The Cartographers

The Cartographers

Look at me checking a Book of the Month off my reading list!

Genre: Fantasy
Sub-Genre: Mystery
Format: 📖
Pub Date: 3.15.2022
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆


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 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 discovers the true power that lies in maps…”


“Maps were love letters written to times and places their markers explored. They did not control the territory — they told its stories.”

The Cartographers has been high up on my reading list since I heard about it last fall. The story seemed to be an eclectic mixture of academia, mystery, fantasy, and art! I was so excited to see it as a BOTM option and immediately started reading when the little blue box arrived at my door.

If you are looking for a fast-paced mystery, I urge you to wait to pick up this book. It is definitely a slow burn that, at times, felt over my head, but I didn’t want to put it down. By page 200, I felt like I had a greater understanding of the story and the characters. I also think that’s when the pace of the story stepped up.

I’m not so secretly hoping for a sequel to the Cartographers because I loved the characters so much that I’m not quite ready to give them up yet.

Besides the characters, I was also enamored by how Shepherd crafted her chapters. While the reader mainly sees the perspective of Nell and Felix, there are chapters from the other character’s perspective, and it is told as if the character is speaking directly to Nell. But, Nell doesn’t have any dialogue throughout that chapter. It was unique and definitely added to the storytelling vibe of the book.

🥰 Lovable characters
🗺 Illustrated maps throughout the pages
👨🏽‍🏫 Academia setting
👌🏽 Perfect for new fantasy lovers
⏳ Slow pace but picks up

The writing style and story setting reminded me of Ninth House, but not nearly as gruesome.

Have you recently read a BOTM title or any celebrity book club picks?


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