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Title: The Cartographers
Author: Peng Shepherd
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Page Count: 397
My rating: 3 stars
About the book:
From the critically acclaimed author of The Book of M, a highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret—one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history
What is the purpose of a map?
Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.
But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence . . . because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.
To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret and discovers the true power that lies in maps . . .
Perfect for fans of Joe Hill and V. E. Schwab, The Cartographers is an ode to art and science, history and magic—a spectacularly imaginative, modern story about an ancient craft and places still undiscovered.
The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd is a mystery that is written using magical realism with the setting being our world but a touch of magic happening. The story in The Cartographers is one that is told by changing the point of view between characters and with some time spent in a past timeline.
Nell Young had followed her parents passion in life studying to become a cartographer. Nell loved that she was able to work with her father with some of the rarest maps in the world until one day they had a falling out over a cheap gas station map.
Now years later Nell gets notice that her father had passed away in his office at the New York Public Library. After all this time Nell finds that her father still had that same map that caused their separation and she finds that it’s actually incredibly valuable which leads her to investigate just why her father still had the map hidden away.
The Cartographers is the first book I’ve read by Peng Shepherd picking up after being drawn in by the lovely cover. I really thought I was going to fall completely in love with this one when I first started reading but I found that to me the pacing was on the slow side which isn’t always my favorite. The bones of the story is actually great, hidden areas on maps, but it also left some questions and gave me some open areas in the story that by the time I finished I was left with the ‘it was alright’ feeling but could’ve been a little better.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Peng was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet, and has lived in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York. Her first novel, THE BOOK OF M, won the 2019 Neukom Institute for Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction, and was chosen as a best book of the year by Amazon, Elle, Refinery29, and The Verge, as well as a best book of the summer by the Today Show and NPR On Point. A graduate of the NYU MFA program, Peng is the recipient of a 2020 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Elizabeth George Foundation’s emerging writers 2016 grant.