Called “A new Narnia for the tween set” by the New York Times and perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials series, The Emerald Atlas brims 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 baggage.
Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.
Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And — if an ancient prophesy is correct — what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
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.
Kate, Michael und Emma sind Geschwister. Kate ist vier Jahre alt, als am Weihnachtstag unerwarteter Besuch vor der Tür steht. Es ist etwas geschehen, und Kates Eltern müssen ihre drei Kinder einem älteren Herrn überlassen. Dieser bringt sie in ein Waisenhaus, wo die Kinder fortan leben sollen. Bis auf Kate haben sie keine Erinnerung mehr an die Eltern; sie waren damals noch zu klein. Zehn Jahre später – sie wurden immer wieder von einem Waisenhaus ins nächste gebracht – sollen sie wieder einmal das Waisenhaus wechseln und gelangen so nach Cambridge Falls. Schon die Fahrt dorthin ist seltsam. Sie werden vom Hausmeister Abraham abgeholt, der sie durch dichten Nebel hindurch über einen See rudert. Am Ziel der Reise angekommen, müssen die drei Geschwister feststellen, dass sie die einzigen Kinder im Waisenhaus sind. Wie seltsam! Auf ihrem Erkundungsgang stehen sie plötzlich vor einer Tür, die vorher nicht dagewesen ist. Sie ist plötzlich wie aus dem Nichts aufgetaucht, und die Kinder gehen hindurch und gelangen so in das Arbeitszimmer von Dr. Pym. Dr. Pym ist der Leiter des Waisenhauses und ein netter Mann. Sie erkunden das Arbeitszimmer und entdecken dabei ein schönes smaragdgrünes Buch. Es hat nur leere Seiten, aber als sie ein Foto ins Buch legen, das Abraham ihnen zuvor gegeben hat, geschieht etwas Seltsames. Plötzlich finden Kate, Michael und Emma sich in der Vergangenheit wieder. Sie sind am selben Ort, aber 15 Jahre früher. Was in der Gegenwart alles vertrocknet, öde und kahl war, ist jetzt grün, blühend und voller Leben. Was ist nur passiert, dass ein Ort sich in 15 Jahren so verändern kann? Die drei Geschwister werden es bald erleben, denn es warten einige Abenteuer auf sie…
* Meine Meinung *
Ich bin absolut begeistert von diesem Buch! Ich konnte mich sofort in die Geschichte und in die drei Geschwister hineinversetzen und habe das Buch innerhalb kurzer Zeit lesen können. Der Schreibstil und die Sprache sind so, wie sie es für ein Jugendbuch sein sollten, dabei aber nicht anspruchslos oder langweilig. Im Gegenteil; die Geschichte ist packend und spannend erzählt, und es passiert immer wieder etwas Überraschendes, womit der Leser nicht gerechnet hat. Die Charaktere sind liebevoll herausgearbeitet. So ist Kate die starke Schwester, die sich um die jüngeren Geschwister sorgt und kümmert, dabei aber selbst manchmal von ihrer "Pflicht" erdrückt wird und sich jemanden wünscht, der einmal für sie da ist. Michael ist der wissbegierige Junge, der ein Faible für Zwerge hat. Damit geht er seinen Schwestern schon manchmal auf die Nerven, bis sie irgendwann erfahren, warum die Zwerge ihn so begeistern. Es ist der Zusammenhalt und die Familie, die Michael immer vermisst hat. Und Emma ist die kleine Schwester, die gar keine Erinnerung mehr an ihre Eltern hat, da sie damals noch ein Baby war, als die Eltern gegangen sind. Emma ist manchmal ein bisschen zickig und bockig, aber durchaus liebenswert. Die drei Geschwister halten zusammen wie Pech und Schwefel, wenn es drauf ankommt. Das hat mir in dieser Geschichte besonders gut gefallen. Sie werden einige Mal getrennt und müssen alleine sehen, wie sie mit den unterschiedlichsten Problemen klarkommen. Dabei geraten sie nicht selten in Gefahr. Aber immer ist da der Gedanke an die Geschwister und ein starker Wille, alles wieder in Ordnung zu bringen. Nachdem ich diesen ersten Teil der Trilogie gelesen habe, bin ich nun sehr gespannt auf die Fortsetzung! Dieser erste Teil hatte das Thema "Zeit" zum Thema, und laut Autor werden die Folgebände "Leben" und "Tod" zum Thema haben. Man darf also neugierig sein und sich auf Band 2 freuen!
