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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review: The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

Title: The Glass Sentence (The Mapmaker's Trilogy #1)
Author: S.E. Grove
Publisher: Viking Juvenile/Penguin
Pub. Date: June 12, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade
Rec. Age Level: 10+
Pages: 512
More by this author: The Golden Specific (forthcoming)

Goodreads / Buy It

Sophia Tims is a girl who knows how to take care of herself. She comes from a long line of explorers and, following the Great Disruption of 1799, an event that disrupted the continuity of time, explorers and cartographers live a rather dangerous life. Sophia's parents, two renowned explorers, have been missing for years, leaving Sophia to be raised by her Uncle Shadrack, a noted cartographer. When Shadrack informs Sophia that he believes they might be able to find her parents, Sophia begins training in cartography, a delicate craft that is more wondrous than she ever imagined. Just as she begins her training, Shadrack is kidnapped. In order to save him, Sophia must set out into the turbulent world outside of 1891 Boston, where every day could mean a new age and unknown foes.

It's extremely difficult to write a short teaser for The Glass Sentence. The world S.E. Grove has created in this book is extremely detailed and intricately plotted. The Great Disruption of 1799 is key to understanding the world... In short, instead of history happening in a linear, ordered way, it has been jumbled and randomly rearranged, changing as one travels across the globe. In Sophia's Boston, it's 1891, but a few cities away, it might be 1650 or 1938. This is why explorers and cartographers are so important in this world - the world must be rediscovered and remapped. Animals that have gone extinct reappear, empires that fell from power rise again, the future mixes with the past and the present. 

Cartography is not only limited to paper maps. There are clay, water, and glass maps as well - all of which have specific uses. Clay maps, for example, illustrate the landscape in a given area. If one presses a fingertip to a specific point on the map, they will be given a mental image of the landscape in that specific location. Some maps show weather. Some show people. 

Within this brilliantly imagined world, is Sophia, a girl who has nothing left to lose. The world Grove created might appear complicated, but, Sophia is just beginning to learn the ins and outs of cartography and the dangers of exploration, which gives plenty of natural opportunities for explanation, remedied the possible issue of info-dumps.

The Glass Sentence ended with a cliffhanger, which means I am anxiously awaiting book two, The Golden Specific. Though this is a 'middle grade' novel, I strongly believe it's for all ages; it's one of those novels that truly illustrates that a good book has no age limit.


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