Book Review: The Emerald Atlas

THE EMERALD ATLAS by John Stephens
Series: Books of Beginning, #1
Publication Date: April 5th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Summary: Kate, Michael, and Emma 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.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey 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.

The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

Review Overview:

  • Charming characters, thrilling storyline
  • Does have very similar themes compared to other fantasy novels, but ATLAS is also unique on its own accord
  • Already anticipating the next book

Despite a slow beginning with a lot of development, John Stephens has created a spectacular fantasy world in THE EMERALD ATLAS that I never want to leave. Kate, Michael, and Emma are just a charming bunch that will capture your heart.

There is already buzz surrounding this book, and I do have a natural hesitancy with books that are hyped up. I’m always afraid that the actual book will not surpass my expectations, so I tried to limit what I expected out of the book. The first few chapters of THE EMERALD ATLAS, is slow, but understandably so; it is part of a trilogy so a considerable amount of the book should be devoted to painting the picture. However, THE EMERALD ATLAS is definitely not one of those books with never-ending development. It develops into this action-packed story that I couldn’t put down.

Stephens paints a world that is just so believable. I was transported to Cambridge Falls with his vivid descriptions. It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud when reading, and I have to admit that at certain times, I actually chuckled and giggled.

There are  elements of other fantasy novels in ATLAS from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings – but for me at least, that was to be expected. There are similar themes, but the novel itself is unique because of Kate, Michael, and Emma. You may label them as the siblings, but these three could not be any more different than the other. They have their faults, but they have a lot more characteristics that I couldn’t help but love.

I would classify this one more for high middle grade than young adult, and especially those who love Narnia, Potter, and/or Lord of the Rings. Reluctant readers may be wary to pick this up because of its intimidating length. While the end of THE EMERALD ATLAS left me with a fuzzy, satisfied feeling in my heart, I am already anticipating my next adventure with Kate, Michael, and Emma.


  1. I have an ARC of this, but I haven’t read it yet. I really liked Lord of the Rings so maybe I’ll like this one too. Thanks for the review!

  2. So glad to see a good review of this. I have an ARC of it as well, waiting to be read. I’m definitely a little more excited about it now. :D

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