The Emerald Tablet, to me, sounded a bit like Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles for adults – I sort of expected the same sort of plot, slightly more grown up writing and some adult characters. In reality, there’s a lot more to this! Violence, murder and a little bit of sex, this is much more than just a standard fantasy novel. Just don’t buy it expecting a light fantasy you could lend to your children – gritty and emotional, The Emerald Tablet is most definitely aimed at adults!
This book manages to combine elements of mythology, high fantasy, mystery, romance and even sci-fi. This could easily have gone wrong, and felt like a book was trying to “do” too much to get your attention, but the blending of genres and themes in The Emerald tablet is seamless. The mythology and fantasy elements are what drew me to the novel in the first place, but the mystery and romance is what reeled me in.
Like Game of Thrones, and many other fantasy novels, the plot follows several characters, and switches back and forward. Unusually it’s written in present-tense, which took a little getting used to but didn’t bother me at all.
The first scene, a shocking abuse scene of a child, immerses you completely, and sets you up for the vivid writing style you can expect throughout the whole book. The scene is pretty intense, but the book isn’t at all gruesome or gory, so don’t let that put you off. It also doesn’t continue throughout the whole book, and is perfectly plot relevant, so don’t assume the book isn’t for you if the sound of that scene makes you uncomfortable!
Anyways, this scene sets you up to hate the abuser, but Silverman’s characters are very definitely 4-dimensional. I guarantee that throughout this book you’ll be re-evaluating your snap-judgements of characters, because every single one has a well developed back story.
The book slows down a little after this scene, when the world building really picks up. The world building is very good, but the elements of high fantasy mean that you will be switching back and forward between a few different worlds. If you’re not used to/into fantasy, that might be something that puts you off. As a fantasy fan, I enjoyed the detail and the thought that Silverman had obviously put into creating his worlds.
The second half of this book is what really sold it for me. If I were to be brutally honest, for the first third or so of this book I was leaning towards a solid 2 stars (It was okay). However, once I’d settled into the worlds, the characters, and let go of my assumption this would be YA, I started to get really into it. About halfway through, the plot really starts to pick up, and the cinematic action scenes, the mysteries and the drama then had me hooked until the end.
My biggest issue with this book was the editing – there were just a few errors that had been missed and it started to bug me. However, firstly, I don’t know whether you’d even notice them reading it purely for pleasure, whereas obviously I was on the lookout from a reviewing point of view. Secondly, I contacted Joshua with my thoughts, and got very helpful, unfailingly polite responses from both himself and his editor, who assured me these will be fixed before the next printing. So don’t let it put you off! With those changes, I imagine my review would be bumped up to 4 stars for readability, and overall.
My only other teensy-nitpicking issue with the book was Leoros and Atlantia’s proposed ages of 12/13. I can understand making them younger than the other characters to fit in with the plot, but making them such young teenagers felt almost like a random number had been picked out of a hat. In my opinion, they came off as slightly older, which fitted perfectly well with the storyline. Their young ages was also the biggest reason I felt initially conflicted as to whether this was aimed at teenagers or adults. To be honest I basically just ignored any mention of their ages and called them more like 15 or 16 in my head!
All in all, although The Emerald Tablet was a little rough around the edges, I enjoyed it, and I think the series shows great potential. It was interesting and it was unusual, in both plotline and overall feel. The character switching, adult themes and fantasy elements give it an almost Game of Thrones feel, and yet the book wasn’t in anyway slow or taxing to read like some High Fantasy can be. I would say that this was a middle ground between Percy Jackson/Harry Potter etc and Game of Thrones. For adult fantasy fans who fancy a YA feel with adult content, this is perfect!
Buy it? I’d be happy to buy it – especially as the kindle edition is currently £2.06!
In a nutshell: An exciting debut, I’ll definitely be reading book 2