Series Review! The Mapmaker Chronicles by A.L. Tait

I really want to highlight this incredible series!

Race to the End of the World
The Mapmaker Chronicles #1
By A.L. Tait
236 pages – ages 9+
Published by Lothian Children’s Books on October 14, 2014

Synopsis from Publisher- “The King is determined to discover what lies beyond the known world, and has promised  handsome prize to the ship’s captain who can bring him a map. To do that, they’ll need mapmakers – and 14-year-old Quinn is shocked to be one of the chosen. While his older brothers long for adventure, Quinn is content with a quiet life on the farm, but when word of his special talent gets out, he has no choice but to pack his bags and join the mismatched crew of slaves and stowaways on board the Libertas.”

What I Thought- Wow. I did not know what to expect with this book, so I was utterly transfixed when it just blew me away. Quinn is utterly fascinating as a character as well – he is affected by hyperthymesia, a neurological condition that causes one to never forget pretty much everything. A pretty handy trait for a person making a map. The world built by Tait is extraordinarily realistic and engaging. Tait creates a somewhat superstitious populace that is satisfied within the confines of their island nation…and draws our main character from this mindset. It’s fascinating to see him react and change with the time he spends on a ship sailing to lands nobody knows of. Quinn is a prime example of a character we can get behind, as he always has a strong moral sense whether he succeeds or not. Tait keeps to the medieval sense throughout the book, keeping everything logical. The story has many twists and turns, making for an engaging read as the book carries on. I would recommend this to fans of adventure and medieval-type settings!

Prisoner of the Black Hawk
The Mapmaker Chronicles #2
By A.L. Tait
240 pages – ages 9+
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on April 6, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “After being betrayed by a fellow scribe, Quinn is captured by ruthless explorer Juan Forden, who will stop at nothing to beat the Verdanians. On board Forden’s ship, the Black Hawk, Quinn struggles to outwit his captors, makes new enemies and unexpected allies, and encounters bloodthirsty pirates.”

What I Thought- Tait has gloriously met the standards set precedent in the first book in the series with this sequel. The characterizations do not drastically change, allowing for character growth, but essentially being the same character. This continuity is a nice comfort, making the transition between the two books seamless. Because the characters are sailing in their world, we see many settings come and go. However, Tait manages to build up the setting for each destination in an overachieving sort of way – the details are full and supportive, yet not overbearing. You get a clear picture of every place the ship stops, and it is exhilarating. The tension continues to build as rivalries increase and time begins to run low. Tait has a definite knack for writing tales that grabs the reader by the heart and doesn’t let go until the very end. To say I am hooked is putting things lightly.

Breath of the Dragon
The Mapmaker Chronicles #3
By A.L. Tait
240 pages – ages 9+
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in September 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “The prize for winning the race around the world is almost within reach. But sometimes the biggest danger can lie close to home.

Quinn, Ash, Zain and the crew of the Libertas are racing against the clock to get back to Verdania before the King’s deadline. Will they make it in time? Will Quinn complete the first map of the whole world? Will Zain bring back enough treasure to satisfy the King? Will they win the race to the end of the world?

Or will their enemies stop them from getting back at all?”

What I Thought- This was a thrilling installment for The Mapmaker Chronicles. Tait brings the first two books successfully together as the race to map the world comes to a close. Yet Tait doesn’t let that mean no more action and dilemmas for our characters! At times, it truly seemed that everything that could go wrong, did – and that was oddly satisfying. The book has its ups and downs, leading to a well-rounded adventure as loose threads were tied up. Quinn starts to encounter personal troubles as well, adding a layer of depth to his personality. There is a lot going on in this book, but it all rounds out to be a fine conclusion, leaving room for another book, but still concluding the adventure of the past few books. I hope to see another book come from this series!

I really liked this entire series. Five out of five bookworms all-around! Yay! 

Categories: Age 9+

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11 replies

  1. Sounds like an exciting series for middle-grade readers!!

  2. These books sound amazing and exciting. Thanks for sharing your reviews, Erik. I want to read these and I’m thinking my grandkids, especially my grandson, will be interested in a few years.

  3. I bought the Kindle version of the first book and told my friend about the series, knowing her grandsons might like them. She’s going to order the series for her grandson’s birthday. It would be neat if you got a cut of the sales! Haha!

  4. Thank you so much for your wonderful review Erik. You made my day. 🙂

  5. I’ve only read the first book in this series, but I totally agree with you. I inhaled the book in one sitting! This book might be hard to find as it is a Kane Miller publication and mainly sold in the US through Usborne Books and More consultants. But score if your local library has it!

  6. This series REALLY looks good, Erik, and I’m in LOVE with the covers! That last one made me think of the new debut by Diane Magras— THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER. I’m really hoping to read it some time soon. In fact, she just got a GREAT review in The New York Times. Will you be reading that one?

  7. This series looks great!

    But I would hate to never forget anything. All of my embarrassing moments ready to be recalled at a moment’s notice! Torture. Sheer torture.

  8. I think I’d like this!

  9. I am 73 years old and an avid reader and I thourghly enjoyed this susspenceful series! My grandson is 10 years old and is really excited reading this series.


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