. It is here that the children begin their adventure. There is something very comforting and familiar while reading this story. It has a classic book feel but also is quite unique as well. There is also a great deal of complexity with...more
Kristin (Beneath Shining Stars, I Read)
Admittedly, when I think of books involving siblings, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis immediately spring to mind. In part, I was afraid that it would drift too closely along those lines and I am pleased to say that it was unique.

Siblings Kate (the eldest), Michael (the middle child), and Emma (the youngest) have been whisked away from the safety and comfort of their own home to be protected from the darker forces that are after them. A...more
Belle
** This review originally appeared on http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/ **

This book was pretty magical.

I picked it up not really knowing what to expect, except that I liked the cover (yep, I judge books by their covers), and that it was "kinda like Harry Potter" according to my fiance, who'd read about one chapter of it before I stole it off him while we were on holidays. Well, it is "kinda like Harry Potter", in that it involves an old wizard, a trio of kids, magic and a few mythical creatur...more
Maryanne
(4.5 Stars)
Wonderful enticing, gripping read. Great paradigms - 3 children in a succession of orphanages, a mysterious wizard/ mentor, and a dangerous quest whose outcome can effect the lives of a whole village. What could be better? The extra half star for the very funny secondary characters - the dwarves, and particularly loved the grumbling housekeeper, who labours under the misapprehension that the children believe they are French royalty - the string of jokes she conjours from this are hila...more
annik
Основное, к чему у меня претензии – это герои. Трое сироток, которым суждено узнать о пророчестве и стать избранными, спасти мир и родителей. Ладно, подобную банальность еще можно было бы простить, если бы детки не раздражали со страшной силой. Развитие получила только старшая (Кейт), в то время как умник (Майкл) и задира (Эмма) выступают маленькими картонками без капли мотивации. Особенно меня порадовал финт, когда диковатая Эмма с trust issues по жизни вдруг стала безоговорочно доверять первом...more
Lauren
I wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, Stephens' snappy TV dialogue (a holdover from his career as a writer on Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl) doesn't translate for me. I can see where he tried to get a fast-paced interchange between characters, but it ended up seeming a bit artificial. The story has a lot of neat magical elements...but I'm not sure I'd pick up the next installments as they appear.
Kristen
Holy crap. This book was recommended to me, and recommended specifically in audiobook form because Jim Dale is awesome. He is, and so is The Emerald Atlas. I read a review or two that went into details. Those people are more articulate than I am. Read their reviews. Read this book. I'm off to start listening to the sequel.
Leora Cohen-Tigör
The book "The Emerald Atlas" takes place in present day Cambridge Falls, a tiny speck on the map across from Lake Champlain. Here we find our three "orphans", brave Kate, dwarf-obsessed Michael, and short-fused Emma, who's life has been one horrible event after another. 10 years ago Kate made a promise to her mother, that she would keep her younger siblings safe, and since arriving in Cambridge Falls, it's becoming harder and harder. The three "orphans" only have two things in life to hold onto...more
Madeleine
What a wonderful story!

I highly recommend this book and can't wait for the next part of the series. It's a lovely mix of Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland and the Chronicles of Narnia - all at once! An easy, entertaining and enjoyable read! :D
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John Stephens spent ten years working in television and was executive producer of Gossip Girl and a writer for Gilmore Girls and The O.C. He holds an MFA from the University of Virginia. John and his wife have a dog named Bug and live in Los Angeles. His debut book 'The Emerald Atlas' is the first in a series of books.
More about John Stephens...
The Fire Chronicle (The Books of Beginning, #2) The Black Reckoning (The Books of Beginning, #3) The Emerald Atlas Gift Bundle L'atlante di fuoco - Assaggi d'autore gratuiti: Tre bambini. Due mondi. Una profezia

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“But I guess everything in life is a bit disappointing, isn't it?” 27 likes
“I do not know what happened with your parents or why they did what they did. But in all the world, I could have wished for no daughter but you.” 17 likes
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