Book Review

Map of Shadows (Mapwalker #1) by J.F. Penn


A map of skin etched in blood.
A world under threat from the Borderlands.
A young woman who must risk the shadows to save her family.

When her Grandfather is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Sienna Farren inherits his map shop in the ancient city of Bath, England. Once there, she discovers that her family is bound up with the Ministry of Maps, a mysterious agency who maintain the borders between this world and the Uncharted.

When I received this book, I was excited to read this. I was absorbed in this world and read this book in 2 days. I rarely read a book that quickly, but I could not put it down, plus it was a shorter book than I am used to, which was a little sad for me, because I wanted more. The first few chapters are the usual slow introductions, which I am okay with am prefer, then picks up as it should.

What I loved about this story, was the concept of ancient cities lost in our world, is over in the borderlands. When more land comes over, it pushes the other land out. The borderlands change and everything disappears completely at a certain time. I do not know why, but I had to chuckle as it reminded me of the lost and found concept of Halloweentown 2. Everything in the mortal world and Halloweentown ends up a Gort’s home, but anything that gets lost in Gort’s house disappears forever. I believe this concept held my interest and understanding. The borderlands and earth side were interesting for me. For myself, the borderlands remind me of the evil and cruelty our world has but is sometimes overlooked by our everyday lives. Earth side would be like our peaceful lives, but either ignorant or choosing to ignore the evil the world has. 

Sienna is who we follow. She receives a map shop with a flat on top from her recently deceased grandfather. Her character development was excellent for how short this story is. I believe if we would have gotten any more, the character herself would have been too cloudy. Sometimes, given the story, less is better. Knowing this was a trilogy, the development did not bother me. 

There is one think I am still not sure if I liked, but I know stuff like this happens in the read world. I do not know if I liked how quickly the romance developed between Sienna and Finn happened, but I think it worked for the story and it was not over the top. Sienna was an interesting character. The mapwalkers threw her in this world unknown to her and she took it how I could see some people take it. She felt like a real character.

The rest of the mapwalker team are interesting characters. Each one brought a different magical element to this story. You have Perry who has fire, Mila (who ends up being my favorite) is water, and one whose illustrations came to like. I loved these concepts. Each character reflected the power they have received. The struggle each one has when they overused their powers and have the result of a druggy was a neat concept. 

I enjoyed this book. There are so many interesting elements lining up in this story. It threw me into a world where there is another world besides our own and yet similar. How there are consequences of using your gifts, even if they are for good. How once you use it, the gift becomes like a drug. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes fantasy.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

I give this book a 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You can purchase this book here!

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