It's the first day of summer* and Benjamin's looking forward to two months away from school. Instead, he witnesses his mom disappear into a painting, finds a man talking to him in a mirror and gets invited to summer school on another planet.
Once he arrives to the planet (Lemuria), things just get even more complicated. Within the first week, he discovers that he's not human (he's a telegen) and also, well, he's been chosen to save the world. (No pressure, right?). He has to find three keys and he has only eight weeks to do it. Lucky for him, he has the help of his friends, the Alliance. And, unluckily, there's also someone out to stop him....
PJ Hoover's fabulous worldbuilding is both innovative and realistic. Telegens are a race that existed before humans, a race that is both intellectually and physically superior. All the telegens in the book have special skills. For example, Benjamin can levitate objects. A friend of his is extraordinarily good at reading minds. Telegens live on two planets, which would be better called continents, Lemuria and Atlantis. When the human race appeared, the telegens sunk Lemuria and put up a shield. Telegens on Atlantis decided to mix with humans, eventually trying to control the human race. So, the Lemurian telegens put a shield around Atlantis and (you guessed it) sunk it to the bottom of the ocean. Additions of characters like the Nogical (a really tiny telegen), Jack, helped add to the believability of the story.
I think PJ Hoover really nailed the voice of a 13-year old boy. Benjamin is confident and a bit rude but also a little unsure. As well, the family interactions at the beginning rang true and were also rather funny. On the other hand, the other characters in the novel tended to be a bit bland and stereotypical with the exception of the Nogical, Jack, who was probably my favourite character.
And, of course, all books are better with a little bit of humour. And, The Emerald Tablet is quite funny. For example (this is a scene at the beginning. Just as Benjamin is leaving for summer school, his younger twin brothers give him a present):
"It's a car," Derrick blurted out before Benjamin could open it.
"You're not supposed to tell him," Douglas said. "Now, it's not a surprise."
"It's still a surprise," Benjamin replied. "I don't know which car it is."
"It's our favourite black police car," Derrick told Benjamin.
Although the characterization tended to be lacking, the Emerald Tablet made up for it by being fast paced and exciting. This is a story sure to please anyone looking for an adventure.
*I wish it was actually the first day of summer.