The Black Reckoning (Books of Beginning Series #3)

The Black Reckoning (Books of Beginning Series #3)

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by John Stephens, Jim Dale

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The final book in the bestselling Books of Beginning trilogy that began with The Emerald Atlas, which the New York Times called “a new Narnia for the tween set.”

The adventures of siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma come to a stunning conclusion when they must find the last Book of Beginning—the Book of Death—before the


The final book in the bestselling Books of Beginning trilogy that began with The Emerald Atlas, which the New York Times called “a new Narnia for the tween set.”

The adventures of siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma come to a stunning conclusion when they must find the last Book of Beginning—the Book of Death—before the Dire Magnus does, for when all three books are united, their combined power will be unstoppable.

Soon Emma is on a journey to places both worldly and otherworldly, confronting terrifying monsters and ghosts, and what is darkest within herself. As the fabric of time begins to fray, she becomes the final piece of an extraordinary puzzle. Only if she can master the powers of this most dangerous book will she, Kate, and Michael be able to save the world from the dramatic, deadly final confrontation between magical and ordinary people that the Dire Magnus has in store.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Enid Portnoy
In this final book in the popular fantasy series, “Books of Beginning,” Stephens moves the reader along with high adventures full of magic and excitement, fearful contrasts between life and death, and a powerful force of family over all other themes. The three main characters are orphans in search of their family. Their plans are to find and protect the Books of Beginning. To do so, they must struggle against the power of the villain, Dire Magnus, who plans to destroy the world and create his own evil universe. The children must journey to fearful places to rescue the last of the Books, the Book of Death or Black Reckoning. The children meet all types of strange creatures including dragons, dwarfs, giants and wizards, some of who try to aid the orphans’ search for their parents to unite the family. Stephens does a masterful job describing each dark setting. Readers will feel every emotion and each skin-tingling incident as the children get nearer to their final goal. Chapters are relatively short and full of surprises. Foremost in the children’s minds are the words of the dark prophecy “Three children will come, and they will take death from the land.” However, when they find themselves thrown into cages guarded by giants, how will they be able to escape? Readers must take a deep breath and swallow hard while hurrying to read the next pages faster! Each book in the trilogy is exciting and filled with magic that carries the reader along. Reviewer: Enid Portnoy; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—In this series conclusion, it is young Emma's turn to take center stage and obtain the Book of Death, which the 12-year-old handles with bravery, imagination, and the willing assistance (nay, sacrifice) of beloved friends both new and old. There is high adventure: war with all its inherent idiocy (finding a leader is impossible when the witches, gnomes, and elves despise one another), the hunt for treasure, and an unsettling visit to the Land of the Dead. There is also humor, this time in the character of Willy the Giant, whose large body is easily matched by his wits and heart. Fear, frustration, and violence also feature in this story, as well as heartbreak. Ultimately, however, the lost are found, the world is saved, and love manages to win out in the end. With no guarantee of survival, the Wibberly siblings prove themselves to be worthy guardians over life and death. Readers will need to have read the first two books for maximum enjoyment. VERDICT A fine, if somber, end to an excellent fantasy trilogy.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Kids grow up so quickly these days—at least they do when they are prophetically linked to magical relics.When last readers saw the Wibberly children (The Fire Chronicle, 2012), Emma had been kidnapped by the Dire Magnus, and Kate and Michael were left frantic in Antarctica. The Dire Magnus' malevolent power has since multiplied, and the magical world, complacent in its underestimate of his capability, is ill-prepared. In turn, death, destruction and mounting anxiety breed tension and cultural clashes (namely between elves and dwarves), and Kate and Michael fear they won't see their sister again. Ultimately, the final Book of Beginning, the Book of Death, must be found before the Dire Magnus locates it, and 12-year-old Emma, the book's destined Keeper, is the only one who can travel to the world of the dead to retrieve it. Survival isn't taken for granted in this often grim, bleak landscape of battles, destitution and—as the title implies—death. With over two years having passed since Chronicle, the first sixth of the book serves as a welcome recap (who is Hugo Algernon again?). Emma's feisty, humorous voice is the most prominent narrative focus here, though as with both previous books, Kate's perceptive compassion and Michael's inquisitive practicality share the stage. This fantasy trilogy closes with both satisfying finality and the realistic, requisite heartbreak that comes with saying goodbye. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Books of Beginning Series, #3
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 5.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

John Stephens wrote and produced 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 his first book, The Emerald Atlas, before heading to work for the day. John lives in Los Angeles with his family. Visit and follow him at @johnrstephens to find out more.

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The Black Reckoning 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this third and final installment in The Books of Beginning trilogy, Kate and Michael Wibberly are frantically searching for theis sister Emma with the help of their friend Dr. Pym... but they can't shake the feeling that he's hiding something from them. They know that they must use the combined strength of The Books of Beginning to defeat Rafe (Kate's love interest from "The Fire Chronicle"), who has become the Dire Magnus, their greatest enemy. But there's a slight problem. The Dire Magnus has Emma, and he plans to use her to find the final book, the Book of Death. The final battle is beginning, and it's up to the children to decide where they stand. This series is one of my all-time favorites. From the minute I picked up The Emerald Atlas, I knew it would stick with me for many years. The Fire Chronicle lived up to the first. I waited (not so) patiently for The Black Reckoning, and it certainly didn't disappoint. I laughed, I cried, and I was moved. The characters were true to their previous development, the plot was gripping, and I'm even more thoroughly convinced I'll never forget this wonderful series. If you read nothing else, READ THESE BOOKS!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im excited to read this but also am annoyed bc its been THREE YEARS and i barely remember anything about the first two books. Guess its time for a reread session
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg! This book is coming out in 4 days!!!!!!! I am soooooooo exited to read this!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best trilogy ever and this is my favorite book