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Emilie and the Hollow World

(Emilie #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  638 ratings  ·  180 reviews
While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.

Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Strange Chemistry
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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Scribble Orca
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of light steam-punk
Recommended to Scribble by: Strange Chemistry

Serendipity, what a strange thing.

Jeffery and Trudie recently reviewed an Angry Robots book Dead Harvest, an imprint of which is Strange Chemistry. After finishing reading their reviews, what should pop up in my inbox but an invite from Strange Chemistry to review an ARC of Emilie and the Hollow World, which I accepted.

If you are a fan of steam-punk, this is a good, fast, light read that takes no risks with the formula nor sets new standards in the genre. The story reminds me strongly of the mor
I broke my own personal rule with Emilie and the Hollow World. I swore up and down to myself that I was going to pick up her Books of the Raksura, but then Emilie appeared, dangling a stand alone fantasy in front of my eyes, (Do you people realize how rare those are?! It’s like finding an elusive unicorn.) and I had to go for it first. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my gamble really paid off. What I found was a delightful adventure, quite a fun example of Gaslamp fantasy, but also a heroine who act ...more
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
4 Stars

This is a very good young adult oriented fantasy adventure that is steeped in steampunk style and in the vein of the classic adventure.

This is a fantastic start to an adventure series starring a very brave and capable young heroine named Emilie. Martha Wells does a great job at making her characters feel real to life. They make up the typical diverse cast that one would expect in a YA novel.

The story and the pacing are swift and enjoyable. This is thankfully not a romance series. It is a
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've only read one of Martha Wells' books before, but that was enough to make me a fan. Compared to that one, City of Bones, Emilie and the Hollow World is a much more simplistic story, but I still enjoyed it a lot. Someone described it as a "girl's own adventure" story, which I think is pretty accurate. The main character Emilie is resourceful: I don't understand people who are criticising it saying she spends the first half of the book just following people around. She runs away from home, sto ...more
Great title! Though I'd be reading whatever it was called, of course.

Lot of nice descriptions of the underwater world and the world itself is typically well-done, but this hasn't the solidity and nuance I'd been hoping for. As others have said, this is much more for younger readers than YA, which is only a problem because it was marketed YA. Still, I enjoyed it and hope that further instalments may be stronger.
Seregil of Rhiminee
Originally published at Risingshadow.

I admit that I'm difficult to please when it comes to young adult fantasy fiction, because most new YA fantasy books tend to be boring and full of annoying descriptions about teenage love affairs between humans and supernatural beings etc, but fortunately there are books like Emilie and the Hollow World out there. Emilie and the Hollow World is one of the few recent books that have restored my faith in YA fantasy fiction.

Martha Wells is an amazingly versatile
Melissa McShane
The good stuff: Martha Wells has always excelled at worldbuilding, and the alternate reality of this book is no exception. It's strongly reminiscent of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne's stories--obviously, since it's about a world that exists at the center of ours--and I think it's not a stretch to tag it as steampunk, though the substance powering the devices of that reality is aether, not steam. The story's sustained action keeps things moving; it reads very much like a Victorian adventure novel. A ...more
Mary Robinette Kowal
I adored this book and ate it in one sitting. Emilie is the sort of resourceful protagonist that you wish you had as a friend. She gets scared when it's appropriate, then pulls herself together and does what needs doing anyway.

In addition to that, Martha Wells has created a wonderful secondary world with strong steampunk elements that should appeal to anyone who likes adventure fantasy. This is a swashbuckling tale that would sit nicely alongside Jules Verne, but with all the boring bits cut out
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really fun adventure story about a young woman, Emilie, and her attempt to stow away and escape her guardians. Emilie's plan is to sneak on the ferry to Silk Harbor where her cousin runs a school for young ladies. Much to Emilie's dismay she ends up on a different ship with a destination that is not at all near her cousin. In fact, it is not at all near anything she has ever heard of in her life. This ship is bound for the Hollow World, the inhabited core of the world, and the only way to get th ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The two Emilie books are in some ways outliers from Martha Wells' oeuvre. They're YA , and a bit light and softer as a result, compared to her occasionally rather dark adult novels. But the other elements are there. Unusual but highly realistic fantasy worlds worlds, an emphasis on exploration and cross-cultural contact, lots of very memorable characters, and a good eye for pacing.

