The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning #1)
by John Stephens
published by Yearling
genre: MG/YA, Fantasy,
Summary (Goodreads): 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.
My Thoughts: I tend to enjoy most MG books and they're a good go to when I'm in a reading slump. This was a nice start to a trilogy. There was plenty of action throughout to keep you reading from beginning to end.
Character wise, my favorite was Michael, which probably is different from most. I think I felt sorry for him with the severe case of middle child syndrome he seemed to have. That, added to being the fantasy nerd of the group. All his studying of the book left to him by his father really came into play when him and Kate ended up captured by dwarfs. He was also the one that wanted to stop and ask questions no matter how dangerous the current situation was.
Many will like Emma. She was the most full of life. She's fiercely loyal to her sister and brother and quick to defend even if it is not the best solution. This was part of what made me wary about her. She reminded me of the YA character that is constantly having bad things happen and most of the time it is because they didn't stop and think for 5 seconds before acting. While everything turns out okay, this happens a few times in this story.
Lastly is Kate. She is the oldest and the only one of the three that truly remembers their parents. She takes her promise to take care of the other two very seriously. The weight of this responsibility shows up during some critical times. Especially when she had to make an important decision.
Overall, as I said this first book made the second a must read for me. There was plenty going on to keep my attention with enough unanswered to keep the series going forward. I'm curious about the other two Books of Beginning. The one introduced in this book (Kate's book) had a unique process for time travel. I loved the idea of sticking a picture into a book and going to where and when that picture was taken. Can't wait to see how the other two work. Also interested in the master bad guy who we meet for a short time with Kate and explains why their parents haven't come back for them.