The Golden Specific: The Mapmakers Trilogy, Book 2
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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 Golden Specific is the second book in the Mapmakers Trilogy, following The Glass Sentence. Publishers are marketing this series 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. In search of her parents, the resourceful main character, Sophia, lies to get information and ends up stranded by herself in a foreign land where people are dying of a strange disease. There are many stories of people being rounded up and quarantined before they die, including one of a girl whose mother wanders off before she can infect her daughter. More violence in the story includes a man found dead, another killed with a sword, sea creatures killing men in a shipwreck, giant birds attacking, arson and riots, and people sentenced to walk into a world where they can lose their faces (high creep factor) and get stabbed by poisonous thorns. Readers fully immersed in this world full of fractured time periods can ponder a whole lot of what-ifs: What if the U.S. Civil War never happened or the United States never expanded West?
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What's the Story?
Sophia is back in New Occident -- 1890s Boston -- still determined to find her parents. She's thrilled when she uncovers clues to a diary her mother kept on the journey when she went missing. The only problem: The library where she found the lead is run by the fanatical cult, and the library where the diary is kept is across the ocean in Spain, which is stuck in an earlier time period and ravaged by a strange disease. Still, she's determined to book passage across the Atlantic and finds an easy way onto a ship departing the next day. When she can't convince her Uncle Shadrack to accompany her, she and her friend Theo make plans to meet on the ship and escape in secret. But disaster strikes at Uncle Shadrack's house before Theo can sneak off: The prime minister is found dead in the map room, and Theo hides himself and the clearly forged evidence of Uncle Shaddrack's guilt in the closet while he waits for the authorities to leave. Sadly, Sophia's ship leaves before the police do and Sophia sets off alone.
Is It Any Good?
In this sequel, Sophia's lone journey across the ocean to a distant time with a mysterious magical world trapped inside is just one of the intriguing mysteries packed in its 500-plus pages. There's also the murder of the New Occident prime minister in Uncle Shadrack's house, the disappearance of healers called the Eerie, the discovery of a book on a ship written in the future, and so much more.
Author S.E. Grove loves to stack up the mysteries and does a better job in THE GOLDEN SPECIFIC than she did in The Glass Sentence, balancing mystery with almost enough clues to lead the reader along. But still expect some head-scratching over how everything fits together. This sequel is a treat for fans of rich fantasy and will be enjoyed by adults too.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the Nihilismian movement in New Occident. What are they collecting in their libraries? Why? Why do they think it's so important that history happen the same way again?
Which would you rather have: the powers of the Eerie to talk to all of nature or the power of the prime minister of New Occident to shape history?
What map would you find waiting for you in Ausentinia?
- Author: S. E. Grove
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: July 14, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 17
- Number of pages: 528
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
Our Editors Recommend
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Book 1
Unlikely princess turns leader in spiritually tinged tale.
Fast-paced World War I fantasy exciting yet low on violence.
The Dark Is Rising
Classic fantasy is a bit slow, but enthralling.
For kids who love fantasy
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