Sunday, July 5, 2009

Map of the Known World

Map of the Known World

By Lisa Ann Sandell

Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.

They say no land remains to be discovered, no continent is left unexplored. But the whole world is out there, waiting, just waiting for me. I want to do things-I want to walk the rain-soaked streets of London, and drink mint tea in Casablanca. I want to wander the wastelands of the Gobi desert and see a yak. I think my life's ambition is to see a yak. I want to bargain for trinkets in an Arab market in some distant, dusty land. There's so much. But, most of all, I want to do things that will mean something.

I really could not stand the narrator of this book. She went from weeping to happy and helping others, to angry - well, she was just a mess, but it all seemed so flat. Maybe it's just not my kind of book, but the character grated on me.

The saving grace of the book was the involvement in art. I really did like that aspect, the way she could connect to her dead brother through his artwork and her own. I don't like how everything settled so quickly towards the end. Her mom went from evil witch of the west to understanding and kind. Sorry, just don't see it happening.

The writing was well done, but I just could not connect to the character at all and it seemed a little false. Everything was extreme but not. It's hard to describe. I don't dislike a lot of books, but this one really was hard to get through for me. I feel bad writing bad things about a book and I'm sure I'll still try to read some of her other novels, but this one just didn't appeal to me.

3/5 Roses


  1. Oh... I'm sorry you didn't like it. I just got this book but now I'm starting to wonder... I tend to like characters that are a mess though, so maybe Cora will be good for me. Thanks for the honest review. I think it's better to be honest that you didn't like a book compared to lying and flattering a book.

    - Alex

  2. That's a shame. I'm big on character development so big jumps in personality annoy me. No one jumps from being terrible to wonderful or vice versa.

  3. Big jumps in personality, kind of like Charlotte in Ghostgirl.

    Sucks, and I really liked the cover!

  4. I liked the cover too, I almost bought it without even know what it was about! Thanks for the review, that helps ALOT!

  5. This book caught my eye the other day. Wonder why I didn't pick it up...

    I also don't like moody characters... in books. =/ I'm not sure if I'm moody myself. A story needs to have a character arch, but if it's so out of place, it becomes less believable.

    Next time I'm at the bookstore or on a retail book site, I'll flip through and see what you mean. Thanks for the review. =)


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