“You cannot change what other people will do.
You can only change how you will react to those things.”
(Zain, The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the End of the World by A.L. Tait)
The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the End of the World by A.L. Tait entertained me on many levels. I love a good quest-style story and one that takes place on the high seas in a fictional world that hasn’t discovered its borders yet, is a great premise. This book totally goes into my pile of books-I-will-read-again.
This middle grade story (could also fall into younger YA) features 14-year old Quinn who has been chosen to attend mapmaker school. The youngest in his family and the “runt” Quinn Freeman is used to being picked on by his older brothers. You would think he’d be excited to strike out on his own, but he’s less than thrilled to leave the security and familiarity of the family farm. While he does okay at the mapmaker school, he’s certain he won’t be chosen as one of the three students to take park in the seafaring race to map the end of their world. Certainly the king will choose the boys who had formal schooling and who come from a more prosperous home. But Quinn is chosen and he finds himself aboard a ship about to sail into the unknown with Zain, the king’s slave, friend, and newly named captain of the Libertas.
Author A.L. Tait weaves a wonderful tale of adventure with Race to the End of the World. She gives the reader heroes to cheer, bad guys to dislike, and just the right balance of fantasy and reality. I really liked Quinn, in particular his growth throughout the book. This character is never flat and I loved that there were times he surprised me. It was great that Quinn was a reluctant protagonist, while his good friend Ash (a stowaway girl in disguise as a boy) was the opposite, more of the adventurer. In addition, I love the idea of the young mapmakers, these young teens with special skills and ability to face the unknown and do something that has the potential to change their world.
I have the next two books in this series to read and am looking forward to continuing on Quinn’s journey. I’m hoping to learn more about the mysterious sea creature they’ve encountered and I’m hoping certain not-so-nice characters from the other two racing ships get their comeuppance as the story moves along.
If these books had come out when my son was younger, I know he would have devoured them. While the main character is a boy, The Mapmaker Chronicles is definitely for all genders and in my opinion, all ages. I thoroughly enjoyed escaping with this book and can’t wait to get back on the seas for book two!
The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the End of the World originally was released in Australia in 2014. It’s now available for the first time in the United States and I really recommend you grab your copy today. It was named Readings Top 10 Middle Fiction Books 2014 and a Notable Book for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book Of The Year 2015.
Note: I did receive review copies of the trilogy via Kane Miller, a Division of EDC Publishing. You can visit them at kanemiller.com to learn more about their books.