Review: The Golden Specific by S.E. Grove (The Mapmakers Trilogy #2)

goldenIt is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents’ disappearance, combing archives and libraries, grasping at even the most slender leads. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country—but one after another proves to be a dead end.

Then Sophia discovers that a crucial piece of the puzzle exists in a foreign Age. At the same time, Theo discovers that his old life outside the law threatens to destroy the new one he has built with Sophia and her uncle Shadrack. What he and Sophia do not know is that their separate discoveries are intertwined, and that one remarkable person is part of both.

There is a city that holds all of the answers—but it cannot be found on any map. Surrounded by plague, it can only be reached by a journey through darkness and chaos, which is at the same time the plague’s cure: The Golden Specific.

The much anticipated sequel to The Glass Sentence begins slowly but builds up to a satisfying conclusion. I rarely end up liking second books as much as first ones, as was true here, but it was a wonderful read nonetheless.

Since most of the world building and set up was done in The Glass Sentence, The Golden Specific is much more plot driven. Don’t worry though, there are still many new wolds and creatures to meet. There is a complicated tangle of plot lines that all overlap and need to be followed carefully. Much like the world itself, the plots are scattered through time and place. Many plot points from the first book are brought up again and are elaborated on connecting the two novels. There are also the overarching plots of Sophia searching for her parents and Theo running from his past that will carry through to the end of the trilogy.

The main story centers around Theo who is busy solving an intricate mystery, and Sophia, who is off on a dangerous adventure. Much like the first, it is a very complex novel with many thought provoking threads pertaining to politics and people and a very intense plot.

Theo and Sophia’s characters are well developed in this novel, and some new characters are thrown in the mix. My only qualm is that Shadrack took on a lesser role, and I’d like for him to regain the spotlight in book three.

It was a solid read, and I’m looking forward to reading book three.

Highly recommended.


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