The Glass Sentence: The Mapmakers Trilogy, Book 1

Dense, complex map tale a treat for seasoned fantasy fans.

What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

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 THE GLASS SENTENCE 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.

Families can talk 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

Author:S. E. Grove
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, Great girl role models, Pirates, Science and nature, Trains
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Viking Juvenile
Publication date:June 12, 2014
Number of pages:512
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 17
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of The Glass Sentence: The Mapmakers Trilogy, Book 1 was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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