Unique setting, Fascinating Plot Make Atherton Shine – School Library Journal 5/22/07

CARMAN, Patrick. Atherton: The House of Power. illus. by Squire Broel. 330p. Little, Brown. 2007. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-316-16670-6. LC number unavailable. Gr 7-10-This first book in the series starts out reading like a pastoral fantasy set on a fig farm where children and adults labor side by side to handle the trees and reap the harvest. The farm is on Tabletop, which is bordered by a rising cliff on one side and a drop-off on the other. Edgar vaguely remembers his deceased father telling him that he had placed something in the cliffs for his son. The boy teaches himself to climb up there even though it is forbidden. When he finds the book his father left him on the cliff face, he knows that he must travel all the way to the Highlands above to have someone read it to him. But the world is getting more treacherous as the ground itself begins to rumble, shift, and change. The book that Edgar has holds the secrets of their entire world and its changing future. Despite the setting, this novel is actually not a fantasy but rather pure science fiction where a manufactured world created by a madman is throwing the inhabitants’ lives into turmoil. It is a fast-paced novel with a unique setting, fascinating plot, and cliff-hanger ending. It shines because of the author’s imagination and skill. The characterizations of even the secondary figures are skillfully done, which makes the world all the more vivid and believable.-Tasha Saecker, Menasha Public Library, WI

Patrick Carman