Atherton: The House of Power
By Patrick Carman
Little, Brown and Co, 2007. 330 pgs. Chapter book.
Patrick Carman's new series begins with Atherton: The House of Power. Carman writes for an older audience than he did in The Land of Elyon trilogy. The tone of Atherton is darker and more serious, sometimes it is downright grim. Atherton is a unique world of three levels: The Highlands, Tabletop, and The Flatlands. The majority of the world's populace resides on Tabletop where figs, rabbits and sheep are raised for food. The rulers live a life of luxury on the Highlands. The House of Power is so called mainly because they can control the output of water to the lower levels. And you probably don't want to know what lives in the Flatlands. Only one boy is brave enough to explore his world and wonder what might be on the other levels. Edgar learns that he can only reach his goals with the help of some friends, something he thought he would never have. Friendships are discovered and social status ignored as Edgar, Samuel and Isabelle try to understand and cope with their changing world. I liked the feel of this novel, but was bothered at times by the author's narrative style. The book is written mostly in the third person, but occasionally the author speaks to the reader using 'I' and 'we'. It is unnecessary and distracting. Overall I enjoyed reading this book and am curious where he will take the series. This should definitely be recommended to those who liked City of Ember and other post-apocalyptic books.