Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Cartographer's Daughter by Kiran Millwood Hargrove - OPTIONAL


Hargrove, Kiran Millwood The Cartographer’s Daughter. 218 pgs. Alfred A Knopf 2016. $16.99. Language: G (1 swear 0 ‘f’) Mature Content: G; Violence: PG13 (Attacks, injuries, dangerous situations, deaths)  

Isabella lives on an island with her father, who is a mapmaker.  The island is ruled by a powerful Governor who has forbidden access to a large portion of the island and banished some of the inhabitants there.  But when a schoolmate of Isabella’s is killed and the governor’s daughter Luna - who happens to be Isabella’s best friend- ventures into the forbidden area to search for the killer herself, Isabella (disguised as her dead brother) hires on with a Governor’s search party as a cartographer and joins the search for Lupe and maybe a killer-or killers or even a beast. The beasts are these wild dogs that are the minions of Yote, a sort of fire god bent on taking the island for himself. Can Isabella save the island, and end Yote's terrible reign forever?  

This was so predictable! The myths woven into the plot were obviously foreshadowing so the story wasn't very exciting or all that engaging.  The fantasy world it was set in was vague - I get that it's an alternate Earth, places like Aeygpt,  Amrica,  Europa, and Chine but not India,  but other than to establish places geographically for the reader, it's so unnecessary. A map of the island or one her father made would have been helpful and appreciated.   The cover illustration doesn't match the story - Isabelle disguises herself as a boy and cuts her hair short at the beginning of the book, so it was irritating to see that giant braid on both the front and back cover. There is a hint of romance but there is no purpose other than to have her uncomfortable about holding onto the boy she is riding a horse behind.  A short fantasy that seems to stand on its own, but maybe too short to effectively establish its world.  

EL, MS - OPTIONAL  Lisa Librarian

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