This is the last book in the Mapmakers Trilogy, a middle grade fantasy about a world where time was disrupted all over the planet and each geographical region now corresponds to a different age of human history. For example: New England is stuck in the late 1800’s, and South America is in a mysterious glacial age far in a future that is unknown to us.
While the style of writing remains pleasantly fluid, and the characters are all virtuous people, for the last book in a trilogy, this didn’t blow me away, and by the last third of the book, I wasn’t interested anymore.
Even though Sophia (the main character) is highly motivated and intelligent, every step of her quest is literally spelled out for her, either by the maps, or by the people around her. She seemed more of a reactionary character, rather than one who pulls the plot forward with her actions; and even if she did, conflicts just seemed to resolve themselves just at the most opportune moment. The previous two books didn’t have so much of this, and their plots seemed much more pressing and intriguing.
In this book, she’s just following a map that she received in book 2, plus an additional one she receives at the start of this one, and neither one of those has any Big Target in the horizon except an ambiguous fortune teller’s advice, which is: “you’ll know what to do”.
The climax, which finally explains the cause of the Disruption, was intellectually ambitious and it is clear that the author put her heart into it as an idealistic way to imagine a better world… but in terms of storytelling it just fell flat for me, I’m sorry, I honestly wish I could have appreciated it more, but I feel like the buildup and world-building just wasn’t there.
Side note: I also feel like there wasn’t enough of an effort to make it absolutely clear to contemporary readers, children especially, that when referring to the indigenous nations of the Americas, the word “Indian” is… not nice. Even though the antagonist is the only one who uses it and it’s clear that he’s evil, it’s still spelled out on the maps at the beginning of the book and I kept waiting for a clarification but there never was one.
I’m still glad I read this series because it’s an interesting world that gives you a lot of food for thought and I would still recommend it, only with the understanding that book 3 just isn’t as exciting as the other two.
Would recommend to: people who want to read the gentler cousin of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.