Book Reviews

Review: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

So I filmed a review for The Cartographers about how obsessed I was before I even finished. That is how much I enjoyed this book. It’s an easy 5 star read not only for its action, but also for the premise. Definitely going to make it into my list of favorite reads this year. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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…


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

First off, if you love mystery thrillers and maps, this has to be on your TBR. I am a huge fan of maps and map puzzles. Hello “National Treasure”! So if those vibes are your thing, this is an automatic endorsement – go pick this one up. Secondly, if you love the idea of an adult mystery with fantasy shading another reason you have to pick up The Cartographers. There’s plenty of character tension and intricacies. While my love of maps is what intentionally drew me to The Cartographers, the character dynamics quickly hooked me.

The death of Nell’s father unravels everything she ever thought she knew. It forces her not only to uncover the secrets of his, and her, past, but also to question her entire drive. There are secrets about maps and gestures we assumed weren’t love, but what about now? Nell falls face first into a series of memories and mistakes she never created. Told with a series of flashbacks, The Cartographers becomes impossible to put down. I loved how The Cartographers is multi-layered and explores each of them.

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It asks us about what the purpose of maps are. Maps that unlock doors and possibilities. About the bonds that tie us to each other. Relationships that twist before us into insecurity and danger. How love and desire, dreams and secrets can tear us apart. The Cartographers utterly captivated me and I would read it all over again. Find The Cartographers on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite fantasy map?

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