The Glass Sentence: Mapmakers Book One
S. E. Grove
Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group, 2014
The time is 1891 – or at least that what people think it is. Some one hundred years prior the Great Disruption occurred which threw the whole world into different ‘ages’, That meant that in what was formerly known as the United States, now known as New Occident, exists in the ‘present’ (a relative term, here), Northern Europe was thrown into an unknown age, Northern Africa is under the rule of Pharaohs, Malaysia is in the future 40th age and Canada is in the Ice Age. Because the world is all discombobulated (my word), explorers set out at their own peril and mapmakers are a mixture of artist, magician and scientist. Maps are no longer simply made of paper; there are glass, metal and clay maps that can reveal the memories of the people who lived in a set time and place.
· Sophia Tims, 13-year-old girl who is being raised by her mapmaker uncle, Shadrack Elli, because her parents set off exploring when she was very young and never returned. Shadrack is kidnapped and Sophia is off on a journey across a land she has only read about to find her only family
· Theo Thackary, 15-year-old boy who was ‘captured’ [kidnapped] by an unscrupulous circus sideshow in the wild Baldlands (formerly the Western Territories of the U.S.) and shown as a savage in a cage. He escapes the sideshow and ends up with Sophia looking for her uncle.
· Shadrack Elli, Sophia’s very talented cartographer, perhaps the best in the world as his maps are legendary
· Blanca, mysterious veiled woman who kidnaps Shadrack, she claims to be from a future age, what does she want and how far will she go to get it?
· Calixta, flamboyant pirate who helps Sophia and Theo escape the Sandman (Nihilismists)-henchmen of Blanca, her main concern is always to ‘protect her hat!’
· Burr, Calixta’s pirate twin brother, equally flamboyant
· Veressa, old friend of Shadrack and fellow mapmaker; she has the Mark of the Vine – she has thorns growing out of her shoulders. Since the Great Disruption some people are born with the Mark of the Vine (various types of plant material growing from their bodies) and some are born with the Mark of Iron – metal bones and such. Where Veressa lives with her father in Nochtland (which is in the area formerly known as Mexico) the Mark of Iron is forbidden and the Mark of the Vine is revered.
· The Lachrima – odd souls who through the Great Disruption lost their memories and walk the earth keening and wailing their grief until they fade away.
This is a very original book – at least for me. It was confusing in many areas with all the talk of different ages (era’s of the world) and how they mixed in some areas and settled in others. Time, in this book, is certainly not linear in the way we know it. The main plot line is a bit convoluted in areas and as I’ve said, I had some minor trouble following it. Maybe I just missed the bit somewhere in the beginning that said maps are magic and science combined, not just pieces of paper with lines drawn on it. There’s a lot of talk of maps and map making and I got somewhat confused here as well.
If think for me to really enjoy the book I will have to read it a second time, which I may do at some point (Life is really too short to read an okay book twice!). There is a second book at the library that I am currently on the hold list for – the first book ends with a definite cliffhanger (I hate that!). If I enjoy the second book in the series then I will go back and reread the first. Until then, I give it. . .
Rating: 3 paws out of 5 because while the story was original and basically very good, I just got confused and overwhelmed with explanations in too many places to really enjoy it.
We read this book as a part of the Summer Reading Challenge, as a bonus book!