I'd put these somewhere in the middle of Wells's work. Not quite the tour-de-force that is Murderbot or City of Bone
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

Martha Wells is one of my favourite writers. I have loved her Books of the Raksura series as well as Wheel of the Infinite and, based on the strength of those books, I also plan on reading more from her backlist soon. Needless to say, I was very interested to read Emilie and the Hollow World, Wells’ first foray into YA territory.

The story follows main character Emilie as she runs away from home to join her cousin in the big city, but ends stowing away
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: midschool/YA, steampunk, victoriana
I picked this up since I enjoy middlegrade/YA fiction but even more because I became a Martha Wells enthusiast after reading her utterly splendid Books of the Raksura series. No surprise, Wells doesn't disappoint in her first foray into youth lit though I think she's still working toward a more polished voice for younger readers. Still this is a worthy read if you enjoy youth fiction, or are an actual youth (chronologically that is: frankly we're all still 12 years old internally at some point i ...more

3 stars

Sixteen year old Emilie has run away from an uncle and aunt with low expectations of her. Her adventure becomes much more exciting than expected when she is mistaken for a thief and ends up on a sorcerous aethership headed deep into the ocean and beyond.

Martha Wells seems to be struggling recently. While her early books were great, later offerings have been much weaker - not bad, but not up to the previous standard. Sadly, Emilie and Hollow World continues the tre
Bec (booktineus)
This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland


Let's go on a steampunk adventure
HELL YEAH STEAMPUNK! A genre I love and don’t get to read enough. EMILIE AND THE HOLLOW WORLD combines fantasy with steampunk. There are air ships and pistols and interesting gadgets combined with magic and parallel worlds. So many different concepts I love all together in one place!

I thought it was middle grade
For some reason I was under the impre
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
My dad really enjoyed the Journey to the Center of the Earth film starring James Mason and Pat Boone so I watched it many (MANY) times as a child. I liked it - the idea of tunneling underground and finding a fantastical world, dangerous creatures, and lots of adventure. I just had one problem with it.

There was no girl character my age.

Blah, blah, social norms of the time, scandal, ruined future, blah, blah. I didn't care.

I largely still don't.

As I read Wells' Emilie & the Hollow World, I felt li
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prolific fantasy author Martha Wells ventures into young adult territory with EMILIE & THE HOLLOW WORLD, a steampunk adventure inspired by Jules Verne's JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. When Emilie runs away from home, she ends up having to stow aboard a different ship - one headed to the world inside the world to save Lady Marlende's father.

Lady Marelende's father is an inventor and explorer, but he's fallen afoul of another scientific-minded lord who wants to be the first to journey to the
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic old-fashioned adventure! Emilie, unloved and maligned by her aunt and uncle, resolves to run away and seek employment at her cousin's school for girls. When she runs short of funds for the journey, she tries to stow away on a ship. Instead, she finds herself on a ship with a destination outside the realm of the everyday.

Reminiscent of Verne, this adventure has danger, excitement, explorers, scientists, pirates, saboteurs, monsters, magic, airships, submersibles, and a plucky young girl
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fun teen girl stowaway misadventure in a magic/ steampunk world. Recommended
Last read April 2013
Ole Imsen
So, I'll just get the obvious out of the way first. A novel set in the interior of the Earth will inevitably invoke comparisons with Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Having read Verne's book I can sum up what they have in common pretty fast: They are both set in the interior of the Earth. That's it really, Although I must admit that loving Journey to the Centre of the Earth when I read it made me want to read this book, they are two totally different stories. -Not that invoking ...more
Christal (Badass Book Reviews)
See this review and others like it at!

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells was a fast-paced adventure full of rolicking fun and fantastical characters. The small steampunk influences were nicely integrated and the writing flowed quickly and crisply. Though I do feel this story is geared for the middle-grade to younger-YA audience, I think it has enough mystery and intrigue, coupled with a plucky heroine, to satisfy older readers.

Emilie has decided to run away from he
Arra Abella
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steam-punk and fantasy fans; Young Adult
Starting with the cover, I think it was really interesting since it highly depicts what the book is ll about. Through the design, I knew that there will be a whole lot of an adventure even if I have not read the book. It is a great cover with an old vibe to it.

