Map of Shadows

Map of Shadows

A map of skin etched in blood.A world under threat from the Borderlands.A young woman who must risk the shadows to save her family.When her Grandfather is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Sienna Farren inherits his map shop in the ancient city of Bath, England. Once there, she discovers that her family is bound up with the Ministry of Maps, a mysterious agency who...

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Title:Map of Shadows
Author:J.F. Penn
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Map of Shadows Reviews

  • Michele Perry

    Loved being immersed into this fabulous story and the wonderfully imaginative world Penn created. This book has all of my favourite aspects of good story-telling - dimensional life-like characters, descriptive scene-setting, historical aspects interspersed throughout, well-paced and imaginative plot threads. If you are after an adventurous, magical, thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable read, this one is perfect for you! Can't wait of the next book in the series.

  • Sharon Rouquette

    I loved this book! The author sent me an advance copy to read and review because I'm a fan of her work, and I received it this morning and couldn't stop reading until the end.

    The central idea seems to me to be a clever one-- that people called Cartographers with magic in their bloodlines can travel through maps, or bring the fanciful animals decorating old maps to life, or several other interesting magical skills. They work together to defend our Earth against invasion from the inhabitants of a

    I loved this book! The author sent me an advance copy to read and review because I'm a fan of her work, and I received it this morning and couldn't stop reading until the end.

    The central idea seems to me to be a clever one-- that people called Cartographers with magic in their bloodlines can travel through maps, or bring the fanciful animals decorating old maps to life, or several other interesting magical skills. They work together to defend our Earth against invasion from the inhabitants of a shadow earth. Everything gets very exciting, England and our world are on the line, and a small band has to save the world.

    Very J.F. Penn, wouldn't you say? Yes!

    Try it, you'll like it!

  • E. Slabbert

    What an extremely enjoyable and exhilarating story!

    I received an advance reader copy from the author, yet this review is entirely based on my own feelings and experience.

    The premise of this book already had me intrigued, and I'm glad to report it does not disappoint. Although I would have liked to spend more time in this world, I am sure the sequels will be coming soon enough.

    Fast-paced and high-stakes, this is yet another superb work from the pen and mind of J.F. Penn.

    Yet again I am reminded wh

    What an extremely enjoyable and exhilarating story!

    I received an advance reader copy from the author, yet this review is entirely based on my own feelings and experience.

    The premise of this book already had me intrigued, and I'm glad to report it does not disappoint. Although I would have liked to spend more time in this world, I am sure the sequels will be coming soon enough.

    Fast-paced and high-stakes, this is yet another superb work from the pen and mind of J.F. Penn.

    Yet again I am reminded why I keep coming back.

    Bravo!

  • HornFan2 (Mike)

    I was given an advance copy, by J.F. Penn for my honest review.

    'Map of Shadows' falls in genre's that I don't typically read, but with J.F. Penn writing it, plus since I really like her Arkane Series and just figured I would miss out if I didn't read it.

    Just like with Stephen King, Penn has the gift, to give her readers a heart pounding hellacious read, one that's well researched, puts you right in the pages, full of heart pounding twist and turns and leaves you begging for more.

    It's really my

    I was given an advance copy, by J.F. Penn for my honest review.

    'Map of Shadows' falls in genre's that I don't typically read, but with J.F. Penn writing it, plus since I really like her Arkane Series and just figured I would miss out if I didn't read it.

    Just like with Stephen King, Penn has the gift, to give her readers a heart pounding hellacious read, one that's well researched, puts you right in the pages, full of heart pounding twist and turns and leaves you begging for more.

    It's really my type of book, due to the fast pace, it's action packed, full of suspense, tension filled, has you on the seat of your pants and like the good very evil theme.

    Penn's characters are amazing the good ones or the evil ones, they just come to life, making the story all that better and your right their in the midst of the action.

  • Pete

    I have been a fan of J.F. Penn for quite a while now and I really enjoy everything that she produces, so I was very excited to hear that she was writing a new series about maps, but I have to admit that she took me completely by surprise with this first book, and how she manages to expand that simple subject into a magical (literally) story about the borders between the earth as we know it and the dark mysterious Borderlands, which are always trying to break through those borders and drag the wo

    I have been a fan of J.F. Penn for quite a while now and I really enjoy everything that she produces, so I was very excited to hear that she was writing a new series about maps, but I have to admit that she took me completely by surprise with this first book, and how she manages to expand that simple subject into a magical (literally) story about the borders between the earth as we know it and the dark mysterious Borderlands, which are always trying to break through those borders and drag the world we know into theirs. Her imagination doesn't seem to know any bounds!

