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Gary K. McCormick
- Publié sur Amazon.com
With so much of the middle-grade and YA fantasy that is being published these days being some variant of the "Future Dystopia" theme, with magic and/or supernatural elements sometimes thrown in for variety, it was refreshing to find a book that is as fresh and original as "The Glass Sentence".
A cataclysmic shattering and reshuffling of the space-time continuum called the Great Disruption has left Earth scrambled into a patchwork quilt of different time periods. Sophia, a bright 13-year-old girl, lives in a near-familiar Boston of the late 19th Century which lies in a time and place (an "Age") called New Occident; roughly equivalent to the original 13 American colonies, plus the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and part of the Deep South and Midwest. New Occident encountered the Great Disruption in the year 1799, but other parts of the world exist in different times, in different stages of civilization, some earlier, some possibly later than New Occident, as though the Disruption occurred on different parts of the Earth's surface at different times.
The temporal and physical disruption of the world has set each "Age" on a different path, so New Occident, while it would be familiar to a 19th-Century American, would also seem strangely unfamiliar in many ways (for instance, women have the vote!). Sophia's parents, famous explorers who have traveled to other Ages to try and solve the riddle of the Great Disruption, disappeared some ten years before, so Sophia lives with her uncle, Shadrack, her mother's younger brother.
Shadrack is a cartographer, or mapmaker, and in this new world order, mapmakers possess abilities far beyond what we think of when we hear that term. Maps are fashioned on, and of, parchment, paper, wood, leather, metal, glass, and even water - and they are magical, mystical artifacts which may contain worlds of information. When Shadrack is kidnapped by a mysterious group which seeks to exploit his skills and knowledge, Sophia and her new friend Theo, a boy from the Age known as the Baldlands (western North American and Mexico as we know them), set out to track down the kidnappers and rescue Shadrack.
On the journey Sophia and Theo encounter great danger, good friends, and sinister enemies, and find themselves delving into much deeper mysteries concerning maps, the Great Disruption, and the nature of the forces that threw the world into chaos, than they had ever dreamed of.
This is a most impressive debut novel, and readers in the target age groups will, I am sure, be thrilled with it. It is written to the target age group in a manner which brings them along for a fantastic tale without descending into cuteness or talking down to them. Adult readers will detect the elements of the narrative which distinguish "The Glass Sentence" from YA or adult novels, but it is still an enjoyable light read for older readers. I took my greatest enjoyment from the story from the realization of how much middle-grade readers will like this book - and how much they will look forward to the further adventures of Sophia and her associates which are forthcoming.