I don’t tend to read fantasy but something about this book appealed to me and I have to say I am so very glad I decided to take a chance on The Mapmaker’s War by Ronlyn Domingue. I was sent a free copy for my honest review.
About the Book:
This will be the map of your heart, old woman. In an ancient time, in a faraway land, a young woman named Aoife is allowed a rare apprenticeship to become her kingdom’s mapmaker, tasked with charting the entire domain. Traveling beyond its borders, she finds a secretive people who live in peace, among great wealth. They claim to protect a mythic treasure, one connected to the creation of the world. When Aoife reports their existence to her kingdom, the community is targeted as a threat. Attempting to warn them of imminent danger, Aoife is exiled for treason and finds refuge among the very people who had been declared her enemy. With them, she begins a new life surrounded by kindness, equality, and cooperation. But within herself, Aoife has no peace. She cannot share the grief she feels for the home and children she left behind. She cannot bear the warrior scars of the man she comes to love. And when she gives birth to their gifted daughter, Aoife cannot avoid what the child forces her to confront about her past and its truth. On this most important of journeys, there is no map to guide her. In this tale—her autobiography— Aoife reveals her pain and joy, and ultimately her transformation.
The Mapmaker’s War is a mesmerizing, utterly original adventure about love and loss and the redemptive power of the human spirit. Watch for its epic sequel, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, in 2014.
About the Author:
Ronlyn Domingue’s critically acclaimed debut novel The Mercy of Thin Air was published in ten languages. Her work has appeared in The Beautiful Anthology (TNB Books), New England Review, The Independent (UK), Shambhala Sun, and on The Nervous Breakdown. She lives in Louisiana with her partner, Todd Bourque, and their cats. Connect with her on RonlynDomingue.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Mapmaker’s War is a book like no other book I have ever read. It creates a world far removed from the one in which we all exist, taking the reader on a journey of confusion, discovery, magic and love. I am not sure I completely understood it. I know I need to read it again – maybe another time after that – to fully grasp the author’s intent. I know like most literary novels a lot of it happened somewhere over my head but I do know that I was enthralled for my time within its pages.
The book is written in the second person which did take a bit of getting used to – it does tend to keep the reader at a bit of a remove. There are also no quotation marks; this being a new conceit in books. Why? Don’t ask me but it was easy enough to sort out when characters were speaking. It didn’t distract from the reading – at least not for me.
This is not going to be a book for everyone. I suspect that a few years ago it would not have been a book for me but having stretched my reading choices over the last couple of years I have opened my mind to less literal books and have been rewarded with gems like this. I’m finding it hard to articulate exactly was I was so enthralled; the writing was engaging. I loved the main character of Aoife even though she was, at times, not likable at all. She was, if nothing else very, very human.
I find myself thinking about Aoife and her worlds. She lived in two but really only felt at home in one of them. She is like many of us in that way. In trying to protect where she felt safe and protected she opened it up to a horror it never should have known.
I am so happy I read this book and it will remain in my library for a second read. I know it’s the kind of book that will be even better after additional study. I know I missed bits here and there as I turned the pages to follow Aoife through her loves and losses. There is a sequel due next year and I do hope I am lucky enough to read it.
Other Books by Ronlyn Domingue
The Chronicle of Secret Riven
The Plague Diaries
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