    The characters are all brilliantly written and become very believable (as far as supernatural characters can) and I found myself really caring about and rooting for the central character, Sienna.

    The subject matter for this book is quite dark, but it isn't gory, even though it does involve maps drawn in blood on human skin.

    J.F. Penn can be relied on to provide really evocative descriptions of the locations her books are set in, and this is no exception, she evokes the geography of Bath brilliantly, so I felt that I really knew the city, even though I have only visited there once, many years ago and she makes the Borderlands seem very real as well.

    The pace of the plot is terrific, and it became quite a quick read for me as I found it very difficult to put down. Whilst this is a self-contained complete story, it very neatly leaves the door (or should that be portal?) open for more books featuring Sienna and the Mapwalkers to battle against the Borderlanders, I can't wait.

    I did receive a complimentary copy of the book from the author, but this review has been voluntarily written and is purely based on my own opinions.

  • Michaelbrent Collings

    Here is the litmus test for a great story: when you are in bed at night, reading, and your spouse elbows you in the side and says, "Shut UP."

    "What?" you answer, confused about what's happening, half of you still trapped in the story you've fallen into.

    "You were SHOUTING," she says. Then she rolls over, laughing because she knows what this means: that SHE has found a new story, too, because when I'm done with it, it's her turn.

    ***

    The above is rare for me. As a writer myself, I have a marked tende

    Here is the litmus test for a great story: when you are in bed at night, reading, and your spouse elbows you in the side and says, "Shut UP."

    "What?" you answer, confused about what's happening, half of you still trapped in the story you've fallen into.

    "You were SHOUTING," she says. Then she rolls over, laughing because she knows what this means: that SHE has found a new story, too, because when I'm done with it, it's her turn.

    ***

    The above is rare for me. As a writer myself, I have a marked tendency to pick a story apart, to dissect each sentence after reading it and to ruthlessly VIVISECT the plot AS I read it. I'm like a mad scientist, who in churning out his own little monsters has ceased to view the other creatures out there as anything other than items of academic interest. Just things to be learned from or things to be despised, depending on how competent those creatures' own "mad scientist" parent are (or are not).

    And then, in a beautiful - and all-too-rare - moment, one of those creatures not only meets your gaze, but stares you down and then SPEAKS to you. You are reminded that these creatures, these little monsters that have sprung forth of others' minds, can sometimes rise to be more than things to be examined. They can be extraordinary, full of wonder and light and genuine magic.

    Map of Shadows, the first book of the Mapwalkers series, is a story like this. I went into it with the concern that I ALWAYS have when reading a story by someone I know and respect, because there is nothing worse than telling a friend that their latest is anything other than magnificent. Ms. Penn and I are not the kind of buddies who hang out - or even talk regularly - but she has interviewed me a number of times for her (superlative) writing podcast, The Creative Penn. I count those interviews as among the most fun I have had, and Ms. Penn as one of the best hosts, who brings you not only onto her show, but into her heart.

    Now, I'm not just wandering around aimlessly here. I mention The Creative Penn because in the same way that she opens her heart and mind and her great understanding of the written word to those lucky people in her audience (and those luckier people whom she hosts on her show) so she has opened that heart and mind and understanding to those lucky people who read this book. Map of Shadows, like The Creative Penn and the best books and like Ms. Penn herself, is simply MAGIC.

    Shadow Cartographers. Maps of Shadow. Labyrinths where death makes its home. Places that have not truly disappeared from the world, but which most certainly HAVE become lost... and become darker in the losing. Fiendish monsters torn from dark imaginings and even greater monsters embodied in the men and women who bear sad resemblance to our own darkest selves.

    All this and more is on full display in Map of Shadows, but above all that, this book is about connections.

    It is a story of a woman who finds that this world we enjoy is not the ONLY world, and perhaps not even the most important or more powerful. But as her understanding of the world(s) grows(s), so too does her ability to bring real betterment to that world.

    It is the story of a woman who chooses to reject a life of relative comfort for a life of danger, and does so for nothing more nor less than the tiny chance that she will find a family she thought lost to her.

    It is the story of a woman who has few connections to a world which - as it has for so many of us - has grown cold and distant and even alien; but who then finds those connections in the form of new friends who are willing to echo her sacrifices and then add some of their own. It is the story of hopelessness found in dark places, but then brought back to the light.

    It is the story of... us.

    We each make maps of our lives. Perhaps none do what our heroine accomplishes - drawing places into being simply by "mapping" them, or traveling the length and width of the universe(s) in an instant - but we draw our homes, our places of comfort; our "war zones" wherein we find things ranging from angry bosses to that grocery store clerk who for some strange reason manages to terrify us every time she weighs our grapes (yes, this is about me); and we draw the outer edges of our worlds, knowing that beyond them danger dwells.

