The Fire Chronicle (Books of Beginning Series #2)

The Fire Chronicle (Books of Beginning Series #2)

4.7 54
by John Stephens
     
 

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After the tumultuous events of last winter, Kate, Michael, and Emma long to continue the hunt for their missing parents. But they themselves are now in great danger, and so the wizard Stanislaus Pym hides the children at the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans. There, he says, they will be safe. How wrong he is. 

The children are

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Overview

After the tumultuous events of last winter, Kate, Michael, and Emma long to continue the hunt for their missing parents. But they themselves are now in great danger, and so the wizard Stanislaus Pym hides the children at the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans. There, he says, they will be safe. How wrong he is. 

The children are soon discovered by their enemies, and a frantic chase sends Kate a hundred years into the past, to a perilous, enchanted New York City. Searching for a way back to her brother and sister, she meets a mysterious boy whose fate is intricately—and dangerously—tied to her own.

Meanwhile, Michael and Emma have set off to find the second of the Books of Beginning. A series of clues leads them into a hidden world where they must brave harsh polar storms, track down an ancient order of warriors, and confront terrible monsters. Will Michael and Emma find the legendary book of fire—and master its powers—before Kate is lost to them forever? 

Exciting, suspenseful, and brimming with humor and heart, the next installment of the bestselling Books of Beginning trilogy will lead Kate, Michael, and Emma closer to their family—and to the magic that could save, or destroy, them all.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the exciting second installment of Stephens’s Books of Beginning trilogy—even stronger than The Emerald Atlas—siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma flee the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans with the evil forces of the Dire Magus at their heels. Fifteen-year-old Kate, carrying the Emerald Atlas she rescued in book one, travels through time to a magical version of 19th-century New York City where she falls for a heroic young man named Rafe, only to discover the dark destiny that awaits him. Younger siblings Michael and Emma, reunited at least momentarily with their eccentric wizard guardian, Dr. Pym, learn they must fly to southernmost South America and beyond to recover the legendary Fire Chronicle. 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 (“The boy elves wore stiff-brimmed straw hats. The girl elves twirled parasols on their dainty shoulders. A few of the elves carried wooden tennis rackets”) are sure to delight. Ages 8–12. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Book two in a series that, however exciting, charming, and captivating, suffers if not read in order. Book one introduces all the trouble facing Kate, Michael, and Emma. Their parents are missing—for ten years. The wizard Stanislaus Pym tried to hide the children in the Edgar Allen Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans, where he thought they would be safe. Of course they are not safe; their enemies find them and chase them through space and time until Kate is sent 100 years into the past, to an "enchanted, dangerous New York City." There she meets a mysterious boy who seems to have some kind of tie to her. But is this tie going to help her find her siblings? What kind of magic is this, anyway? Michael and Emma, stuck in modern times, search frantically for the sister who raised them. They are also looking for a book—the second of the Books of Beginning, the Book of Fire, to which Michael is somehow linked. Meanwhile, Kate gets involved with a ragtag group of orphans whose survival depends on that mysterious boy. Again, what kind of magic is this? Readers will wish for a little more insight into the workings of this world. In other words, the book does not stand alone as well as it could. But the characters are very real children, and the way they are involved with each other as siblings is very true-to-life. Book two in the "Books of Beginning" series. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
Kirkus Reviews
Time travel, an Arctic ice shelf and frivolous elves converge in this second installment of The Books of Beginning. Siblings Kate, Michael and Emma were lauded for successfully battling evil in The Emerald Atlas (2011), but soon afterward, their trusted confidant, Dr. Pym, redeposited them in a decrepit orphanage without explanation. After several months, a foreboding black cloud rolls in, catapulting the children into action. Kate escapes to 1899 Manhattan via the previous book's titular atlas, while Michael and Emma are miraculously plucked from danger by Pym. So sets the stage for Kate's mission to rejoin her siblings and for Michael and Emma's journey to a secreted, lush valley in Antarctica to seek a second magic book, the Chronicle. The children aren't strangers to magic, but their awe of magical places, allies and enemies does anything but wane here (it's hard to be ho-hum when entranced by elves, pursued by a dragon and combatting trolls). A third-person-omniscient narration alternates between Kate and Michael, but Michael, the meekest child (and destined keeper of the Chronicle), is the primary focus as he struggles to find a fiery strength within himself. With no rest for the children, the ending is anything but a fading ember as Emma is kidnapped, separating the trio once again and setting the stage for Book 3. Irreverent humor and swashbuckling adventure collide in a fetching fantasy. (Fantasy. 10-14)
From the Publisher
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.”

VOYA - Cheryl Clark
In the second of The Books of Beginning series, Kate, Michael, and Emma’s enemies are closing in on them. They flee their orphanage, with Kate accidentally sending herself back in time to the late nineteenth century and Michael and Emma being whisked away by the wizard Stanislaus Pym. Michael and Emma seek the second of the magical books of beginning, the Chronicle, traveling through Italy and on to Antarctica, with the Dire Magnus’s henchman hot on their tail. In the meantime, Kate holes up with a group of street kids led by a boy named Rafe, with whom she feels a strange connection. Why does Kate have such strong feelings for Rafe, and what is his connection to the Dire Magnus? Will Michael and Emma find the physical and mental strength to retrieve the Chronicle? And most importantly, will the three children ever be reunited? Fire Chronicle is an adventure ride from start to finish; with one exciting scene flowing right into another, the book is hard to put down. Although the novel seems to be geared toward a middle school audience, there are enough mature themes to hold the interest of older readers as well. Readers will especially be drawn in by Michael’s story; he is repeatedly faced with the decision of who lives and who dies. Although the book can be read as a stand-alone novel, it will have readers running to the shelves eager to get their hands on the other novels in the series. Ages 11 to 15.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375868719
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
10/09/2012
Series:
Books of Beginning Series, #2
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
223,353
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 8.36(h) x 1.38(d)
Lexile:
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
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.”

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