Kid reviews for The Emerald Atlas: The Books of Beginning, Book 1

Common Sense says

Thrilling, chilling time travel for mid-grade fantasy fans.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 8 reviews
Teen, 15 years old Written bysarakaren20 March 26, 2016

One of my favorite books!!!

I absolutely LOVE this book. It has a little violence in it, but it's great how there isn't any sex, drugs, or cursing in it. The emerald atlas is clean, well written, and an amazing piece of work that I will re-read even after I'm 80 years old.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byForever a Reader234 May 2, 2020

One of the Best Books Ever!!!

This book was absolutely brilliant!!! The characters were great and I was holding my breath in anticipation practically forever!! The writing is witty and the story is super creative!!! There are some scary or creepy scenes and characters though. As in one scene a character gets shot with an arrow through the back and it protrudes out through their stomach, which is described in detail. Also, a species of weird creature lives underground and has pretty translucent skin so that it's veins can be scene underneath it's skin, (and that's a little gross). But other then that this book is soooooo AWESOME!!! I highly recommend it!

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Kid, 9 years old March 22, 2018

The Emerald Atlas book review

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens is a middle-grade fantasy novel that is about three kids (Kate, age 14, Michael, age 12, and Emma, age 11) who are sent from one orphanage to another. After the Edgar Allan Poe Home For Hopeless And Incorrigible Orphans sends them to a new orphanage, the children find out that they are the only children who are at the place-(SPOILER-AVERT YOUR EYES) and that the man who runs it is a wizard. As the back of the cover says, this is the story of three children who set out to save their family and have to save the world. I think The Emerald Atlas is for kids who are ages 11 or 12. There is a lot of violence and some creepy villains, and some mean name-calling. Parents if your child is at least ten and they are mature enough to handle a very violent book (Not as violent as The Hunger Games, but close, except that there aren’t numerous deaths in this book) and they are not sensitive to sad and upsetting things they read in books then The Emerald Atlas is OK for them. If not, wait till the kids are older because this is definitely a must read. It’s good that The Emerald Atlas is a Book not a movie, because the violence would be a lot more graphic. (Not that I don’t think The Emerald Atlas wouldn’t make a great movie.) Reading this book took my personal definition of the word fantasy (a novel with made-up content and magical things which you can read in your spare time) to the next level. The Emerald Atlas is not only suspenseful, it is absolutely hilarious. One of the jokes is about murder, but even here it’s hard not to laugh. The joke isn’t inappropriate, so parents and kids, there’s nothing you need to concern yourselves with. My BFOATFAE (best friend of all time forever and ever) read this book too and she loved it too. The Emerald Atlas is not a book you can ever not read and it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

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Violence & scariness
Teen, 13 years old Written by19 Rands July 11, 2017

The Books of Beginning Book 1: Review

The Emerald Atlas is a fantastic book which I have thoroughly enjoyed. The book is witty, funny and devilishly tense, I can not wait to read the next book. It has made me understand what true evil is like, not to mention how evil the Countess is, and how you shouldn’t be evil.


The Countess is a great example of this as she is one of the main evil characters in the book. She is evil beyond words, even just by looking at how she uses her demon cold beauty to kill people for power. I felt tremendously scared and fearful when I realized how she could just kill someone with one swipe of her hand. It was almost as if I was standing right there at the scene, in the scene even. It made me mesmerized. I could almost smell the cruelty of the Countess.


The book is well composed whilst using some French words testing me with phrases like ma cherie and alors des enfants.John Stephens made Kate, Michael and Emma seem really unfortunate and unlucky. The writer used a gothic writing element of holding back answers and making you want to read on to the very end, which is a very classic yet very tactical method of writing. Again, the way that Mr Stephens smudges the clarity of the mother and father of the children until somewhere near the end of the book is a very useful and clever tactic of holding onto the reader until the very end.


The way that John used wit and humor worked very well resulting into a good old laugh from the reader. The book sort of mingled between the gothic and magical realism genre making it a very good piece of work. It also holds back some information saving it for the latter books is a very refined method. Personally I think the author uses a nice technique in making Dr Pym seem like the good guy, otherwise I might have thought he was bad. He also introduced new characters midway in the book which was daring and effective. He did this all very well, you can see in how he introduced Gabriel in the middle of the book. At first I thought that Gabriel was some kind of an evil giant on the Countess’ side, but John made it clear that he was just an inbetweener who did things for the greater good.

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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bykanonfantasie October 29, 2014

Exciting fantasy

The run-of-the-mill plot twists keep this book very interesting. Some of the violence may disturb younger readers, though. The Emerald Atlas explores the meaning and importance of family and one's past. The time travel element makes it great for avid middle grade readers

This title contains:

Positive Messages
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Violence & scariness
Kid, 12 years old March 6, 2013

Favorite Book!

Really great book, probably my favorite book ever. I love the fantasy, but there was some violence, definitely not for kids under 1. still really good

This title contains:

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Violence & scariness
Teen, 13 years old Written bytori.ace December 5, 2012

Pretty good

The emerald atlas is a good book but not the best book. I found it a bit boring the first time I tried to read it but it grew on me.
Teen, 14 years old Written bytreasurechest May 10, 2012

100% Clichè

I really didn't enjoy this book. The plot is ridiculously overused and simply boring. I had such a horrible time getting through this book, but then again maybe that's because I'm 14. I expected more than the typical orphans fight against evil witch plot, but that's what this is. The dwarf king is gross and loves to drink and eat like a pig, but Kate is a good leader and protector for her siblings. Probably a good read for younger kids, older kids will get bored easily. It's rather predictable, but I think it would be a good chapter a night bedtime story for younger kids.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking