Sharra’s world is a terrifying place. Violent seismic ‘Shifts’ and outbreaks of an all-consuming black fire radically alter landscapes on an increasingly frequent basis. Only the Map Makers can predict where the Shift will fall, and Sharra, daughter to one of the most famous Map Makers, yearns to join their ranks and break a cultural taboo which forbids female cartographers.Sharra’s father, Lord Milton, is one of the few to challenge the current order, but his shadowy past limits his political reach and his second wife, Lady Ivory, is determined to manipulate him to ensure a privileged future for herself and her daughter, Jayne. The main obstacle standing in Ivory’s way is Sharra. - Goodreads
Title: The Mapmaker’s Daughter
Author: Caroline Dunford
Published: April 17th 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Source: An eARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In The Mapmaker’s Daughter, you are thrown straight into the fantasy world Sharra lives in. I’m not sure if the world has a name but it has two moons so it isn’t Earth. This world has very violent Shifts which the Mapmaker’s predict and makes maps to tell people where is safe. This idea of Maps and Shifts is really imaginative and I loved the originality of the idea and the direction Dunford chose to take with this plotline. Although being thrust straight into this is a bit confusing to start, once you grasp the idea, you are really immersed into this world like any good fantasy book should do. With such an original idea I found it difficult to predict what was going to happen and therefore the ending was pleasantly unpredictable.
Although this is a fantasy book with a different world, it wasn’t filled with pages and pages of historical description of world. This works in cases such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones but it is very tricky making it readable and if it goes wrong then it can ruin a book. I enjoyed how The Mapmaker’s Daughter leapt straight into the story and the action. It made this a very quick and gripping read - I read it in one sitting - as you are eager to know what happens. However, although I enjoyed the quick pace of this book, I think Dunford could have included perhaps more information about the world’s history. Not too much but a little more as although you knew enough about the Shifts to understand them, more historical information typical in fantasy would have given this book the depth which I felt that it lacked.
I enjoyed the variety of characters. There was a real mix of good and evil as well as others who were a mix of both. However, I felt much more description of the characters was needed. You are never told Sharra’s age or appearance. Only that Jayne (her step-sister) is two years older than her. But we are never told Jayne’s age! I pictured Sharra as about 15 years old in this book due to her childish nature but maturity to soon be getting married. However, as we are never told her age, she could be anywhere from 13-18! Her appearance isn’t mentioned either, I simply pictured her as the girl on the cover. I found this particularly strange as certain characters, such as Gareth, through the use of similes I could easily picture in my mind, but many others I simply had to guess. This was a major downfall, in my opinion.
Overall, a very promising book with a wonderfully original plot but would have benefited with more depth in terms of characters and the history of the world it is set in.
Have you read this ebook? What did you think? :)
Read my interview with the author - Caroline Dunford!