The first thrilling book in the most exciting children's fantasy series since Harry Potter and His Dark Materials.
John Stephens received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia in 1998. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he has worked as a writer-producer on Gilmore Girls and The O.C. John Stephens is taking leave from his television career to pursue his passion for writing for children. The Emerald Atlas is his first novel.
This promising first volume in debut author Stephens's Books of Beginning trilogy concerns siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma, who, when very young, were taken from their parents to protect them from unspecified forces of darkness. They have since spent 10 years in a series of unpleasant orphanages; the last of these-which, oddly enough, houses no children but themselves-is run by the eccentric Dr. Pym. While exploring their palatial yet decrepit new home tucked away in the Adirondacks, the children discover a magical green book, which transports them into the recent past. There they do battle with a beautiful witch who has terrorized and enslaved the local people in her unsuccessful search for the very book the children possess. Adventures follow, featuring murderous zombielike Screechers, time travel paradoxes, and multiple revelations about Dr. Pym. If Stephens's characterizations sometimes dip into cliche (grumpy, Scottish-ish dwarves; noble/heroic natives; an effete evil assistant), few will mind. This fast-paced, fully imagined fantasy is by turns frightening and funny, and the siblings are well-crafted and empathetic heroes. Highly enjoyable, it should find many readers. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The first installment in the "Books of Beginning" trilogy introduces three children mysteriously plucked from their parents' home 10 years ago. Kate, Michael, and Emma have been shuffled from one miserable living situation to another and now find themselves in a curious orphanage with no other children. They discover a magical book that leads them on an astonishing time-traveling adventure. The incomparable Jim Dale reads this fantasy with great aplomb, creating wonderfully distinct voices for dwarves, witches, children, professors, and more. Heart-stopping exploits get the full treatment of Dale's vigorous narration and will have kids and adults alike clamoring for the next book, The Fire Chronicle. Luckily, it's available from Listening Library. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"With more than a nod to J K Rowling and C S Lewis, there are
orphans, wicked witches, dwarves and dark magic aplenty in Random
House's major new fantasy series, which is getting a big global
launch." -- Fiona Noble * The Bookseller *
"The Emerald Atlas is a magical roller-coaster of a read as three siblings discover an old leather book that unlocks a powerful prophecy and enables them to move through time and different worlds." -- Vanessa Lewis * The Bookseller *
"...Bologna's most talked about book. First in a trilogy from US screenwriter John Stephens, it is jam packed with fantasy staples such as dwarves, wizards, orphans and prophecies, and will be backed with a major marketing campaign." -- Fiona Noble * The Bookseller *