Title: The Black Reckoning
Series: The Books of Beginning #3
Author: John Stephens
Genre: Middle grade, Fantasy Adventure
Published: March 2015 by Random House
My Rating: 4 stars
The final book in the bestselling Books of Beginning trilogy that begain 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.
I felt that the ending was a bit somber for a middle grade series but it really wrapped up everything that had happened throughout the trilogy very well.
I can't say a lot without giving away away the first two books but this series is filled with magic, time travel, and lots of fantasy creatures: elves, dwarves, imps, dragons, GIANTS, and more.
The main characters are 3 siblings who have been tossed from orphanage to orphanage until they are adopted by Mr. Pim, a wizard who claims to have known their parents. They then find the Atlas which takes them back in time to a time where magic and monsters exist. They learn that there are pockets of hidden magical areas in our own world that have been hidden away to protect the magical creatures and people. And of course, with any good story there are villains and these books have very creepy monsters as well. The villain, the Dire Magnus, is after the Atlas, as well as the other two Books of Beginning, the 'Chronicle' and the 'Reckoning' and the children's lives are at stake constantly throughout this trilogy. They find a great group of allies to help fight this battle between good and evil.
Overall, it's a great story. I would recommend it to any fantasy / adventure lover of any age.