Review: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

From the critically acclaimed author of The Book of M, a highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret—one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history.

What is the purpose of a map?

Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field, and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.

But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable, and also exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence… because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.

But why?

To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret, and discover the true power that lies in maps…

Perfect for fans of Joe Hill and V.E. Schwab, The Cartographers is an ode to art and science, history and magic—a spectacularly imaginative, modern story about an ancient craft and places still undiscovered.

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd. Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, Nancy Woo, Karen Chilton, Ron Butler, Neil Hellegers, Jason Culp, and Brittany Pressley. Published by Harper Audio, March 2022. Run time of 15 hours.

You know… sometimes you read a book and when you are all done, you just have no idea how to review it? :/ That’s exactly how I felt after I finished The Cartographers. I just don’t know…..

The mysteries of the map and the cartographers group IS pretty interesting. It is a great hook that made me want to know more. I wanted to know what all the hubbub was about? The phantom town / locations is such a fun little twist, too! What a cool idea!

I also found the mystery about the father (and the mother) also pretty interesting. It was nice meeting all of the old friends of the father as the main character tried to figure out about her mom, her dad, and the map. I enjoyed seeing the group of friends in the flashback chapters. Having each of the friends voiced by a different narrator is a very nice touch. Really brought those characters to life.

As fascinating as all the mysteries are, towards the end of the book my interest began to wane. A LOT. D: By the 80% mark, I just…. kinda didn’t care how it was going to end anymore. D: I feel horrible saying that!! And I’m really not sure why I felt that way….? It is hard to put my finger on it.

Was the story too long? Was there too little action? Was the bad guy too predictable? Did I just not get what all the fuss was over? Did it feel like nothing was really happening and it left me feeling bored and / or MEH? All of the above?? No clue! But, but the end of the book, I just felt like WTFever, let’s just END it already! 😐 Yikes. I didn’t even end up finishing… I had about an hour left of the audiobook and I just DNF’d it. Didn’t care anymore….

So. Yeah. That was The Cartographers. I guess I just don’t get it? Am I too use to horror / sci-fi / action that I just couldn’t appreciate a slower, less action plot? I mean… I didn’t totally hate it… there were some good parts in this novel… I really wanted to like it too! 😦 Maybe this just wasn’t a good book fit for me? I’d like to read the author again, but I’m honestly feeling a little wary after this one. D: