Review: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

Author: Peng Shepherd
Publisher: William Morrow
Released: March 15, 2022
Received: Own (BOTM)

4 1/2 kitties

If you haven’t heard about The Cartographers yet, please take a minute to sit down and look it up! I immediately fell in love with Peng Shepherd’s book, as it is SO different from what I usually read. Best of all, it blends mystery with fantasy, providing the best of both worlds.

Nell Young has spent her entire life obsessed with cartography – the study and creation of maps. She inherited this passion from her parents, who are cartographers in their own rights. More than that – her father, Dr. Young, is one of the most renowned cartographers in the area.

This makes his betrayal all the more painful. Cast out from the life she loves, Nell has found a way to live on the wayside by reproducing maps for collectors. Only, she’s about to get pulled back into her passion, but not in the way she had hoped. Her father has suddenly died, which opens new danger and the promise of answers.

“We were going to breathe passion and life back into cartography and make it something no one had ever seen before.”

Oh wow. I want to give an award to The Cartographers, as this has got to be the most interesting, compelling, and unique novel I’ve read all year (possibly ever). Cartography meets magic, creating a thrilling world – one with a murder mystery to solve.

As somebody who has always been fascinated by cartographers in general, this story immediately sucked me in. Throwing in the emotional backstory of Nell’s past and the magical side of cartography, it was inevitable that I would fall for this book.

I’m sure experts would have a lot to say about this book – good or bad, I couldn’t say. I can only speak to my take on the matter – exploring concepts such as phantom settlements was fascinating, as was (this book’s) reason behind it all. This created the perfect little loophole from which the rest of the story stems.

The characters play a considerable part in the success of The Cartographers, as far as I’m concerned. Nell is but one perspective in this tale, though I would consider her to be the main one. Every other perspective has a lot to add to this story, creating something that twists and winds until we finally reach the truth behind it all.

Honestly, I would give just about anything to see a sequel for The Cartographers. I don’t know how likely that is (the ending is ambiguous), but I’d buy that book in a second, given even half the chance.

“If there was anything more tragic than the disgraceful demise of Nell’s career, it had been the untimely end to her mother’s: Dr. Tamara Jasper-Young.”

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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