The Mapmakers Trilogy

Caitlin McKeand, Staff Reporter

Written by S.E. Grove, The Mapmakers Trilogy is comprised of three books: The Glass Sentence, The Crimson Skew and The Golden Specific. In the books, the reader follows Sophia Tims in Boston, 1891, who is the daughter of a line of explorers and cartologers who have been mapping the New World (and happens to have no sense of time). The New World came to be in the 1799 incident called the Great Disruption in which all the continents were flung into different time periods ranging from the ice ages to unknown future ages. Sophia’s parents had gone missing 8 years ago on a voyage across the sea and she was left in the care of her Uncle Shadrack, one of the most famous cartologers of the New World. When Shadrack is kidnapped, Sophia teams up with Theo, a refugee from the West and “together they travel over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounter pirates and traders, and rely on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and Sophia’s unusual powers of observation,” in order to get him back. But they’re in just as much danger as he is.

The Mapmakers Trilogy will forever be my favorite book series for many reasons. Focusing on the first book, The Glass Sentence, I could go on for hours about it. Despite the fact that the book is officially labeled a “children’s book” most likely due to the ages of the main characters (who are about 13 I believe), I feel that the topics in the book and the plot given is too complex to be given such a label.

The world-building is incredible and the author does a fantastic job of showing you all the different time periods as Sophia and Theo traverse the land and sea, each strikingly different. Granted, most of the era’s the duo visit are from past time periods. However, later in the trilogy a far distant future era is mentioned and hinted that where the past era’s haven’t travelled is where they are. Despite this, each era has an interesting and fulfilling culture and government, people and beliefs. One of the most important part about the world-building is the maps. Maps are incredibly important to the plot (hence the Mapmakers). In the world of Sophia Tims, mapmaking is an art few know, and Sophia has Shadrack to teach her before he is taken. You are introduced to the basic maps: paper, glass, steel, water and sunlight. They later get complicated and include water, wind and other maps. Each map requires a certain way to read it, for some you just need to place your finger on them to “experience” the maps. To explain how to “experience” the maps, each type of map is used for a different purpose. Some maps only show the landscape while some only show people and others, landmarks. Every map is made based on memories, which are placed into the map, therefore when you touch the map, you see the mapmakers memories. Placing multiple maps on top of each other can give you the full picture. Complicated, I know.

Other than the world-building, my absolute favorite part of this trilogy is the platonic relationship between Sophia and Theo. When you have a male and female in a book just kinda being there together, the chances are way higher than I’d like that they’re gonna end up together romantically. However, this book did not disappoint even through the end of the third book. Compared to a previous story I had read where the male and female were friends the whole time, and then out of nowhere were suddenly romantically interested in each other, Sophia and Theo stayed just friends! Whoop whoop! This is rare and I love it when it does happen because not only did they stay friends, but you could see the character development between the two throughout the series. They start off cautious of each other and over time they become inseparable. They literally become my #friendshipgoals, and yes I say that un-ironically because I mean it.

I absolutely recommend reading the series, and if you choose to do so, I hope you love it as much as I do.