Just when you think that there can’t be any more room in the middle grade fantasy genre, along comes a book like The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens to assert that there is still plenty of room for a rich fantasy filled with vibrant characters. Endearing, unique, quirky characters and a formidable villain coupled with an unpredictable plot-line and resolution propel this novel. However, it is the sibling relationship of Kate, Michael, and Emma that provides the true heart of this story. Orphans that must depend on each other, their realistic love-you/you-drive-me-crazy relationships creates one of the best sibling connections since The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Rich with admirable themes revolving around resolve, determination, love, and family, this is a fantasy that can be enjoyed by younger and older readers alike.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Random House Children’s Books
Profanity/Language: 4 mild obscenities.
Note: Instances/use of the term “bloody” not tallied.
Violence/Gore: Verbal threats to kill children, chop off character’s hand; a chase scene that could be considered scary; report of a death (no details); report of a death in an accidental fire; report of a man cut in half by a sword; children are hit by fantasy creatures; report/confession of poisoning; animals chase children resulting in death of animals and injury of a human; a deer is killed with food, brief mention of blood and brief description of dressing the animal; character battles fantasy creatures in which creatures are beheaded, cut in half, thrown into chasm, etc.; characters are shot with arrows; a fantasy creature eats a character; extended battle scene involving swords, arrows, biting, struggles, death (non-graphic descriptions).
Sex/Nudity: Character states she will have an “affair” with a man.
Mature Subject Matter:
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adult characters smoke pipes. Report of an adult character smoking in bed. Cold children are given a drink of whiskey.