The Glass Sentence: The Mapmakers Trilogy, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Glass Sentence: The Mapmakers Trilogy, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Dense, complex map tale a treat for seasoned fantasy fans.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Since the globe becomes a mix of different time periods, readers can think about what a fractured world would look like and what kind of chaos this would create. How does society continue? And, of course, this series will get readers thinking about maps. Although paper maps and even Google Maps can't compare to the memory maps in this book, why is mapmaking important?

Positive Messages

Explores what it means to feel connected to a time and place, plus the power of memories and our connection to them, asking, what's taken from us when they're gone?

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sophia is a strong character who tries hard to do what's right, even when it's difficult. At first she doesn't trust her friend Theo, who lies and often steals to survive. But, as their friendship grows, he becomes more trustworthy. 


Memories are taken from men by force, leaving them physically scarred and shells of their former selves. When Sophia's Uncle Shadrack is kidnapped, he's threatened with the same fate. Much talk of people mentally tortured by faceless creatures called Lachrima, who haunt victims with incessant, horrible crying. A man goes crazy and mutilates a Lachrima in his house. Some running from enemies who carry grappling hooks and shoot guns; one key character gets shot in the leg. A fire is set in a crowded building where people flee for their lives; there's a mention later that three died and one person was murdered. Sophia's parents disappeared when she was very young and were feared dead. There's talk of an event called the Great Disruption, when time periods around the world fractured and many people died, with talk of another such event bringing about the end times. Mentions of Theo's being orphaned, then kidnapped at knifepoint, then caged in a circus. A story about how one character lost his foot to a hungry creature.


A few hugs and a kiss on the cheek between young teens.


"Damned" and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mention that Sophia's father had smoked a pipe and that Theo was found outside a tavern. The pirates sell rum.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Glass Sentence is the first book in the Mapmakers trilogy. Publishers are marketing this book to ages 10 and up. Although the maturity of the content is about right for the age, this story is pretty complex; readers 12 and up are more likely to stick with it. Violence is about average for an adventure-fantasy. Young teens are chased by scarred baddies with pistols and grappling hooks. One key character is faceless and pretty scary, with talk of how she was mutilated by a madman. Readers will enjoy Sophia, a smart, resourceful girl lead character, as well as the wild concept of memory maps -- way cooler than Google Maps.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCSaulsgiver October 8, 2019

Clever and intriguing!

This is a fabulous, very creative series that holds your attention and stretches your critical thinking skills!
Teen, 13 years old Written byLynnoxxei April 16, 2016

Great ideas, original concepts! Character design top-notch!

This book satiated my thirst for more fantasy fiction when I was hungering for more quite literally. At a loss of good books to read, I stumbled across the book... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLuke Starkiller February 21, 2016

Successfully blends sci-fi and fantasy

This book is not only entertaining but immensely thought-provoking. The author has completely original ideas about maps, and some interesting ideas about time,... Continue reading

What's the story?

Thirteen-year-old Sophia lives with her Uncle Shadrack in Boston in the late 1800s -- at least, it's the late 1800s in that half of the continent. Decades before, an event called the Great Disruption occurred, fracturing the globe into different eras. Little is known of the time periods on some parts of the globe, so an age of exploration is underway -- a dangerous age, it seems. Sophia's parents, both explorers and cartographers, left when she was young and never returned. Uncle Shadrack also is a cartographer and much sought-after for his skill reading maps that emerged from many different eras. He's only just started tutoring Sophia in fantastic creations called memory maps when he disappears, his home ransacked. A boy named Theo who escaped from the circus sees it happen; Shadrack is kidnapped by scarred men with grappling hooks. In the chaos, Sophia finds a note from her uncle telling her to "find Veressa" -- a fellow cartographer in the faraway Baldlands -- along with a strange glass map she can't read...a map that Shadrack's kidnappers are desperate to get their hands on.

Is it any good?

There are authors who build intriguing fantasy worlds that exist mostly to serve the storytelling, and then there are the overachievers; the author of this book is quite the overachiever. She doesn't create one whole new world but many, and she places each part in different eras of time, competing against one another on the same globe. Then she explores it all on curious maps that only reveal the depth of mystery this new fractured-time world holds. 

For younger and less experienced fantasy readers, it would be nearly impossible to navigate this world and the complexities of the story without Sophia, the main character. She's resourceful and talented, and, though so much of the series already seems tied up neatly at the end of the first book, she's sure to be a great heroic character in the books to come.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about maps, real and imagined. What do you look for on maps? If you could leave your memories on a map for anyone to access, would you?

  • What do you think of the Mapmakers series so far? Where do you think it's headed? Will you read the next book? 

  • Sophia doesn't have a sense of time. How can this be dangerous? How can it be helpful? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and adventure

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate