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Patrick Carman

patrick carmanPatrick Carman is the bestselling author of the Land of Elyon series, as well as the Elliot’s Park series, the Skeleton Creek series, and the Atherton series. He got his start as a storyteller weaving bedtime tales for his two daughters. He lives in Walla Walla, Washington, with his family. Read or listen to the first chapters of Patrick Carman’s books at his website.

The Dark Hills Divide: Interesting premise but little spark

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

Patrick Carman's The Dark Hills Divide has a good if not all that original premise at its core — a kingdom of four cities completely walled in and a 12-yr-old heroine who longs to see what's beyond the walls. The walls were built a generation ago by Thomas Warvold, a well-traveled adventurer who came up with the idea to overcome people's fears of expansion into unknown and allegedly dangerous lands by building walled roads and towns using temporarily freed convicts as laborers. Decades later, Warvold's death sets into motion a slew of activity as the towns are threatened by those inside and out (internal kingdom strife, a possible high-level traitor, the supposedly re-imprisoned convicts) and previous assumptions are questioned (the dangers of the outside land, the effectiveness of the walls versus their societal cost, etc.).
At the center of all of this ... Read More

The House of Power: A set up novel

The House of Power by Patrick Carman

The House of Power is the first installment in Patrick Carman's ATHERTON trilogy. As such, it is expected that there be some ‘setting up’ for the next book. These expectations are surpassed, as there is little else but setting up for most of this book.

Halfway through The House of Power all that was still happening was the suggestion of more problems, and it seemed that I would have to read the rest of the trilogy to get any answers at all. The House of Power seemed to be purely background knowledge with holes in it. There are some exciting plot developments at the end, but those are left as a cliffhanger.

Even so, it was a pretty good set up and, once the plot finally started to move, the writing was crisp and well done. The characters began to show their true colors, and startling develop... Read More

Rivers of Fire: Strongest book in Atherton trilogy

Rivers of Fire by Patrick Carman

Rivers of Fire is by far the strongest book in the ATHERTON trilogy. From beginning to end, the plot moves quickly, the characters develop and play to their own strengths, mysteries are resolved,  bravery is tested, lives are lost, radical changes begin anew, foes are slain. And all while Atherton shows its true self.

Rivers of Fire picks right up where The House of Power left off — in the middle of a battle — so it gets going very quickly. All the way through Rivers of Fire there are major (and quite interesting) plot developments, and there is very little obvious ‘just setting up’ for the final installment, The Dark Planet. This makes for some wonderful story telling. By the end, there are  many answered questions and  a few large (but somewhat distant) una... Read More

The Dark Planet: Reviewed by a teen

The Dark Planet by Patrick Carman
He was so proud of him and all that he’d done, proud enough to never call him his maker again.
The Dark Planet is the conclusion to Patrick Carman's Atherton trilogy about a young boy, Edgar, and his adventures while finding out who his father really was. Along the way he makes numerous friends on Atherton, and the Dark Planet itself. He knows he was made for a purpose, he knows he doesn’t have real parents like everyone else, he knows his maker went to a great deal of trouble to save a handful of people on a made world. What he doesn’t know is that his adventures aren’t over yet.

The Dark Planet is written nicely. The characters are deep, the settings detailed, and the plot very well thought out. The main problem I found was that the first... Read More

Skeleton Creek: Multi-media mystery for kids

Skeleton Creek & Ghost in the Machine by Patrick Carman

In the Skeleton Creek duology, best friends Ryan McCray and Sarah Fincher team up to investigate the mysterious goings-on at an old mining dredge in their town. The story is told in Ryan’s journal, in which he records his thoughts and his correspondence with Sarah; and in Sarah’s films, creepy Blair Witch-style videos that are accessible on the Internet using passwords given in the text. Before I go any further, I should say that Skeleton Creek is not fantasy and is better categorized as mystery.

Skeleton Creek begins with Ryan recovering from a broken leg; he fell when spooked on an expedition to the dredge with Sarah. The friends’ parents forbid them to see each other, but they communicate via emails and Sarah’s videos as... Read More

More speculative fiction from Patrick Carman

Dark Eden — (2011-2012) Young adult. Publisher: Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares — with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night’s experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains…. What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden? Patrick Carman’s Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and — ultimately — immortality.

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Pulse — (2013-2015) Publisher: Best-selling author Carman launches a new series in a dystopian civilization that has its roots in today’s United States. It’s 2051, and global warming has wreaked havoc around the world. Most of America’s remaining population has moved into one of the two remaining States, where life is stringently controlled and people are kept amused by whatever latest entertainment is available on their ever-present Tablets. Outside the States, life is freer, but even there, kids like Faith Daniels still have to go to school, despite shrinking student populations. On her own, she clings to her friendship with Liz while wondering what it would be like to have a boyfriend like Wade Quinn. She soon finds out that both Wade and his sister Clara are dangerous. When Liz and her family move into the Western State, Faith is even more alone, except for Hawk, a genius hacker, and Dylan, who can not only move things with his mind, but ward off almost all threats to his body. Faith has this extra “pulse” as well… if only Dylan can train her to use it in time. The third-person narration shifts from one character’s perspective to another in short, colloquial chapters, keeping the pace swift from the beginning. Carman’s grounding of his dystopia in this recognizable near-future makes it highly believable.

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Patrick Carman Thirteen Days to MidnightThirteen Days to Midnight — (2010) Publisher: You are indestructible. Three whispered words transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding that changes everything. At first, Jacob is hesitant to use the power, unsure of its implications. But there’s something addictive about testing the limits of fear. Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests that they use the power to do good, to save others. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies? In this nail-biting novel of mystery and dark intrigue, Jacob must walk the razor thin line between right and wrong, good and evil, and life and death. And time is running out. Because the Grim Reaper doesn’t disappear. . . . He catches up.