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 from their parents' house one Christmas Eve with a kiss and a promise that they'll be reunited again... one day. Then, after missing their last chance at placement with a foster family, they are sent to Cambridge Falls, where they stumble on an adventure that has been both 15 and thousands of years in the making.
This story reminded me of other children's stories - but only little bits and pieces. There was nothing I could really point to and say, "Oh, he was inspired by THIS story here," or anything like that, it was more just an impression that I had. I was reminded of Harry Potter, only kind of in reverse, with the opening scene of the children being taken away from their home. I was reminded of E.Nesbit's stories as well throughout the book, mainly by the tone and the family loyalty theme. I was reminded of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe a few times, and The Hobbit a few times, etc. But again, these were more like impressions that I had, rather than feeling like anything was actually borrowed from what came before.
Despite feeling a vague sense of familiarity with these books, I felt like The Emerald Atlas was very original and different. I loved the concept of time travel, and how it actually came about. I thought it was just the right level of complex to logically and magically work, but was still explained in a way that everyone could understand and follow. The storyline was exciting and the creatures and characters were all interesting.
I loved the characters - they were all believable and identifiable to me, and I couldn't help but love them and their loyalty. Kate is the eldest, and promised her parents that she would watch out for the others. She's got a load of responsibility on her shoulders to match Atlas (which is pretty significant, actually), and she's got a heart of gold. She just can't stand seeing anyone suffer or hurt, and instantly falls into a nurturing role when needed. Emma was my favorite, I think. She's the youngest, and the type of girl who's strong and forceful because she cannot take being hurt, not when that's all she's ever known. She's quick to love though, and her love is a little desperate and fierce. I loved her and I can't wait to see her next adventure. Michael, the middle child, was hilarious. A studious Dwarf-scholar, he is the smart and logical one of the trio. He was constantly making me laugh by his bald-faced awe in a lot of the situations they were in. I truly loved how each of the children brought their own unique aspects and each played and intricate role in the story and worked as a team. I was glad that they had trials, because they each had time to shine.
There was a lot more that I loved about this, but I think that I'll just recommend that you read it yourselves. I highly recommend this one - for readers of all ages.
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 Atlas does it differently (enough), that I was immersed and in awe of the story. 4. Great twists and surprises! 5. Pacing throughout the book is fantastic. From the prologue to the end, you just want to slow down and savour the read!
This is only a trilogy?! Well, I look forward to it! :)
Okay...I'm 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 their parents because "an evil and powerful mage (magus) is after them!" Why?
Because of a prophecy...of course.
Don't give up. This isn't really another Harry Potter wanna'be (well I suppose it does aspire to the sales and popularity)...but it does have some similarities with those books and a few others. Still, given time it manages to forge it's own story (mostly) and tells it pretty well.
I did find these 3 of the most annoying children I've run across in YA fiction (especially Emma the youngest) but bear up the book is readable and pulls itself together.
And ends in a cliff hanger that leads to another book...of course.
I suppose the book will annoy some people in that it deals with a book that has power over time and space. Paradoxes abound! How will we survive, how will reality hold together in the face of all these paradoxical events?
Alright anymore and I'll "spill a spoiler" so I'll stop with all that and say not a bad book. Readable (in my case listenable as I had the audio version) with some nice "spots". I think younger "youths" might find it more enjoyable than older. It's a bit simple in it's form and telling even with people leaping forward and backward in time and space. Judge for yourself.
The audio (by the way) is very "listenable" also, because it's read by Jim Dale..I think it possible that Mr. Dale himself deserves an entire star for his narration.
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 - particularly Michael/Klaus's bookish ways. Gabriel was like a mix of my favorite giant, Hagrid, and Narnia's Aslan. Dr. Pym was clearly another version of Albus Dumbledore. Aside from that, I'm getting quite fed up with this whole orphan concept, with the kids getting sympathy from readers due to this longing and missing their parents. The whole gotta-rescue-my-parents-who-are-trapped-by-some-great-evil plot is overused too. I really just wished Stephens could have done something new, added another twist to them being lonely orphans.
