September 12th, 2009 by Karen
Starting Monday, our new theme will be fantasy series — but one of my favorite trilogies won’t be on the list. And that’s because despite appearances, Patrick Carman’s Atherton series is not actually fantasy.
Say what? Like I said, the books definitely seem to be fantasy. The story starts off depicting life in a land called Atherton, which is divided by huge cliffs into three separate levels. At the top are the Highlands, populated by a small ruling class who control all the water. The middle level is Tabletop, where the working folks tend to livestock and farming. At the bottom are the Flatlands, a barren and unexplored wasteland.
At the beginning of the series, no one is able to move between the three levels. But as you can guess, all that’s about the change — thanks to an orphan named Edgar who has a gift for climbing and a strong sense of curiosity.
Okay, so that still sounds like a fantasy series, right? Well, here’s the thing — there’s a secret about Atherton that none of its residents know. And every day they’re unaware of it, that’s another day closer to their doom. [imagine dramatic music here]
It’s Edgar who sets in motion the slow reveal of Atherton’s secret, and as the characters start to piece together the mystery, so does the reader. And soon enough, it becomes clear why I’m saying this series isn’t fantasy after all.
What is it, exactly? Well, I don’t want to ruin it, because you should absolutely pick up Book 1: The House of Power right away (as soon as you’re done visiting every last page on Kidsmomo.com). All I’ll say is that Atherton may not be as distant as you’d think… [cue dramatic music x1000!!!!]