Do you know what the most difficult fantasy/science fiction kind of story is to write (in my, admittedly inexpert, opinion)? The time travel books. You get stuck with all of these time paradoxes and alternate time streams and the like. Of course, since they are hard to write, they are rarer than other forms of fantasy which means that I am always pleased when one happens to come across my desk. The latest one I read was:
The Emerald Atlas
By John Stephens
After 10 years of being bounced from one orphanage to the next, Kate, Michael, and Emma have seen it all. At least they thought they had before they are sent to their latest orphanage. There they find themselves the only children in the big, rambling mansion, and they also discover a mysterious blank book. By chance, one of the children drops an old photograph onto a blank page in the book, and the children suddenly find themselves back in time at the scene of the picture.
It turns out that the book is one of three ancient books of power. With this book, the children can move through time and space, almost at will. What follows is an exciting adventure against the inevitable evil foe bent on using the books to destroy the world.
The best part about this book isn’t the characters (although they are compelling and realistically drawn) or the time travel (although it’s cool) or even the plot (although it is one of those suspenseful kinds that keeps pulling you along). No, for me, the best part of the book had to be all of the details that helped make the world so very real. It was all of the little things that seem insignificant in the first reading but that can really add depth in a second or third reading. They also made the world that Stephens created so very real for me. I didn’t feel like I was reading a book, but rather watching a movie in my head.
Here at BookPeople, we recommend this great adventure for kids ages 9 & up. It might be a bit violent for readers younger than that.
This book is also one of Topher’s Book Talk Picks for this spring. Every semester our fabulous kid’s outreach coordinator picks his favorite books and goes out to local schools to tell kids about them. Tomorrow, we are going to be lucky enough to have Topher in the store at noon to tell us about these books. Curious to know which books he’s going to talk about? You’ll have to come to the store to see.
For more information on Topher’s Book Talk on Saturday, click here.