The general plot is intriguing, but painstakingly underdeveloped and filled with ludicrous and overused elements. I'm a big fan of time-traveling concepts, but unfortunately, The Emerald Atlas just confused me with this telling of dual universes and just the technicalities and loop holes of such details. I don't even want to go back and try to understand it anymore. But. The point is: there are two different versions of what happened in the past, yet Dr. Pym and others remember both accounts even after Kate changed history? Um. I thought two versions couldn't exist simultaneously. (And, hello, butterfly effect, anyone?!) Time-traveling theories are quite tricky, which is really why Stephens shouldn't have attempted it. I just think it takes someone more experienced to try to explain these concepts, especially since his writing wasn't totally on par.
Interestingly enough, Stephens worked on Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, and The O.C. Maybe he should stick to script-writing, as Stephens tends to roll over the details (as well as important dialogue) with a paragraph summary. The imbalance between dialogue and summary was just really prominent through-out. Stephens does throw in quite an amount of humor and even wit, but it seems like I noticed the flaws more.
I don't hate the book, even despite the awful load of taken plot elements and characteristics from my favorite fictional personalities, as the general story can be quite unique. However, I found the protagonists not very endearing or lovely, the other characters too similar to some of my favorites to even differentiate, and the time-traveling just too full of holes to fully enjoy.
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 to life. There are your common fantasy races like dwarves and witches, but then there are some brand new - and quite terrifying! - additions.
The plot is fantastic - there are aspects of mystery that don't end as you think they will. It twists and turns and helps to weave this marvellous story. And that ending. Just when you think everything has calmed down, that everything is going to be OK now... Well, I don't want to spoil it for you.
When I finished this I was left with that slightly empty yet expectant feeling that I have very rarely felt. This is a really powerful start to the series.
I can't wait to read on.
I received a copy of this for free via Goodreads First Reads.
Was für ein rasant spannendes Abenteuer. Direkt von Beginn an werden wir in die Geschichte reingezogen und erkunden mit den drei Geschwistern das Rätsel um ein magisches Buch. Anfangs sind wir auch genau wie sie ahnungslos aber nach und nach entfaltet sich das Mysterium und wir werden von gruseligen Monstern gejagt, müssen uns fiesen Bösewichten stellen und entdecken Verbündete, wo man sie nicht erwartet. Die Geschichte geht flott voran und es gibt kaum eine Verschnaufpause, weshalb ich mittendrin mal ein wenig den Faden verloren hatte. Aber zum Ende hin fügt sich alles gekonnt ineinander und alle Handlungsstränge werden geschickt verwoben, sogar die Zeitreisen werden glaubwürdig aufgelöst. Für ein Kinderbuch erstaunlich komplex, aber gerade deshalb auch für Erwachsene sehr empfehlenswert. Eigentlich wollte ich nach Teil 1 etwas anderes lesen, aber jetzt muss ich direkt mit Teil 2 weitermachen.
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 seem to be added just to try to explain everything else that happened. But by the time I got to those chapters, I had stopped caring. The author was too busy spinning a web to make us care about any of the main characters. Even the names were not consistant. We have one character who is alternately refered to as the witch or the countess and I think she may have been given a name, too. There is "the secretary" who is also "Cavandish." I kept forgetting this was the same person. The bad guys also have two names and it doesn't seem to matter who is talking about them as to which name is used. Even Kate, one of the main siblings, meets one person who constantly calls her Katherine and another who always calls her Katrina and she never once says, "Hello! My name is Kate!"
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 they discover many things that they never believed were real. Read The Emerald Atlas to find out about their adventures and near death encounters!
Lectura muy entretenida que mantiene atrapado al lector con una intriga que ya se advierte desde las primeras páginas, muy bien narrada de principio a fin y con el toque de humor justo que te hace sonreír en más de una ocasión con ciertos personajes.
Excelente desarrollo de las aventuras que viven los protagonistas, eso sí con mucha influencia de otros libros del género fantástico pero en acontecimientos secundarios más que en la historia principal, por lo que ésta no pierde originalidad. Un libro correcto y muy recomendable tanto para jóvenes como para aquellos que no lo son tanto.
Skoro nisam citala ovakvu knjigu :) Predivan stil,odlicni likovi,prica zaista prelepo ispricana. Iz stranica ispadaju patuljci,carobnjaci,grofovi i jos svakakva bica a to pricu cini zaista izuzetnom i lako citljivom :) Preporucujem svim ljubiteljima Hari Potera i fantastike :)
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 became a huge bestseller that fantasy and epic fantasy at that became a huge wave in fiction for adults.
