Book Review: Emerald Bound by Teresa Richards

Maggie and her friends attempt to spy on a boy from school one night during a game of Truth-or-Dare, but it goes horribly wrong when they caught and swept into the evils of the Parker family and a magical emerald. When Maggie's friend Kate disappears, she'll do anything to get her back, including believing in magic, stealing a gem, and trusting her two newfound allies, Lindy and Garon as they all attempt to break a curse.

Title: Emerald Bound
Pages: 254
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

Honestly I just feel kind of apathetic toward this book. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it either.

There were a few minor things that mildly annoyed me, like the way Maggie kept thinking, “SAT word!” anytime she used a big word; I know she and her friends were studying for the SATs at the beginning, but she wouldn’t be thinking about SAT words while in danger. And the strange, proper way she talked while impersonating her friends’ mothers on the phone, as if that’s how adults talk. And the instalove (though she at least wasn’t talking about dying for him or anything that extreme).

I was also bothered by the way magic and fate seemed to play a large part in a rather deus ex machina way.

My biggest issue though was that there were a lot of things that just didn’t make sense. What exactly did the emerald do? Like, how were the Parkers using it to gain power? It did give them lots of gems, so I suppose it was helping them financially, but that’s another thing, the description Garon gave of how the emerald worked (he gave the example that feeding the gem a pine needle created a bunch of trees) didn’t at all match what the gem was doing in the present, which was *SPOILER ALERT* taking the life essence of girls and somehow using that to turn rocks into gems. *END SPOILER ALERT* Another thing, why would the Parkers all die at the end of the 400 years? The way the 400-year life extension was explained, I figured they would just go back to aging at the end of the 400 years. Not to mention the fact that it lasted 400 years seemed really random. Yet another thing, *SPOILER ALERT* I understand that they were able to undo the bindings that were made, but that doesn’t explain how they all traveled back in time all the way to before the Parkers even got the emerald, or why Lindy and Garon and Maggie still remembered when no one else did (having royal blood is the only possible explanation I can think of for that). I also had an issue with the whole changing history/time travel thing in general. I mean, if they changed history so that Lindy was never taken by the Parkers, then that means Garon never left to help her and never found O and never learned to time travel in the first place. Which means he wouldn’t have been able to go to the future and be with Lindy. Not to mention the entire present would probably be different—Maggie and her friends probably wouldn’t even exist if so much history was changed. *END SPOILER ALERT*

The one thing I liked, however, was that it was actually realistic that Maggie pretty much had no clue what to do and floundered and needed other people to help her and do most everything for her. For example, if any teenager (or any adult even) in real life were told they needed to steal something from a museum, would they be able to do it? No, of course not, so I was glad Maggie wasn’t able to either. My favorite scene was actually when she tried to break into the museum because that is exactly what I imagine would happen if someone tried to break in with a screwdriver and an internet printout on lock-picking. Same goes for Lindy and how she wasn’t sure what to do about the binding.

Oh, the other thing I liked was that it was kind of a Princess and the Pea retelling. I’d never seen that before! I say kind of though because, in the world of the book, it was Lindy and her past that the story was inspired by (it just got altered over time).

So overall, I just never felt all that invested in the characters or the story and didn’t like all the things that didn’t add up, but the writing itself wasn’t bad, so others may enjoy it more.


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  1. Greg

    Hmm. I like the cover? lol the idea of an enchanted gem that does that is kinda cool, but yeah sounds like it wasn’t totally thought out or explained, and the time travel stuff too… we know what a minefield that can be. 🙂 Sounds like it definitely was here. But at least it had the realism.

    I don’t think I even know the Princess and the Pea… I mean I’ve heard of it bit must not have ever read it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, you know how twitchy I get about time travel lol. In my defense, I had no clue there would be any time travel aspect. But I was definitely cracking up when she tried to pick the lock because she managed to cut her hand and everything, and I swear that would be me.

      The Princess and the Pea story is literally like a paragraph long lol. It’s like, a prince was trying to find a princess or something, and then one day a girl showed up asking for a place to stay and saying she was a princess, so they put a pea under her mattresses to test her, and she felt it, so that meant she was a princess. The end.

  2. sjhigbee

    Oh what a shame! I often feel the books that don’t inspire any particular passion – not even a real spark of dislike – are the most disappointing… I hope you next read is a lot more satisfying, Kristen. Have a great week-end.

  3. Lola

    It’s a shame when you have a book like this where you don’t really care about the characters or what happens as much. But it does still sound like it was a decent read. I had to read your spoiler and I strongly dislike time travel for that reason, it just doesn’t make sense. So I rarely pick up books with time travel in them, it just rubs me wrong. I have read a historical time travel romance one time that was okay as it wasn’t really about the time travel.

    And that does sound annoying how the magic doesn’t quite make sense. I am not a big fan of fate and destiny playing a big role in books, although it can be done well at times too.
    Her lack of knowledge and how she floundered at times does sound very realistic. It would make sense a teenager would have no idea how to do those things.

    I would like to see more Mulan retellings as that was always one of my favorite Disney movies and I like the girl disguising as a boy trope. But overall I think it’s fun to see more retelling of different stories as for a while it seemed only a few stories got retold and nowadays i see more variety in retellings. I just got a Lady and the Tramp sci-fi retelling for review. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen a retelling of that.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it wasn’t like I had to slog through it, but I just didn’t really care about the outcome all that much. I also dislike time travel, but, in my defense, I didn’t know there would be any time travel aspect to the book. I mean, the time travel really only happened at the end, but it still annoyed me.

      I also don’t like fate/destiny playing a big role in books which was why a lot of the stuff just felt kinda deus ex machina or not very well explained.

      I did appreciate the characters’ lack of knowing what to do though.

      Huh, yeah, I’ve never seen a Mulan retelling. But seriously, it’s always the same stories retold over and over, so I would definitely like some different ones. That was why I was so drawn to this book. Lady and the Tramp, I’ve never seen a retelling for that either! Sounds fun 🙂

  4. chucklesthescot

    The words ‘retelling’ and ‘instaluv’ were too much and my brain exploded! Not my kind of book but nice review! I know the fairy tale of the Princess and the Pea. I used to have the small hardback book about it and she was sleeping on top of such a massive pile of mattresses that they needed a huge ladder to get her up to the bed to sleep in it. It was a favourite as a kid for me!

  5. Danya @ Fine Print

    Oh no, deus ex machina! That’s a phrase that immediately makes me wary of a book, haha. I do really like the sound of the attempted museum break-in though, I bet it was a ton of fun to read about. Princess and the Pea isn’t my favourite, but I can get excited about pretty much any retelling!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I’m not a fan of deus ex machina either. But yes, I loved the museum break-in attempt because I feel like that would be exactly what would happen to me if I were to try that, haha. She even managed to slice her hand open, and I swear I somehow manage to get hurt doing almost everything lol.

  6. Bookworm Brandee

    Well, I have to say the whole SAT word totally turns me off. So that the world building, at least in regards to the Emerald and the Parkers, wasn’t so well done doesn’t leave me with a good feeling. I do like that Maggie was realistically portrayed at least. And the sort of The Princess and the Pea retelling is intriguing. But I’m thinking this is one I’ll pass on.

    1. Kristen Burns

      The SAT thing wasn’t a big deal, but it was just kind of irritating. And yeah, I just don’t like when things don’t seem to add up or make sense. But I did like Maggie’s realism and the unique retelling. Totally understand your decision to pass.