What’s better than a fantasy novel featuring a magical orphan? A fantasy novel that focuses on three magical near-orphans.
I picked up John Stephens’ book, The Emerald Atlas, at the insistence of my pal, Bob Evenhouse. I never heard of Stephens or his book before, but according to the book cover, it was a New York Times Bestseller and carried an endorsement from Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Why not give it a chance?
Meet the children with the surname P. Kate is the oldest, the responsible one, the one charged by her soon-to-disappear parents to watch over her younger siblings. Michael is the middle child, the brain and the nerd with an obsession for dwarves. Emma is the youngest, the one who answers questions with her fists and defends her older brother.
Moved from orphanage to orphanage, each worse than the last, the children P have landed at the strangest orphanage yet. With no other children, a cranky cook, a handyman ex-photographer with secrets, and a mysterious director, the orphanage at Cambridge Falls is like nothing the children have seen. But when they discover the green book behind a hidden door, their adventures really begin.
Time travel, magic, and the mysterious forces beneath Cambridge Falls mix to create a fantastically fast-paced story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters are well-written, the plot compelling, and Stephens’ handling of time-travel masterful. The only complaint that I have is that I don’t yet own the next book in the series.