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The Fire Chronicle (Books of Beginning) [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

John Stephens
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-Fifteen-year-old Kate, almost 13-year-old Michael, and 12-year-old Emma don't know why Dr. Pym sent them back to the dreadful orphanage at the end of The Emerald Atlas (Knopf, 2011), but Kate, who learned to control the power of the Atlas to travel through time, knows they need to leave as soon as possible. In the first chapter of Chronicle, a monstrous Screecher attacks, and Kate lures it into the past at the exact moment Dr. Pym appears to retrieve Michael and Emma. While Kate deals with the Dickensian world of 1899 New York on the eve of Separation, when the magical and mundane worlds will split for good, Michael, Emma, and Pym search for information about the other two books in a variety of unlikely places. This is a roller-coaster ride of a story, which includes old friends and new, a visit to Antarctica, the rescue of an Elf Princess (who is sometimes a dragon), a touch of doomed romance, a generous leavening of humor, life, death, betrayal, and (just a warning) a nasty little cliff-hanger of an ending. It is really Michael's story-he deals with unimaginable challenges with humor, courage, and insight. Knowledge of the first book is suggested; readers who start with this one will definitely want to backtrack. Fans of the first book won't be disappointed, and will eagerly anticipate the next one. The Emerald Atlas was very good. This one is even better.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

After saving the town of Cambridge Falls during their adventure in The Emerald Atlas (2011), Kate, Michael, and Emma have little time to enjoy their victory. Caught between warring factions, the children are hidden in a Baltimore orphanage to keep them safe, but they are discovered. While luring their enemies away, Kate finds herself stranded 100 years in the past in a fantastical New York City. Meanwhile, Michael and Emma set off to find the second volume in the Books of Beginning, and their search takes them deep into a dangerous world hidden at the bottom of the earth. The action alternates between Michael’s and Kate’s compelling stories, and cliff-hanger chapter endings keep the suspense high. Stephens builds on the humor and character development established in the first book, and all three children become more fully realized, especially Kate and Michael. An initial summary introduces the plot to newcomers without slowing down the story for Atlas readers who have been waiting for the adventures to continue. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans of the New York Times best-selling Emerald Atlas are already lining up for this sequel. Grades 4-7. --Lynn Rutan

Review

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, October 8, 2012:
“Fans of The Emerald Atlas will find much to love: the adventure-driven plot, a scattering of deliciously scary moments, and Stephens’s offbeat take on Tolkienesque dragons, dwarves, and elves are sure to delight.”

Starred Review, School Library Journal, October 1, 2012:
“Fans of the first book won’t be disappointed, and will eagerly anticipate the next one. The Emerald Atlas was very good. This one is even better.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2012:
“Irreverent humor and swashbuckling adventure collide in a fetching fantasy.”

About the Author

John Stephens is also the author of The Emerald Atlas, the first installment in the Books of Beginning trilogy.  John received his MFA from the University of Virginia, and went on to write and produce television for ten years.  During this time, he read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and fell in love with fantasy for young readers.  He spent the next several years waking at 4 AM every morning to write The Emerald Atlas before heading to work for the day.
John lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son and their dog, Bug. Visit BooksofBeginning.com to find out more about The Fire Chronicle, the Books of Beginning, and John.
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