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Book Review: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd (ARC)

"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.

But why?

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."

Pages: 400


I received The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd for free by the lovely Alainna at Orion Books in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour. Thank you so much for having me on the tour!

I always love it when there are maps at the start of a book so when I saw that this book was all about maps and cartography I immediately wanted to read it! I was drawn in instantly from the blurb, the premise is fantastic and this is the exact kind of book that I would pick up in the bookstore and buy with no hesitation!

Our protagonist is Nell and we join her when she gets a call that her father, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years, has died. In his office she finds the mysterious and seemingly worthless map that they had argued about and from there she is set on a journey to uncover a whole world of secrets.

This story definitely had some dark academia vibes that I absolutely LOVED! This map that the story is centred around is shrouded in secrecy, mystery and even mysticality. It was well paced and engaging all throughout, I was completely hooked. I also really enjoyed the flashbacks and piecing together this puzzle alongside Nell.

One of the things I love most about this book is that is has definitely sparked something in me. I’ve finished it wanting to learn more about cartography and the intricacies of map making. I loved learning about all of these little secrets that maps can have and I want to go down the rabbit hole and learn even more!

The Cartographers is beautifully written, intelligent and rich in detail. A story that showcases love, obsession and brilliant mystery! I loved it!

Make sure to check out all of the fantastic bloggers also on this tour!

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