Author: S.E. Grove
Publisher: Viking Juvenile, 493 pages
Publication Date: June 12, 2014
She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.
Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods. Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.
Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.
A clever and inventive debut novel about a world that was fractured into different time periods ninety years before. You may cross a border and be a thousand years into the past. Exploring is extremely dangerous and people are slowly starting to figure out what the world looks like now, with cartologers being very important. But it's not just traditional maps that exist, but also maps that you can experience. A weather map where you can actually feel the weather. And memory maps where it's as if you are there, living the memory of that person. There's also a myth of the map of the world, where the past, present, and future come together and perhaps it can be used to change the world. Fascinating!
The action starts fairly early when Sophia's uncle is kidnapped and she goes in search of him. Along with her on this journey is Theo, a boy from the West. They have adventures while searching for her uncle, meeting different people (loved the colorful cast of secondary characters) and pursued by some pretty scary people. I loved that the villain is not your typical villain, but complex and perhaps not completely a villain.
I sort of wish Sophia was just a bit older so there was some romance in the book, but that's just me (the potential is there for her and Theo and that may be a possibility in the future depending on how much time passes in the next two books). Such a fresh and creative story, amazing and epic world-building. I love these quest/adventure type books and this one was extremely well done. Highly recommend!
Posted by: Pam