on Oct. 17, 2011 :
Echo what the other reviewers have said - a fun book with a broad historical scope, shot through with a neat kind of magic. This is the second Cartos book of Abrahamson's I've read. Other one was Afterburn - same magic system but contemporary adult. It's a magic universe she obviously plans to explore fully and that should make us all very happy.
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
on Oct. 15, 2011 :
I can't top these reviews, but wish to add my compliments to the author for a unique story that includes history, romance, adventure, and magic. What's not to like?
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
Knights Hill Publishing
on Sep. 27, 2011 :
The Cartographer's Daughter hinges on a real humdinger of a magic system. Without giving away too much, the novel is set in 15th-century Portugal. Yes, the Age of Exploration; the era when Portuguese navigators were about to redraw all the maps, starting with the west coast of Africa. By weaving at least two real historical figures (Henry the Navigator and one of his celebrated captains, Gil Eannes) into her tale, Abrahamson masterfully blends real events and fantasy into a worthy entry in the "secret history" genre.
The evocation of Renaissance Portugal does not always ring quite true, with certain familiar 21st-century tropes intruding -- our heroine, teenager Lianna, can be depressingly feisty at times ("No, Uncle, I will NOT marry the rich and eligible bachelor you've chosen for me, so there!"), and the Evil Repressive Catholic Church (TM) is wheeled out to provide motivation for the bad guy (a Christian, of course) -- but to Abrahamson's credit, these cliches are never allowed to take over the narrative. Agile, exuberant prose keeps the story moving fast, and the central plot of young love thwarted feels fresh and sweet from beginning to end.
While this reviewer would have preferred to see more magic and less teenage angst, The Cartographer's Daughter is a satisfying read even for curmudgeons, and ought to be pure catnip for the YA audience. Recommended.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
Gerald M. Weinberg
on Sep. 26, 2011 :
Here's a recipe for a novel I simply loved:
1. Start with a unique and powerful idea: instead of making maps to follow the changes in the way the world is, the cartographers in this sensitive novel reverse the process. They change the world by making new maps of the way it will be.
2. Add a title character who is beautiful, intelligent, and caring—but young and inexperienced, without any real understanding of the cartographic powers born into her.
3. Mix thoroughly with her ambitious young fisherman boyfriend, against the status-striving wishes of her wealthy but cowardly uncle-guardian.
4. Add an explosive combination of arrogant bastard prince and humble outcast alchemist.
5. Place all these ingredients in the richly drawn crucible of Lagos, Portugal, in the Year of our Lord 1432.
6. Season with a dangerous voyage of exploration, and illiterate angry crowd of peasants, a crusade, a plague, and power that redraws the map of the world and remakes the world to fit the map.
7. Finally serve up with lush but accurate prose, to make an unforgettable literary meal, so delicious I couldn't leave the table until I had savored every bite.
In short, I believe you will cherish and remember this scrumptious book.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)