MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

The Glass Sentence (The Mapmakers Trilogy, #1) 
ISBN: 9780670785025
Goodreads Synopsis:
She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.

Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods.  Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.

Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.

The Glass Sentence plunges readers into a time and place they will not want to leave, and introduces them to a heroine and hero they will take to their hearts. It is a remarkable debut.

MrsK's Review:
As a Librarian there is so much about this book that cried out to me.  Obviously the title yelled, "Choose me!"  The cover's compass connected to my adventurous nature... "Awww..." a journey is promised.  Sophia's family history of explorers and cartologers enticed the historian to want to open the cover and begin traveling back in time.  Add the heart-tugging relationship with an uncle named Shadrack... well I must say I was hooked before my journey turned the first page.

You will meet Lizzie as she is suspended in the air... it was a warm day in which Lizzie has meet her friends and was in the middle of a cannon ball into the Boston stream... which as it turns out is the exact moment that the world changed for everyone... the date, well it was July 16, 1799.
"It became apparent that in one terrible moment, the various parts of the world had come apart...
When the moment passed, the pieces lay scattered...hopelessly separated...
The world as we knew it had been broken, and a new world had taken place. We called it the Great Disruption.
---Elizabeth Elli to her grandson Shadrack, 1860"

When you meet Sophia, she is awaiting her uncle's speech before Parliament.  On this day, June 14, 1891... the Patriot Plan to close the borders of New Occident.  You can imagine the chaos that erupts once the decision was read.  Sophia becomes separated from her uncle Shadrack (who by the way spoke against the Patriot Plan) and must navigate her way home. While she is on the transit home, it is revealed to us that Sohpia has a personal challenge... she suffers from a lack of an internal clock. Can you imagine not having an internal clock?  You wouldn't know how to read the shadows of your day, you couldn't navigate if it was the evening of one day from another, and your mind would experience a second as a month or even a year.  Just imagine how lost you would get within a conversation!

From that day forward, Sophia learns from her uncle how to read maps.  Sounds like a skill most of us have learned... yet, Sophia learns how to read clay, metal, glass, and cloth maps.  Maps in which she must navigate the encrypted cartography. When her uncle is kidnapped, Sophia gains an enslaved helper by the name of Theo. Together they have so many challenges... her uncle leaves her a glass map and a message "go to Veressa... and take my atlas."  Not only will Theo and Sophia face being hunted, uncle Shadrack will be fighting to keep his memories from being stolen and enclosed as a mind map.

Given that this reviewing opportunity was an eBook, I was completely frustrated that I couldn't get my hands on it.  The story plot is so well crafted with differing paths that you must navigate it by returning to previous spots of disclosure.  Each of the characters are defined with a depth that allows you to "know" them as friends or relatives that you are keeping in touch with.  Sophia's character is unfolding and maturing with every challenge, so she is not fully developed (there will be more quests in the future). Knowing that Sophia suffered from an inner clock deficiency, I was intrigued that the author's foresight about dating and time stamping the chapters would be so illuminating to the reader.  It has been quite a while since a book with such depth, enticing journeys, and intriguing problems has been crafted for an audience (Eragon comes to mind).

The Glass Sentence is a journey... not meant for quick page turning... and yet... worthy of the time travel...
Enjoy, MrsK  

Enjoyable read... An excellent adventure... a must for every classroom and library shelf!

"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."
 Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
A remarkable historical adventure -- imagine an American version of Philip Pullman, with a heroine worthy of Louisa May Alcott! - See more at:

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