9781451688887_p0_v5_s260x420Reviewed by Jax Kepple

Told bizarrely from the second person point of view, The Mapmaker’s War is about a mapmaker, at least for the first part of the story. And it is about a war, for a brief portion. But the rest of the book can’t decide if it’s a medieval action-adventure tale involving magic seers and dragons, a tale of finding oneself and the true purpose of one’s life when faced with innumerable challenges, a love story, a tale of standing up for whats right against evil, or a tale about the horrors of battle. Unfortunately, too many stylistic choices by the author and the lack of climax or resolution make this book uneven and disjointed.

Aoife (pronounced: Effie) is the daughter of the King’s most trusted adviser and displays some aptitude for map making so is allowed, even though it’s against the accepted gender norms of her time, to become a mapmaker and travels all over the kingdom in order to document the borders. The king’s son is in love with her, and does cute things to help with her map making, like building a tower that can see for miles. At first, it seems like this story will be about their love affair, with maybe some sort of medieval quest thrown in. However, the story takes a turn when Aoife crosses a river border and discovers The Guardians, a group of advanced people living in peace in a village filled with riches. After this happens, suddenly characters are turning against Aoife, resulting in her living the rest of her life with The Guardians and, I guess, finding peace? I was unsure if she ever didn’t have peace because it seemed like she was able to do what she loved and did what she wanted even if she knew it would cause trouble. Her life with The Guardians takes up the last half of the book and she leads a quiet life there with little issues.

The choice to tell the story from the second person point of view was incredibly distracting. I suppose it was due to the author wanting the reader to feel connected to Aoife, but her actions made it hard to relate. It sort of appeared that she was an old woman writing her memoirs, but multiple times throughout the book suddenly the action stopped and the author said to “Tell the truth.” But it wasn’t shocking truths, it was just the inner thoughts of someone who said what she thought in real life. I never felt like she was holding back in her actions regardless. The ending, “tell the heinous truth” wasn’t heinous at all. At other times, weird interjections appeared within a sentence. These choices may have worked if it were just one, but all three made it really hard to get to the point of the book.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Jax is in an accountant at a hedge fund. She resides in NYC with her husband.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by FSB Associates. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.