A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
- Author: S. E. Grove
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Pirates, Science and Nature, Trains
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Viking Juvenile
- Publication date: June 12, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 17
- Number of pages: 512
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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