Oct 8, 2011

Where are YA Novels heading to???

Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

I'm not ashamed to commit that I'm a fiction junkie. I live, breathe and enjoy fiction. Magic, curses, complicated spells, time travel, witches & wizards, dragons and knights in shining armor...these are my companions. I've been reading fantastic fiction since it was called "fairy-tales", rather than YA fiction, the  Young Adults Fiction. and over the years, I've developed what one might call a sort of periodical view...chronological if you may...historical almost. with my latest read in YA, the question that haunts me is "Where is this genre going?" I mean whatever happened to simple fight between good and evil? Why does the children's fantasy have to involve complicated hierarchy of command, politics between ranks, sibling cruelty, treachery and evil prophecies?

John Stephens delivers a wonderful plet, with lots of action, plathora of e motions and a promise of wonders of things to come. In first few pages of the Emerald Atlas introduces us with siblings Kate, Michael and Emma. Three children spirited away from the safety of their homes, left at an orphanage... all done with a cloak of mystery and suggestion of bad things following. The start is intriguing enough, full of promise. It would be unfair of my, if I say Emerald Atlas is downright disappointing. the tale is fast paced, it never dulls and rather crisp... it keeps moving, introduces a lot of new, unexpected twist and turns.

I guess if you have no firm "expectations" from Emerald Atlas, you might just enjoy this time traveling magical tale. My problems lie in the fact that I had great expectations from Emerald Atlas. I'd read reviews, rave reviews of the book, comparing the novel with likes of Harry Potter etc. Being an ardent fan of the HP series, I was expecting a similar experience. The experience of Emerald Atlas leaves you wanting more. There are so many wonderful elements in the book that are utterly wasted. Though its a fast paced story and crisp narrative, it lacks a certain finesse that one might expect from YA novels.

so, whats the verdict? John Stephens' Emerald Atlas is a very interesting YA novel. If you dont expect much, it could prove to be a good Sunday Afternoon pick-me-up read. Its decent enough to pass time, but if you are out looking for an highly engaging, riveting plot with mystery and mind boggling twists and turns....my suggestion, pick something else.

As far as rating it goes... Crispness of the tale demands 1.5, where characterisation and details should be decent enough to earn another 1. The potential that the tale has for expansion and creative elements, another 0.5...whereas the the feel of being lost or un-gripping narration forces me to take off a point. the whole experience leaves feeling that this was a grown up novel which ended up being disguised as a YA and that too very poorly. So, overall Emerald Atlas gets a 2/5 on my scale.

But don't let my views be a judge of what you read... go ahead, give it a try.!.!. Don't forget to send me your scores though... :)

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