Magic. Wizards. Time Travel. Dwarves. Witches. Adventure. Sounds fun, right? It is!
In The Emerald Atlas, by John Stephens, Kate, Michael, and Emma are being shuffled from orphanage to orphanage after their parents mysteriously give them up. Kate is told by her mother to look after Michael and Emma, but when they end up in a creepy mansion in Cambridge Falls with a book that allows them to travel through time, Kate's job becomes impossible. Not only are evil creatures trying to capture the three children who are the only ones who can use the powerful ancient books, but an evil witch has captured the children of Cambridge Falls and will kill them if Kate doesn't give her the ancient book called, The Atlas. Can she change the future? This fast-paced book is sure to be popular with students.
The characterizations are hilarious, especially with the dwarf, King Hamish: "...'fore we get started on the whole thingamabob, what're the names a' these brats a' yours who think they can just go walkin' in my land when and where they please? Eh" Tell me that."
"It wasn't on purpose," Kate bagan. "We-"
"Oi!" Hamish smacked the table. "Did I tell you to speak?! Huh? Did I say, 'I want to hear from one of the brats'? Did I say, 'I wish one a' them brats would pipe up'? The dwarves around him shook their heads vigorously. "No! I said, 'Magician.' That's 'im!" He pointed a chicken wing at Dr. Pym. "So you, lassie, just keep your yapper shut. Bloody manners on this one."
The housekeeper is funny as well. The humor and wit made the story fun and the plot twists were surprising. The part where Kate naively ends up with the witch was predictable but a surprise comes quickly thereafter. The writing is in third person omniscient from Kate's point of view with the occasional shift to a minor character; mostly Emma. I believe this is because the next book will be from Emma's point of view. The setup is for a sequel with many unanswered questions, but the book has a distinct ending - I didn't feel cheated. The female characters are strong. Kate is the kind caretaker, Emma is spunky and brave, Michael is academic and brilliant. There is some violence but most is tempered with humor.
5.1 Reading Level
:-) :-) :-) :-) 4.5 out of 5 Smileys