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Editorial Reviews

The Emerald Atlas author John Stephens has a Hollywood background, so it’s not surprising that his debut novel feels like a movie in the making, with elements that recall the Harry Potter series and other kid-friendly fantasy epics. It’s to Stephens’ credit, though, that Atlas never comes off like a cash-in or a cheap imitation: It has its own fully realized world and compelling characters, and the familiar aspects of the story serve mainly to place it in an honorable tradition.
The set-up is easily relatable and recognizable: A trio of siblings (Kate, Michael, and Emma) have been left to the fates after the disappearance of their parents, bounced from one comically horrific orphanage to the next. Their latest home, however, is somewhat different: It’s a mystical town that hides some magical secrets, and soon the kids have discovered a mysterious book that transports them back in time. There they face down an evil witch who is holding the town’s residents hostage. Wizards, dwarves, and ancient prophecies all come into play in a story that takes advantage of plenty of well-worn genre tropes.
Narrator Jim Dale handles it all masterfully, with a warm and inviting tone and some highly entertaining voices for the colorful supporting characters. Some of it might be a little too colorful, though, as Dale’s animated voice acting can become a little distracting. Still, he neatly delineates the various players in Stephens’ grand tapestry, and enhances the suspense of the various moments of peril. The book ends, naturally, with the set-up for the next installment of a planned trilogy, but it’s a satisfying enough story on its own. We can only hope for the same for the inevitable movie version. —Josh Bell
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Publisher's Summary

Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last 10 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.
©2011 John Stephens (P)2011 Listening Library
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Stacey on 04-21-11

Fantastic addicting fantasy

If you love Rowling, Tolkien and Lewis, you will love this book. A fast paced, well written novel about three children and their nail biting fight against evil. Although maybe not incredibly original, this book has all the earmarks for a run away hit: an evil witch, a mysterious book, good hearted orphans, an absent-minded wizard and of course, terrifying creatures that seem unstoppable. As a testament to how addicting this book is, I started listening to it Monday morning and finished Thursday morning. And I must rave about the narration- Jim Dale could make a book about the history of dimes interesting and he does not disappoint here. The only odd thing is the book takes place in America yet all of the characters have British accents (very well done thanks to Mr. Dale but British none the less). You do get over that, but it's a little weird. All in all an excellent book- I predict this series will be a wild success.

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37 of 37 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Rex on 05-28-11

Emerald Atlas

Excellent book by a talented author brought to life by an excellent narrator! A pleasure to find a book that is exciting, involving and fun yet appropriate for the whole family. We are very excited about the coming books and wish Mr. Stephens would hurry up!

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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