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The Glass Sentence (The Mapmakers Trilogy)

Review

The Glass Sentence (The Mapmakers Trilogy)

Sophia Tims and her Uncle Shadrack, the famous mapmaker, live in a world that's been fractured by time. The Great Disruption threw the continents into different Ages; from the pharaohs in Egypt to prehistoric glaciers in the north to New Occident --- Sophia's home --- which occupies the east coast of the United States in the late 19th century. When her uncle is kidnapped, Sophia and Theo, a boy from the Baldlands just outside of New Occident, team up to try and save Shadrack from the creepy, grappling, hook-wielding henchmen who've taken him to a nefarious and powerful woman named Blanca.

They journey through New Occident and into the Baldlands, where numerous Ages from the past and future butt up against each other. Along the way, the two meet friendly pirates, raiders with metal teeth and academics from the garden-covered city of Nochtland, and they uncover Blanca's plot to alter the world and return it to one single Age. Sophia and her new friends must work together to decode a riddle hidden in a series of maps to save the world as they know it from turning into an Age covered with glaciers.

I wanted to enroll in the cartological academy in Nochtland and help Shadrack and Sophia create new maps and join in their adventures.

It's hard to find the words to describe the world found in THE GLASS SENTENCE. It has been a long time since I've read a book with such wholly original and imaginative world building. The various Ages are beautifully described, and the Baldlands in particular are fascinating to read about; since so many Ages occupy the Baldlands, its culture is influenced by everything from 19th century Mexico to the West Indies to ancient Mexican civilizations to unknown future civilizations, and still others. This mishmash of cultures sounds like it might be confusing, but instead creates a beautiful and fascinating empire with customs and prejudices that feel entirely real. I was engrossed with every detail and anecdote about the Ages, and the more I learned, the more time I wanted to spend in this incredible world.

Cartology --- a system of mapmaking where maps can be built on glass, cloth, water and even onions --- is ingenious. Each type of map contains different types of information, such as topography, memories and even knowledge of the future.  I wanted to know more and more about the study of cartology. I wanted to enroll in the cartological academy in Nochtland and help Shadrack and Sophia create new maps and join in their adventures. It is such an original idea and adds a lot to the overarching story.

On top of building a fabulous and original world, S. E. Grove manages to tell a captivating story with unforgettable characters. Sophia is easy to root for and has the interesting quirk of being unattached to time; she loses track of time and can watch whole hours pass by in the blink of an eye, which comes in handy down the road. Theo is crafty, shifty and charismatic, while the polite pirates are a fun departure from the fearsome pirate caricature. Though the story starts slow in New Occident, as soon as Sophia and Theo leave New Orleans and begin to sail the waters to the Baldlands, the story picks up and never slows down. With a thrilling final few sequences that tie almost every detail together, it's hard to put down.

I am so glad this is only the first book in a planned trilogy, because there are limitless stories that could be told in this world and I am desperate to read more!

Reviewed by Rebecca Czochor on June 11, 2014

The Glass Sentence (The Mapmakers Trilogy)
by S. E. Grove

  • Publication Date: June 12, 2014
  • Genres: Adventure, Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • ISBN-10: 0670785024
  • ISBN-13: 9780670785025