Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!
Proud to be a tea-sippin' nerd of a mommy!

The Books of Beginning: The Emerald Atlas

by John Stephens

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. Unbeknownst to them, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.
Until now.

Time travel is something I have always been very picky about. Sometimes it’s done right, others times the concept of how it works is missed. This book totally got it. I thought The Emerald Atlas was just the right level of complexity to logically work and yet still feel magical. I was impressed at the way the author narrated how characters and objects existed in different spaces and times. The plot twists and turns and weaves into a marvelously surprising story. I found this book to be suspenseful and well written. Plot movement is high octane. And since I love books, I love the concept of ancient books containing powerful wisdom from the beginning of time. Right from the first pages, there is an ominous and mysterious feel as the siblings are whisked away from their parents in the dark of night. This sets the tone for the rest of the book.

There is nothing predictable in this storyline! I couldn’t wait to get to the next page to find out where the author was taking me next. Stephens manages to keep that delicate balance between seriousness and silliness. Some frightening things happen, but the way the kids overcome these obstacles is by trust and working together. That’s a lesson they need to learn (sometimes the hard way) throughout the storyline. The characters make mistakes, which at times negatively affects the outcomes they are hoping for. But they learn.

The setting is a “land out of time” of sorts named Cambridge Falls. It’s where people live outside of the normal world, and where magic still exists. There are witches, dwarves, “orc-like” monsters (aka, Screechers), and people-eating wolves. There are also disappearing doors, underground cities, mountain mazes, secret vaults, and wizards. The book has heartbreak, triumphs, and exciting battles.

Some critics compare this book to Harry Potter because of the magic. I felt this book was more closely related to the feel and the fun of Lemony Snicket’s “unfortunate” series, however, a bit darker and more violent. The siblings were funny, unique, and well fleshed out. They continue to carry grief of being taken from their parents and have always believed that their parents would return for them. This belief colors all their decisions, which at times created unexpected revelations. All three struggle with their personal weaknesses and fears. This leads to lots character building and development, which was fantastic. I look forward to seeing these characters grow more in the following books. This journey reminds the reader to keep hoping, even when things are their darkest, and illustrates the lengths people will go in order to reunite their family. It’s a heart-pounding journey where you feel like a part of the action. You’ll love each character the moment you meet them (except for the witch, of course, and that’s okay), dwarves especially!

Despite the fact that there will be two more books, there wasn't an evil cliffhanger at the end. This allowed me to enjoy this book while eagerly anticipating the next installment. A very satisfying read leaving you with excitement at what’s to come. I highly recommend!

My novels:

"Descendants of Avalon" 

Released via Inklings Publishing 

May 2018

"Heir of the Heretic"

("The Forgotten" volume 2)

Reviewed and awarded the

2016 Indie Editor's Choice

by the Historical Novel Society.

Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.

Reviewer for:

Historical Novel Society Volunteer

NetGalley Professional Reader

Reviews Published
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Top Goodreads Reviewer

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