Series: Emilie #1
Published by Strange Chemistry on April 2, 2013
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
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While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.
Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.
With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.
Emilie & the Hollow World reminds me a lot of Journey to the Center of the Earth because both books take place, well, in the center of the earth which may as well be an entirely different world! Emilie stows away on a ship while running away from home, and the accusations of her uncle. She’s trying to get to Silk Harbor where her cousin runs a school, but winds up on the wrong ship. The ship she is on is attacked and then it… sinks under the ocean! This ship is travelling through a crack in the bottom of the ocean floor in order to get to the hollow world in the center of the earth.
While there, Emilie learns about herself and about adventure. She turns out to be much braver than she expected and much more observant and brighter than anyone else thought. She rescues people and makes friends who in turn rescue her when needed (though that doesn’t happen very often!).
This was a fast paced book that was full of thrills and strong female characters which is always nice to see in a book intended for a younger crowd. In fact, all the female characters we saw much of in this book were strong and fiercely independent. But the author didn’t make the men weaker to compensate either, which made for a lot of fantastic scenes! I highly recommend this book for the upper middle grade audience, and especially for the girls. We girls don’t have nearly enough strong role models in fiction, but in this book we can find plenty!