    And yet we go. We travel to the boundaries of our lives and comforts and then - as Sienna shows us how to do - we move past those boundaries, and into shadow...

    ... and there discover that we have, somehow, brought our brightness with us.

    Sienna is all of us, and in her we find what every good Mapwalker MUST find: a road to travel; a quest to undertake; a guide or two to help us along the way, and, in the end, our hopes and dreams.

    Thank you, Sienna, for showing an extraordinary path; and thank you, Ms. Penn, for your extraordinary stories and for the joy and light they bring.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  • Holly

    It's a joy to see how far Penn has come since her first book. I've had the pleasure of following her journey to this point, and this wonderful book.

    Map of Shadows has exquisite worldbuilding and interesting characters that race through a quick-paced and engaging plot. It was a thrilling ride and I can't wait to read the next book.

  • Ilana

    J.F.Penn, whose writings I often review on my blog because I love her writing, has a special art of creating characters and worlds that do stay for you long after finishing your book. Map of Shadows, newly released, is the first in a new series aimed at exploring the mysterious meanings of maps and borders.

    Sienna Farren - 'aimless and wandering for too long to choose a path forward' - was having just another uneventful day at the Oxford Library where she recently started a new job, when the ann

    J.F.Penn, whose writings I often review on my blog because I love her writing, has a special art of creating characters and worlds that do stay for you long after finishing your book. Map of Shadows, newly released, is the first in a new series aimed at exploring the mysterious meanings of maps and borders.

    Sienna Farren - 'aimless and wandering for too long to choose a path forward' - was having just another uneventful day at the Oxford Library where she recently started a new job, when the announcement of the murdering of her grandfather, owner of an old map shop in Bath, will completely change her life. It is just the beginning of series of revelations that will put her in contact with a new world and a new self. The picturesque World Heritage Site of Bath, the place at the heart of Jane Austen life and works, is assigned as an ancient energy center, a door to a strange and troubled world, the Borderlands 'a place where this earth bleeds into another',

    Sienna is smoothly assuming the new role as owner of the shop where unusual things and people are taking place, accepting maybe too easily to embark on a search on the other side of the world for his long lost father and for puting a halt, together with other mapwalkers - a power whose meaning is about to understand and discover only by practice -, to an invasion of evil creatures that threated destroying the world. This is just the beginning of what looks as an interesting new series.

    What I particularly loved about this book, besides very vibrant and highly emotional visual images created through words, was the exploration of the sense and meaning of maps and borders, in a world, as usual, on the move. Skilfully, the current refugee crisis and the destructive war in Syria are also part of this first episode, as an anchor to everyday reality for the contemporary reader.

    Map of Shadows is a page turning and dramatic read, which keeps you alert and promises a lot of interesting evolutions, with the seeds of new development already planted in this first installment.

    Disclaimer: Book offered by the author in exchange for an honest review

  • Toni Osborne

    Book # 1 in the Mapwalkers series

    This new series is a dark fantasy and a pretty weird story, not to mention gory to no end. A map of skin etched in blood and a world under threat…..

    Those of us fans of this author already knows how creative she is and how richly and cleverly written her stories are. Well no exception here. Vividly said Bath comes to life with creepy characters and supernatural happenings. This intriguing story based on maps and cartographers propels us into a fantasy world where

    Book # 1 in the Mapwalkers series

    This new series is a dark fantasy and a pretty weird story, not to mention gory to no end. A map of skin etched in blood and a world under threat…..

    Those of us fans of this author already knows how creative she is and how richly and cleverly written her stories are. Well no exception here. Vividly said Bath comes to life with creepy characters and supernatural happenings. This intriguing story based on maps and cartographers propels us into a fantasy world where a mysterious agency maintains the borders between this word and the Uncharted. Spooky, indeed

    On the surface Bath is a genteel place but Ms. Penn imagination show us that there is a darker side to the city. Beneath the charming streets lies a weird city, a place haunted by mysterious power. Here, local legends play a good part. Sienna Farren is the main character and is aided by colourful secondary players that have magical abilities and terrifying shadows to scare us to death…

    Although this book as many good qualities I honestly cant’ say it drew me in, too weird for my taste but I must say parts reflect our real world where countries are ravaged by war, famine, poverty, terrorism and many other afflictions leaving their people to suffer the consequences…totally abandoned.

    I received this ARC from the author for my thoughts. It may not have been my preferred book but it is definitely not one to pass over…..give it a go.

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