Rowlings proved that younger readers will read long epic novels with children characters and paved the way for big epic fantasy to be sold to kids. A lot of it is now available, and more is on the way. Rick Riordan is a huge bestseller with his series tied to godlings, but there are also traditional fantasy, albeit it with young kids as the main characters.
The Emerald Atlas is the first volume in a promising trilogy about the Books of Beginning, books of magic in which the great wizards of the world recorded magical spells. Stephens plans to write a novel about each of the Books of Beginning, and theoretically each will be about one of his main characters.
The three main characters, Kate the eldest girl, who turns out to be connected to the Atlas, Emma the youngest, the tough one and Michael, the scrawny middle child who knows all there is to know about dwarves are orphans. They have been abandoned by their Mother to save them from some great evil. Forced to live in a series of progressively worse orphanages, the children finally end being taken by rail to Cambridge Falls, where they are met by Abraham, the caretaker of the home of Dr. Pym. Abraham takes them to Pym's house, and on the way shows them a picture of the town from the past, when it was just a village.
While exploring Pym's house, they find a secret room in which is a strange green book, which seems to have only blank pages. Before anyone can stop him, Michael places Abraham's picture of the town in the past on one of those blank pages in the book, and all three children are magically transported back in time to that exact time and place.
The children soon find themselves prisoners with the other children of the town of an evil Countess and her monsterous Screechers, who has stolen the children and enslaved the men. She is using the men as miners to drill down below the town into a dwarf stronghold to find a legendary treasure.
Initally, Kate and Emma escape the Countesses clutches, but Michael is trapped back in the past, and its up to Kate and Emma to try to rescue him by returning to the past. Kate finds she has an affinity to the Atlas and can use it to go back in time, and so starts their adventures in the past as they battle the evil Countess, meet a fat unheroic dwarf king and his heroic brother, fight the Screechers, become allies with Gabriel, a noble warrior who befriends Emma and with her help survives some encounters with monsters. Later the youngsters free Dr. Pym, a wizard prisoner of the Countess, who helps them fight the Countess. There is a lot of action, and the book moves along at a good pace, although there are some lags, Stephens throws in enough cliffhangers at the end of chapters to keep up the pace.
Kate must learn to use her magical ties to the Atlas, but all three children learn about their abilities. There are scary villians, fights, puzzle solving and a lot of good fun in this adventure packed novel. Stephens decision to use of ability to learn about the future in the past and by doing so change the future as a way to solve some of the problems the characters face at the end of the book may be the only real weakness. One would have wished the children could figure out how to defeat all of the evil in the book, but it’s a minor gripe.
Harry Potter’s birthright might be the fact that serious writers are writing fantasy fiction for a younger audience. If they are all as good as this volume, our children will have many fantasy novels to enjoy in their youth.
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 Cambridge Falls and find themselves in a creepy old house with a shrewish housekeeper, Mrs. Swallow, and dotty old groundskeeper called Abraham. The place is supposed to be an orphanage but Kate, Michael, Emma seem to be the only children there. And the mysterious Dr. Pym, who requested the children be sent to him, is not there.
The kids take start to explore this old house and end up down in the basement area where they discover an old laboratory and in the laboratory they find an old book. But this is no ordinary book and when the kids open it all the pages are blank. Michael assumes this is an empty photo album, as there is an old photo sitting next to the book. He sets the photo inside the book and *POOF*! All three kids are transported to the time and place where this photo was taken! From there the story takes off, with an evil Countess and terrible monsters and terrified townspeople to save.
The story was not bad but my problem was that these kids are not very credibly drawn. I mean, I don't think Mr. Stephens has kids, or maybe he's not been around any in a while. The youngest kid, Emma, totally got on my nerves. She's supposed to be eleven years old but she behaves as if she were much, much younger. And they way she "imprinted" on the hero, Gabriel, was just not at all believable, especially for a kid that has never know a father figure, as she was left by her parents before she ever knew them. And the other two, well, they were stereo-typical older and middle children, the oldest being overly-responsible and the middle being a nerdy smarty-pants.
I did enjoy this book, don't let my niggly complaints dissuade you. It wasn't bad at all and I will probably read the next in the series.
It took a few months but we made it! Me, my son and Katherine, Michael and Emma P. were shuttled between orphanages before finally ending up in Cambridge Falls under the care of the mysterious Dr. Pym and then straight into a fantastic adventure through dwarf kingdoms and lost cities and even time itself to find their destinies and learn the truth behind the disappearance of their parents.
