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The Map to Everywhere – Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

“Hard to remember, difficult to notice. And not just like ‘doesn’t stand out in a crowd,’ like serios ‘its magic’-type stuff. The boy just slips out of the mind when not in front of you. Forgot why I was writing this report three times already- have to have the boy here right now just so I can finish this blixin’ thing without wandering away again. Origin of affliction: unknown.”

Fin has always blended in and never been remembered. Having ran out on the orphanage when he was seven. He’s spent the years learning the tricks of the thief trade, and has become a Master Thief, an easy enough job for someone no one remembers. But its a lonely place and Fin longs for someone who remembers him. Merril is a your average young girl, sick of being stuck in the same place following years of travelling with her parents, she’s annoyed to find out she has to stay in Arizona for a while longer yet. Her mum is sick and she has to be good to ensure no additional stress is caused. Except Merril always tends to find adventure wherever she goes, and this time its found her, in the form of a huge pirate ship in a parking lot. A twist of fate brings the two children together and takes them on a quest to find the map to everywhere, the only way to find their way home, but they aren;t the only one on this quest and they will have to defeat one of the darkest and most powerful wizards in order to get to it. Can they do so before The Oracle fulfils his terrifying prophecy.

***

This was a bit of an odd book for me. On the one hand I loved it and on the other it fell flat. I usually adore 9-12 adventure/fantasy books so I was very much looking forward to this, especially as I have heard amazing things about Carrie Ryan following on form her Forest of Hands and Teeth books.

I settled down to read on New Years Day and got about 25 pages in before my sister arrived. I obiovusly couldn’t continue so put it down until we’d gone to bed where I attempted a bit more… and failed. I didn’t then pick the book up again until the 5th at work during my lunch break. And I read a page and put it down. It took around about 250 pages to really grab me, it was slow going and whilst I loved the premise so I wanted to continue (the main reason for getting to 250 pages in the first place) there was a detachment I couldn’t get over. This was my first book of 2015 and not the best start to my reading year unfortunately.

I don’t always expect a lot from characters in middle grade books. Its not that middle grade books are worse than others or are less complex as a whole or anything like that… its just that sometimes the sheer length of the book won’t allow to delve into the minds of the characters and the story is so good anyway that its not needed. This book was 420 pages long though so you expect a lot more. I did get a good feeling from the characters but I didn’t get to know them in the way I was hoping. Merrill and Fin were explored in more depth but they weren’t actually the characters I really wanted to know about as Ardent and Coll really intrigued me. I would have loved to know the background between Ardent and The Oracle for sure, but maybe thats coming in later books.

The story was great but was dragged out a bit and that let it down. I enjoyed it for the most part but I think I would have preferred it to have been written in first person, or alternate first and third, instead of all in third person as I didn’t get to lose myself in the book like I wanted to. I liked the different settings in the book and I think the images would have been amazing but unfortunately they weren’t in my copy as it was a proof copy. The illustration places were marked in the book and I can image what they would have been like and perhaps that would have made me delve into the story even further.

I did enjoy the book but I don’t think I can fully recommend it… its long and its not as exciting as a lot of book out there in this category for this age range. I doubt I’ll be continuing the series any further than book, especially as I believe there are another 3 to be published.

The Map to Everywhere was published on November 20th by Orion. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Carrie Ryan Website | John Parke Davis website