House of Power by Patrick Carman


Title: The House of Power
Author: Patrick Carmen
Publisher: Little, Brown Young
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy for ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 384
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

My class would not give this book 3.5 out of 5. They would have given it a 5.5 Out of twenty nine third graders, one didn’t like it. One! Every day, when I would read to them after lunch, they’d beg me, “One more chapter! Please!” I’d look at them while I was teaching Math, and they’d be drawing scenes of Atherton on their slates instead of writing number sentences with missing variables. (Well, I can hardly blame them for that.)

“What’s Atherton?” you say. Atherton is the world of which Carman writes, the world that was conceived by Dr. Harding. It’s a multi-layered arrowhead shape, orbiting the Dark Planet, and it’s comprised of the Highlands, Tabletop, and the Flatlands.

The Highlands is where Lord Phineas lives, with his four main advisors: Sir Phillip, Sir Emerick, and Sir William…the fourth, father of Samuel, has mysteriously died. Lord Phineas rules over the levels of Atherton, from his House of Power, because it is he who controls the water source.

But, Tabletop controls the food. Figs, which they grow, and rabbits or sheep, are hauled up to the Highlands in enormous baskets. Edgar tends the trees that produce the figs. He is a brave and adventurous boy, an orphan, who discovers a book and climbs undaunted to the Highlands in order to find someone who will read it to him.

The book contains secret information about Atherton and its destiny. Edgar, glad that he has made new friends, and explored new places, is our hero. But, there are also Samuel and Isabel, who will join him in fighting for the people of Atherton against great odds. And, the likes of evil Lord Phineas.

Will the Highlands, and Tabletop, which have descended onto each other continue to sink? Will Lord Phineas maintain control of the water, or will Isabel and Samuel steal it away? Will the Cleaners, fearsome garbage eating creatures, attack the inhabitants of the Flatlands? Will Edgar find more information about the Dark Planet from where he came? These questions remain unanswered until we open the pages of Rivers of Fire, Book Two.

My children are begging me to begin it on Monday.

13 thoughts on “House of Power by Patrick Carman”

  1. How wonderful that your students loved it so much! I wish my teachers had read books that I enjoyed when I was in school. I had a horrible track record with teacher-recommended reads!


  2. How wonderful that you read aloud to your class. I'll bet all of you wish that the entire day could be spent that way. Honestly, they learn so much by being read to. Bravo to you!


  3. I need to make note of this one. That is a rave review! We have read Skeleton Creek by Carman, and are in the middle of the sequel, Ghost in the Machine. They are nuts about it. Thanks for the head's up…we are always looking for a new obsession!


  4. I have got to get this for my son. He's 8, reads at a high school level, and loves fantasy books. I just showed this to him and had him read your description and he's excited already. Thank you very much!


  5. I can only remember a few treasures read by my teachers. I have a very clear memory of The House of Sixty Fathers, The Pushcart War, and Harriet The Spy being read to us. But, most of the time, I wanted to choose my own books. What was read to you that you disliked? I want to stay away from those!


  6. Oh, you hit the nail on the head. The DO learn so much while being read to. If teachers only realized the reading and writing lessons that just come from Read Aloud time: inferencing, predicting, vocabulary, point of view, setting…it goes on forever!


  7. Sandy, this is the first book I've read by Carman, In fact, I hadn't even heard of him before I was contacted to read and review The Dark Planet. I told them I hadn't read the first two in the trilogy, so Little, Brown sent them along, too. I can see what a beloved author he is!


  8. Amanda, how wonderful to have a son reading on such a high level! Mine, too, loves to read. In eighth grade his favorite book was Les Miserables, go figure. Although, he loves fantasy best. Anyway, if you have a chance click on the link I attached to the title because it takes you to such a cool site where he can see illustrations and play games relating to Atherton.


  9. One of the best things you can do with young children is read to them so that they'll get hooked on reading early in life. Thanks for sharing this; The House of Power sounds like an incredible book.


  10. Since 3rd graders are really the target audience, I'm going to go with their rating. I'm so glad to hear that some teachers still read to their students. So many don't take the time for it anymore and I know students love it and gain so much from it.


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