Review #167 // The House of Power (Atherton #1) – Patrick Carman

The House of Power (Atherton, #1)

Edgar, an orphaned boy on the world of Atherton, finds solace in climbing the walls separating Tabletop and the Highlands. Climbing the walls is forbidden, but so is having books, which is exactly what Edgar finds.

Why this book?: I remember reading this when I was just getting into reading. I didn’t know it was a series, and read the third book a few times before realizing that it was a trilogy. By then, I was too lazy to read the others, because, in my head, I already knew the ending!!

I only vaguely remembered what happened in this series, and so it was like I was reading a completely new book. At first I couldn’t get into it, and it was sent back to the library before I could finish it. I later got it back in order to finish it and try to continue the series, and I have to admit that it was an enjoyable experience, for a middle grade novel.

The story kept me interested and I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but the way the story was told, specifically as a trilogy, made it hard to stay that way. Only so much happened in this story, and I constantly thought that there was no way this could have a satisfactory ending with how little was left and how much of the story was still unexplained.

In relation to the characters, I did enjoy them, but couldn’t help but think they were stereotypical in some ways. There was the orphaned, adventurous boy whom everyone knows because of their unfair treatment by someone. (Edgar specifically reminds me of Will, the main character from John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice, who was orphaned, people liked him, but he was constantly bullied.) There was the nerdy best friend, and the intimidating friend who just so happens to be a girl and might be shoved into a relationship with either the nerdy friend or MC at some point. And then lets not forget about the old professor type guy who is sort of a father figure to the orphaned MC. So, needless to say, I felt like a lot of the characters were stereotypical and overused in some ways, despite still enjoying them.

Final Rating: ★★★★☆


As a story, I really enjoyed it. I felt like it could have been organized differently, maybe as a duology (at the time of writing this review, I have read the entire series), but I still found it interesting and worthy of finishing.

Would I Recommend?

As a middle grade read, I think it’s a good starter series, and that beginner readers will enjoy it. While I personally saw things that could be improved, as well as stereotypes, that’s probably just from years of reading and rereading other novels.

The House of Power (Atherton, #1)Additional Information:

Published: April 3rd, 2005

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Page Count: 339

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Middle Grade

Synopsis: via Goodreads

From the creator of the Land of Elyon comes a riveting adventure set in an extraordinary satellite world created as a refuge from a dying Earth that begins to collapse and forever change the lives of its inhabitants. Edgar, a gifted climber, is a lonely boy scaling the perilous cliffs that separate the three realms of Atherton: a humble fig grove; a mysterious highland world of untold beauty and sinister secrets; and a vast wasteland where he must confront an unspeakable danger that could destroy the people of Atherton. When Edgar discovers a book which contains the history of Atherton’s origins and ultimate apocalypse, his world quite literally begins to turn inside out.


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