To be honest, it is the first steam-punk novel I have ever encountered. I have never in my life read that genre and it was quite a breath of fresh air to be opened to a new one, new land, a new world. If you are a fan of such, it would be
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I like to call this book "Steam punk for beginners." I love the way that Ms. Wells has taken the genre and make it palatable for younger readers! This book will definitely be on my "to buy" list for the children of my friends and family.

We are introduced to Emilie, a fantastic strong heroine who is loyal and bright and a wonderful role model for young readers, boy and girl alike. Emilie is attempting to gain passage on the steamship Merry Bell in order to reach her cousin in another city and esc
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, mid-grade
I loved following along on Emilie's adventures. In many ways, she is the archetypical Plucky Young Girl, but she is refreshingly human and fallible, and she has a great knack for picking her mentors. Her world and adventures lead her to find lots of women who can lead her to her best self without being dictatorial about what kind of best self she wants to be performing.

The worldbuilding is as magical as Wells always manages, although more sketched-in than for her adult books, mostly because ther
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed this, it didn't knock my socks off. I've been a long time fan of Martha Wells but compared to her earlier, adult fantasies, Emilie left me hollow. On the plus side it's a quick read, with a resourceful and resilient young heroine. I liked the idea of a story revolving around exploration and meeting other cultures, but to me, everything was a little bit shallow. None of the main characters were deeply drawn although to give Wells credit they did seem like distinct people, but as a ...more
Redd Becker
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wells wrote an updated adventure akin to ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ by J. Vernes, with a girl as heroine. A fun read. Lots of action and dialogue kept the story moving. Interesting aliens, both personal and some quite bizzare, spiced the story up. Lessons on friendship and family were woven into Emilie’s adventure. A particularly great read for middle schoolers.

Emily accidentally stows away on a ship. The ship is bound on a journey into the aether winds to the center or ‘hollows’ of th
PopcornReads - MkNoah
Book Review & Giveaway: It may be April Fools Day but we’re not fooling when we tell you that we’ve got a great giveaway for you! Emilie & the Hollow World by Martha Wells is a steampunk sci-fi/fantasy adventure novel aimed at YA readers but, since I quickly forgot that our heroine is a teen, I think readers of all ages will enjoy this one. This is another novel that would do Jules Verne proud – that’s two in two weeks! If this sounds interesting then read on. Emilie is a heroine you’re going to ...more
What I like most about Martha Wells is her ability to make enticing worlds to explore and she treats us to a feast here, a steampunk world with a hollow core, an inner sun, and just enough adventurous philosophers & engineers to get us there & back. It's very reminiscent of Jules Verne and HG Wells, and has an episodic feel that gives me an authentically Victorian vibe. The book is written for the younger end of the YA spectrum, it's fun fast read, and though I did wish it could be a little deep ...more
This was a fun and wonderfully adventurous ride through a world that will absolutely remind you of the adventures in the Jules Verne state of mind. With marvelous steampunk inventions, brilliantly described worlds and different people.

I liked Emilie's determination and courage and cheered as she embarked on her journey, escaping her jerk of an uncle. I also liked watching her discover new peoples and new worlds and how she just absorbed it all and took it in stride!

Wonderful beginning to a new
Nov 10, 2012 marked it as zz-dnf
I read 50% of this and couldn't take it any longer so I took a break from it and now I don't want to read it anymore. The premise is interesting but Emilie has the role of the observer (or she does as far as I have read it) and I like my main characters (as I have been led to believe that is who Emilie is) to actually take part in the narrative. This just is not for me. Don't let that stop you though. ...more
Emilie and the Hollow World is a delightful book about a young girl's journey to the center of the earth. I loved how the steampunk elements were incorporated into the narrative. The story picked up for me once Emilie and her friends reached the Hollow World. Lots of fantastic monsters and stuff.

This is a fun little read and would be appropriate for middle grades and up.

Thank you to Angry Robot books for a review copy of this book.

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Martha Wells has been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, The Death of the Necromancer, the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, The Murderbot Diaries series, media tie-ins for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hug ...more

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