If you're in the market for a great adventure fantasy to read aloud this one is perfect. My voice teachers would be pissed as hell about my throaty dwarf dialect but they'd have been deeply impressed by my Russian accent which I absolutely had to have for the children's evil nemesis the Countess who will stop at absolutely nothing to find a mysterious book called The Emerald Atlas before they can. She's willing to murder an entire town's worth of children and its a race against (and through) time to stop her.
Seriously John Stephens did a bang up job here, his writing is eloquent and evocative even if his story does sound just a little like a certain quest to destroy a certain ring of power down to the dwarves, battles, and goblinesque monsters. This is a perfect book for boys or girls that perfectly balances a deeply heart warming story of a family trying to reunite with top notch battles and fantasy adventure sequences that are seriously heart stopping. The story is told mainly from the perspective of oldest child Katherine but all the siblings are really terrific and unique.
Fair warning there's a hell of a lot of violence and quite a bit more blood and even gore than I think you tend to find in your average juvenile fantasy and we had more than a few nights where my guy was "freaked out" but he was totally riveted from first page to last.
He is eagerly awaiting the next two in the series and I gotta say...so am I.
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. Sounds exciting right? Nope. Garbage. I feel terrible trashing a book like this, but I feel like all the author's ideas were stolen from other books and tried to meld it together into a success. I wish people would think of their own creative outlets these days instead of tapping into others and taking credit. .000000001 star.
Don't bother reading this one. Trust me, you'll want your time (and money) back. I know I do!
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 that the three of them have a special destiny.
I found this book to be suspenseful and well written – I didn’t love it but I did stick with it and kept turning the pages. For me, the time travel plot became very convoluted and hard to follow, which I found frustrating. I eventually gave up trying to figure it out. Fantasy fans more used to such stories might experience the book differently though. What I did find engaging were the characters and the settings. The three children have well-developed personalities and their realistic sibling interactions add humor and lightness to the story. I enjoyed the vividly described settings, including an old mansion, a “dead” underground city, a town aptly named Cambridge Falls, and a black lake populated by a fearsome monster. Colorful characters besides the children include kindly wizards, evil witches, quirky dwarves, gentle giants and terrifying beings called Screechers.
Like other Goodreads reviewers, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons with Harry Potter, Narnia and the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Yes, the story and characters could have been more original, but I still think middle schoolers who enjoy this type of fantasy tale will be engaged. Although two sequels are definitely coming, there is a fairly satisfying resolution to The Emerald Atlas which is refreshing.
I just finished rereading this delightful fantasy, the first in a middle-grade trilogy, before continuing on to the second and third books.
Like most really good books, this one was even better on rereading. Featuring three children who have been shunted from one orphanage to another for 10 years; a wise, kindly old wizard; lots of dwarves, who are the most amusing of the characters; and a truly evil countess/witch, the story calls to mind such fantasies as Narnia, LOTR, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter, and E. Nesbit's classics. Highly recommended for readers of all ages who enjoy good fantasy.
Seit ihre Eltern an einem Weihnachtsabend vor 10 Jahren unter mysteriösen Umständen verschwanden, sind die drei Geschwister Kate, Michael und Emma von einem Heim ins nächste gewandert. Momentan leben sie unter der strengen Aufsicht von Mrs. Crumley im Edgar-Allan-Po Waisenhaus für schwer erziehbare Kinder und sie haben gelernt, sich mit jeder widrigen Situation auseinanderzusetzen - die Hoffnung, ihre Eltern irgendwann wieder zu sehen, haben sie aber nicht aufgegeben. Mrs Crumley möchte die drei Kinder jedoch schnellstmöglich loswerden und schickt sie in ein Waisenhaus nach Cambridge Falls - einem unheimlichen und unheilschwangeren Ort. Die Kinder merken recht schnell, dass hier etwas ganz besonderes im Gange ist und sie stürzen von einem Abenteuer ins nächste ...
