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Editorial Reviews

The Emerald Atlas author John Stephens has a Hollywood background, so it’s not surprising that his debut novel feels like a movie in the making, with elements that recall the Harry Potter series and other kid-friendly fantasy epics. It’s to Stephens’ credit, though, that Atlas never comes off like a cash-in or a cheap imitation: It has its own fully realized world and compelling characters, and the familiar aspects of the story serve mainly to place it in an honorable tradition.

The set-up is easily relatable and recognizable: A trio of siblings (Kate, Michael, and Emma) have been left to the fates after the disappearance of their parents, bounced from one comically horrific orphanage to the next. Their latest home, however, is somewhat different: It’s a mystical town that hides some magical secrets, and soon the kids have discovered a mysterious book that transports them back in time. There they face down an evil witch who is holding the town’s residents hostage. Wizards, dwarves, and ancient prophecies all come into play in a story that takes advantage of plenty of well-worn genre tropes.

Narrator Jim Dale handles it all masterfully, with a warm and inviting tone and some highly entertaining voices for the colorful supporting characters. Some of it might be a little too colorful, though, as Dale’s animated voice acting can become a little distracting. Still, he neatly delineates the various players in Stephens’ grand tapestry, and enhances the suspense of the various moments of peril. The book ends, naturally, with the set-up for the next installment of a planned trilogy, but it’s a satisfying enough story on its own. We can only hope for the same for the inevitable movie version. —Josh Bell

Publisher's Summary

Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last 10 years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And - if an ancient prophesy is correct - what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

©2011 John Stephens (P)2011 Listening Library

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good story, great narration. Best for kids.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Emerald Atlas to be better than the print version?

N/A

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Intrigued, definitely want to know what happens next.

What does Jim Dale bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I think Jim Dale has a way of weaving magic into mystery or adventure that I might not add myself.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Beverly
  • PORTERVILLE, CA, United States
  • 10-05-12

A thrilling adventure you'll revisit over and over

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I already have. It was exciting and edge of the seat anticipation.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Dr.Pym, he is the hero actually, yes the kids are too. But where would they be without him.

What does Jim Dale bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He defines each character, you always visualize what you think the character will Look like while you are reading, but he gives them a 3D effect. He is one of my favorite narrators. I first loved him in the Harry Potter series.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

If you loved C.S. Lewis / Chronicles of Narna and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter/ you will love the Suspense filled thrill ride of The Emerald Atlas.

Any additional comments?

I recommended it to several people. My son who is a father of 3 could not put it down.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Welcome back, Jim Dale!

What made the experience of listening to The Emerald Atlas the most enjoyable?

I loved that I thought the book was ending a couple times and then Stephens "twisted" the plot and kept it going!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Very hard! LOVED so many characters. I guess Emma if I can just choose one! :-)

What about Jim Dale’s performance did you like?

I loved that he made the characters so unique and personable. Jim Dale always brings the characters to life! Some listeners didn't like that Mr. Dale's voices were British when the kids were born in Baltimore. But I thought it worked well with the fairy tale elements and the over-the-top personalites of the characters.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Why has no one ever heard of Cambridge Falls or the orphanage there?

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bob-o
  • CHARLESTON, SC, United States
  • 08-24-12

Fun Book!

This is really a YA book, but a think a fun read for all ages!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Please tell me the second book will be out soon!

What made the experience of listening to The Emerald Atlas the most enjoyable?

Jim Dale is my favorite narrator. I fell in love with him as a little girl watching Pete's Dragon. Doc Terminus was awesome! (What can I say, I started my bad boy phase at 4 years old.) I will buy any book that he narrates, and I have not been disappointed yet!<br/>This book was an unexpected surprise. It was unique, interesting, exciting and kept me guessing the entire time. When it was over I was revved up and ready for the next book in the series, only to find it was not due out for quite some time. <br/>If you enjoy big, bold, magical adventures (not to mention the soothing voice of the audio-book master, Jim Dale) give this book a shot. I don't think you will be disappointed!

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  • Performance
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Great narrator! Very imaginative story.

Jim Dale is truly a master storyteller. This book along with his fabulous performance sucks you in and holds you until the end. I can't wait for the next book in this series!

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  • Performance
  • Story

fantastically fiction

If you could sum up The Emerald Atlas in three words, what would they be?

Like harry potter

Who was your favorite character and why?

The three children were very likable.

What does Jim Dale bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

We got this book because we missed hearing Jim dale. he is one of the best readers we have ever had the pleasure of listening to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The book keeps the reader wanting to keep going.

Any additional comments?

Great book for 10 YEAR OLDS AND UP

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  • Hruby
  • MONTGOMERY, IL, United States
  • 06-28-12

Entertaining, Great Narrator

What made the experience of listening to The Emerald Atlas the most enjoyable?

Good Story as always Jim Dale is an excellent story teller.

What did you like best about this story?

It was suspensful - Kept my interest

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  • Ryan
  • Batesville, IN, United States
  • 06-04-12

Jim Dale does another terrific job.

What did you love best about The Emerald Atlas?

I thought the story could of been a bit stronger. The book made you want more so I hope they add more details in the next one. Could of done without the first 2 or 3 chapters.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The christmas party was the most interesting part. The very beginning of the book was least

Have you listened to any of Jim Dale’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes I can listen to anything Jim Dale I believe. But his performance with Harry Potter is the best.

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  • MaryJane
  • Grapevine, TX, United States
  • 05-04-12

Nice Surprise!

I hadn't heard of this book but the sample got me interested enough to buy it. There's an unexpected twist to this story of young people -- subjected to adult decisions without reason or explanation -- that I found endearing. I hope Stephens will continue this series.