Ich liebe das Cover! Eigentlich habe ich dem Buch nur deshalb eine zweite Chance gegeben, da ich es vor einigen Monaten schon mal damit versucht habe, aber nicht damit warm geworden bin. Eigentlich passt es nicht zu den Fortsetzungen, die etwas anders gestaltet sind mit den Scherenschnitt-Köpfen der drei Kinder, aber im Grunde stört es mich nicht sehr :)
Man merkt der Erzählweise an, dass es ein Kinderbuch ist, auch darf man es an manchen Stellen nicht so genau nehmen, aber prinzipiell ist alles logisch und gut durchdacht! Dafür, dass es sich an dem Alter orientiert, ist es wirklich schön, anspruchsvoll und flüssig zu lesen. John Stephens erzählt aus der auktorialen Perspektive und schafft damit immer einen guten Überblick über die Handlung, aber auch einen ganz speziellen Einblick in die Protagonisten: Die 14jährige Kate, den 12jährigen Michael und die 11jährige Emma - alle drei sehr sympathisch und ich hab sie alle ins Herz geschlossen.
Kate steht in diesem Band etwas mehr im Mittelpunkt. Sie hat es auch nicht leicht, denn sie hat ihrer Mutter vor 10 Jahren das Versprechen gegeben, auf ihre jüngeren Geschwister aufzupassen. Daher hat sie sich eine ruhige und besonnene Art zugelegt; sie denkt eher rational, realistisch und ihr Gemüt ist immer von Sorgen geprägt. Sie fühlt sich für alles, was passiert, verantwortlich und hat dadurch eine große Last zu tragen. Michael ist der Träumer. Er liest sehr viel und deklariert gerne aus einem Buch über Zwerge, sein einziges Andenken an seine Eltern. Immer wieder denkt er sich Geschichten aus und ist mit Kompass uns seiner Ausrüstung auf Entdeckertour. Emma dagegen ist mit ihren 11 Jahren die jüngste und wildeste. Sie ist selbstbewusst, ungestüm und vorlaut und verprügelt schonmal andere Jungs im Waisenhaus, die über sie herziehen oder sich über ihre Geschwister lustig machen. Die Sehnsucht nach ihrer Familie versteckt sie hinter ihrem Mut, der sie über alle Ängste hinwegträgt.
Das Buch hat ein gutes Tempo. Es wird eigentlich nie langweilig, ständig passiert etwas und die drei geraten von einer brenzligen Situation in die nächste, was aber nie überzogen wirkt. Alles ist schlüssig und verspricht einiges an Spannung. Der Autor erschafft tolle Kulissen z. B. mit dem trostlosen Waisenhaus, alten Gemäuern, Geheimgängen und dunklen Wäldern. Natürlich gibt es auch magische Figuren und grausame Kreaturen, gegen die sich die Geschwister behaupten müssen. Dabei wird es auch mal brutal, denn im Kampf gegen eine böse Hexe müssen die Kindern nicht nur gegen ihre Ängste, sondern auch gegen unerbittliche und mächtige Gegner kämpfen - aber sie stehen nie alleine. Eine schöne Botschaft sind Mut, Zusammenhalt und Vertrauen, die in eine spektakuläre, spannende Geschichte verpackt sind, die mich zum Ende hin sogar auch mal zu Tränen gerührt hat.
Wunderschönes Fantasy Abenteuer für Kinder aber auch Erwachsene. Sehr abwechslungsreich mit vielen spannenden Momenten und liebenswerten Protagonisten. Ich bin froh, dass ich dem Buch noch eine zweite Chance gegeben hab :)
Ich kann die Geschichte nicht vorbehaltlos bewerten, da das Hörspiel ja nun einmal doch sehr stark gekürzt ist, aber ich bewerte hier einfach mal das, was ich gehört habe: Die Abenteuer um Michael, Kate und Emma können einen von Beginn an verzaubern. Es ist diese Art von Zauber, den auch Harry Potter auf mich gehabt hatte. Zwar ist es eigentlich eher ein Kinderbuch, aber ich finde, dass hier durchaus auch Erwachsene ihre Freude dran haben werden. Was mir mit am besten gefallen hat, ist, dass man hier das Gefühl hatte, dass der Autor den Roman mit viel Liebe geschrieben hat. Das spiegelt sich in der tollen Schreibweise, aber auch in den wunderbaren Hauptcharakteren wider. Man schließt die drei sofort ins Herz, besonders natürlich Kate, da dort der Fokus am stärksten liegt, aber auch Emma und Michael sind wirklich wundervoll. Ihr Schicksal berührt, ihre Abenteuer reißen mit und ihre Magie verzaubert. Einfach toll! Spannend war die Geschichte ebenso. Damit hätte ich ganz besonders nicht gerechnet, da es ja nun ein Kinderbuch ist, aber es gibt hier sehr viele Auseinandersetzungen, in denen Gewalt eine große Rolle spielt. Das einzige, was mir nicht ganz gefallen wollte, ist der mittlere Teil des Romanes, da der mit kaum packen konnte. Das liegt aber vermutlich auch sehr daran, dass man ab diesem Zeitpunkt die Kürzungen deutlich gespürt hat. Der Erzählfluss war stockender, was wirklich schade war. Natürlich kann ich hier nicht beurteilen, ob das nun an der Geschichte selbst oder am Hörspiel gelegen hat. Die Idee an sich ist nun nicht unbedingt allzu neu, aber die Umsetzung, sozusagen das "Drumherum" war es. Mir hat das sehr gut gefallen und ich werde auf jeden Fall auch Band zwei lesen wollen!
Ich bin hin und her gerissen. Denn das ganze Hörspiel hat mir eigentlich unglaublich gut gefallen! Die Sprecher sind perfekt gewählt, besonders da die Kinder wirklich wie Kinder klingen und die Sprecher auch ausnahmslos alle einen fantastischen Job gemacht haben. Aber auch wird das Buch zu einem richtigen Erlebnis, da Geräusche, aber vor allem anderen Musik eingebaut sind. Die Musik war bezaubernd! Einfach toll! Genau richtig gewählt, an genau den richtigen Stellen, das war super. Auch der Bonustrack "Kates Song" war einfach wundervoll. Soweit so gut, das gäbe locker 100000 Herzen. Aber... Ja, aber: Das Hörspiel ist wirklich radikal gekürzt. Wenn man das beim Hören nicht bemerken würde, dann wäre das nicht weiter schlimm, aber es stört doch ein klein wenig den Erzählfluss und das ist sehr schade. Ich würde das Hörspiel Leuten empfehlen, die die Bücher schon gelesen haben, weil das nochmal eine ganz andere Dimension ist, da wie gesagt, das Hörspiel so gut gemacht ist. Auch ist es für Kinder ebenfalls super geeignet, da die Geschichte so eben zum Erlebnis wird!
Wahl der Sprecher: 5 Herzen Betonung: 5 Herzen Stimmvariation: 4,5 Herzen Geräusche und Musik: 5 Herzen (!!!) Gekürzt: JA!
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 the latest Monster High (see? I've totally heard of that series).
For that reason, it's refreshing to read a book like The Emerald Atlas. The author wrote for Gossip Girl and The OC, and it shows. Two of the protagonists are cardboard cutouts, straight out of the latest High School Musical franchise - the nerdy boy, the small but scrappy girl - and their dialogue is wince-inducing. The eldest child is slightly better developed, but she still only has one guiding motivation. The villains are laughable, prancing around caves and dilapidated castles in mustache-twirling glee.
As for the settings... As the book opens, the children are spending time in the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans. If you're going to throw a whopper of a place name like that into your novel, it better have a (hopefully ironic, self-mocking) tone to match. This one doesn't.
Now that I've gotten all of that out of the way, though, let me hasten to say that I would totally recommend this book to kids if I were still doing active readers' advisory. The plot is reasonably well-crafted (though I suspect there are probably holes, since it is a time travel tale), the pacing is pretty good, and it's full of monsters and action. The message of family loyalty and forgiveness (not that I support didacticism, mind you) is a positive one too.
So, yes. I would send this book home with lots of kids, and they would probably love it. But Breadcrumbs is better.
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 begins to wear on her faith. When the three children are taken to their newest home, it's apparent before they even arrive that things are not quite what they seem and soon they are on an adventure that will change their lives - and possibly save the world from evil.
There is a lot about this story that I liked - the believable camaraderie of the siblings, the Tolkien-like storyline and a few of the minor characters are just FUNNY with their sarcasm and irritation. For a middle-grade fantasy, I'd say it's a fine work, since I can't think of anything I'd change (except maybe tighten it up and shorten it a little, but I think that's me as an adult reader talking - for a younger audience the explanations and timing might be just right). The ending certainly left you knowing at least two more books are on their way, with some good and interesting questions left unanswered and some clear adventures yet to come.
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.
Para ser un libro que leí sin referencias, ni recomendaciones previas a comprarlo... únicamente con su sinopsis y el precio (una ganga) me hizo pasar días muy agradables, reí, me desesperé, uff esa Kat de veras qué me tenia con el alma en un hilo cada vez que tomaba una decisión 💁🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️ me encantó 😍
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 them. But their newest orphanage is different- there are no other kids, it is run by a mysterious man named Dr. Pym, odd things are happening and it's in a town that seems more dead than alive. And the odd becomes odder when they discover a book, place a picture in it, and travel back 15 years in the past to a time where conflict is at the center of the town.
What I Thought: First, I am biased because I listened to the audio book and I love Jim Dale. Anything Jim Dale reads automatically is good. As a friend of mine said on Twitter, I could listen to him read the phone booth. So, back to the book... this book is EPIC! I can't think of much to compare it to, but the adventure is at the same level as Harry Potter, Lightning Thief, Peter & The Starcatchers, Kingdom Keepers, etc. Although a similar adventure-type book, it is a very much unique and stand alone novel.
The character building and development in this novel was phenomenal. I really enjoyed the three siblings, they were all very unique, but complete and likable as well. Kate is the responsible one who follows the rules, tries to keep the peace and overall does what she promised her mother. Michael is the scholar and dreamer. He loves dwarves and constantly is writing in his journal. Emma is our rebel, always picking fights and saying exactly what is on her mind. There were also some supporting characters who really made the book come alive such as Gabriel, a man from a nearby village who Emma befriends, and Robbie the dwarf king, who Michael is in awe of. The only character I never felt connected to was the villain, so that may not be a bad thing.
The plot development was also pretty flawless and in a book that has time travel, magic, changing pasts and three protagonists, it would have been very easy to become lost, but John Stephens mapped out his plot perfectly and it all comes together (including the end which was just enough conclusion to have closure, but just enough cliff hanger that you must read the sequel).
Another plus of this series, is that I believe that it will be loved as a middle grade and a young adult novel. It could easily be classified as both because it is just a pure fantasy adventure that will grip any reader.
Snatch of Text: "The tall man had moved into the glow of a streetlamp and was clearly visible for the first time. To a casual passerby, his appearance would not have inspired much confidence. His overcoat was patched in spots and frayed at the cuffs, he wore an old tweed suit that was missing a button, his white shirt was stained with ink and tobacco, and his tie - this was perhaps the strangest of all - was knotted not once but twice, as if he'd forgotten whether he's tied it and, rather than glancing down to check, had simply tied it again for good measure. His white hair poked out from beneath his hat, and his eyebrows rose from his forehead like great snowy horns, curling over a pair of bent and patched tortoiseshell glasses. All in all, he looked like someone who had gotten dressed int he midst of a whirlwind and, thinking he still looked too presentable, had thrown himself down a flight of stairs." (p. 3-4)
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. As a result, they've been moved from orphanage to orphanage before finally landing in Cambridge Falls--and the home of Dr. Stanislaus Pym. I loved the setting of Cambridge Falls and its initial lack of inhabitants as well as watching the town's history play out.
But more about our three main characters. Kate is the eldest and as such, is responsible for her siblings. She's level headed and has a bad habit of saying "yes" when her siblings ask her for anything--even when it's not the greatest of ideas. Michael is the middle child and rather bookish at that; he absolutely adores dwarves and this serves him well. Also, he likes to photograph things. Lastly, we have Emma and honestly, she often annoyed me throughout The Emerald Atlas. She's very headstrong and will often pick a fight. However, on the upside, she is extremely loyal.
Through the past, they also meet Gabriel, a massive man who is a fierce warrior from a village in the mountains and the Countess, a powerful witch who is after the Atlas (and uses French phrases on occasion, although she claims she's Russian). Along with the Screechers (named such by the children of Cambridge Falls although their real name is the morum cadi) she seeks the book by holding the town's children hostage and forcing the men of Cambridge Falls to look for it in the Dead City.
The dwarves were a pleasant surprise, I must say. They weren't the cantankerous drunks that I think of when I picture dwarves; they were a much neater, more respectable group and well, funny! Admittedly there is one drunkard in the group, but this particular bad apple isn't enough to spoil the bunch.
I found the prologue to be a bit slow, but things certainly pick up once the children arrive in Cambridge Falls. The Emerald Atlas is set in a world rich in detail and magic; it'll grab hold of you and it won't let go until the story wraps up. Yes, The Emerald Atlas has a definitive ending as it does deal with the first of the three Books of Beginning. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to reading the next installment to this series and if you're intrigued by the summary, I'd suggest picking up a copy to read! Honestly though, it's the sort of Middle Grade book that even us big kids can enjoy!