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Map of Shadows

(Mapwalker #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  125 reviews
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
Paperback, 208 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Curl Up Press
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JacQueline Vaughn Roe It does! The skin maps & key lines are similar, though the writing styles are different. Lawhead goes with the time traveling idea & Penn explores a s…moreIt does! The skin maps & key lines are similar, though the writing styles are different. Lawhead goes with the time traveling idea & Penn explores a shadow world where the forgotten cities of the earth slip away into the Borderlands. Really fascinating take. Both are rich in research & world-building. Lawhead is slower, more thoughtful, Penn is more plot driven with action sequences. (less)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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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
Michael Chrobak
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
When I received a copy of this book to review, I was really looking forward to it. I hadn’t read anything by this author, and after reading through some of the reviews, I thought this would be a book I could really fall in love with.

Sadly, I was wrong.

First of all, let me say, I did love the storyline and the concepts of this fantasy novel. The author definitely has some wicked creative skills. What crushed it for me was the quality of the writing, which almost made me place this in the DNF pil
Meenaz Lodhi
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It is not drawn on any map; true places never are." Herman Melville.
“A map of the human heart is worth far more than the map of a city.”
Borderland, a sinister non Earth-side, where the evil, the worse kind of humans, the sick, the war residues have been banished is gaining territory on earth-side, our present day, by blood maps. I found this story unique and compelling, the mapwalkers a very significant and enticing concept. It reflects the borders and emigration state in today’s everyday life
Completely Melanie
I want to start off by saying that I received this book for review, but my opinions are my own and I am not paid for this review. That being said, Oh my gosh!!!! This book was soooooo good!!! Right from the very beginning of this book, it just took off full steam ahead with no slowing down! It's not a very long book, but they managed to pack a lot in just 192 pages! I loved it and would totally read the sequel!

I have a YouTube channel called Completely Melanie and one of the things I do on this
3.25 Stars

If you would like to see all my thoughts on this book, be sure to check out the review on my blog:

But here is a snippet and overview of what I thought:

Overall, I think that this story has potential. The author's writing is definitely in the beginning stages but I think that with time they will figure some things out. The wiring will become a whole lot better with both time and practice. The plot was interesting but I felt myself skipping over some se
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
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
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
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.
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
This is the first book I have read by the author and I very much enjoyed it. This is definitely a unique fantasy book and also adds in a bit of magic. Sienna Farren inherits her grandfather's map shop in Bath, England after he is mysteriously murdered. After arriving in Bath, she finds her family is caught up with the Ministry of Maps, a mysterious organization who maintains the borders between this world and the Uncharter. Sienna soon discovers her own magical abilities, with the help of Mila W ...more
Michele Perry
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Eduan Slabbert
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Ronel Janse van Vuuren
A grimdark tale of what could be hiding in the shadows. A thrilling read. I found the Borderlands to be very dystopian in nature.

I couldn’t bond with Sienna, though. Not knowing why she was aimless and unhappy to work in an awesome library left too many unanswered questions. The sudden romance in the last chapter made no sense to me. Perhaps more Deep POV (sharing Sienna’s feelings and thoughts throughout the story) would have made this an amazing read.

Great worldbuilding. And the twist!

I like t
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I really liked the world building of this book. I can't wait to read more of this series and see what happens in the Borderlands with the Mapwalkers of both worlds.

Sienna has been left a map shop in her grandfather's will. She had not really known the man, but a visit to the city of Bath was just what she needed. She finds herself drawn into a society of Mapwalkers whose job is to protect this reality from the creatures of the Borderland. The story is just beginning and there are many more adven
Peter Ralston
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well crafted, well researched, well written, when I found this book my first thought was how good could a fantasy novel about maps be? But the story idea sounded interesting, so I gave it a shot. And boy oh boy, am I glad I did , The story pulls you right in and makes it hard to put down. Splitting the map magic into four distinct groups is a stroke of genius, giving each hero a personality that made you want to pick a map magic you would love to have. Also having the story completed only makes ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was given to me by Netgalley to read for my honest review.

Imagine you can change the borders of the current world or even delete place from the world. The only thing you have to do is to change a map. What if there is places that are not on the maps we have, they are push from it just because we forgot about them.
Sienna is a girl that just have found she can do those think also her father and grandfather were able to do them.
Refreshing, new fantasy book that take you away from the t
not going to lie the first 4 chapters did not draw me in at all. The story was painfully slow start and the main character annoyed me until...
chapter 4 onwards! I ended up loving the book and the storyline was the start of something that could be a incredible plot line!
the main character really gets into the role of Mapwalker and her relationship with the other main characters are awesome!
also that twist was sly.
I can't wait to carry on with this series and to see where it goes.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars! When I first read the synopsis of this book I thought it sounded amazing and I just loved the idea of it. It sounded intriguing, there was magic, romance and suspense throughout the story! However I found it both slow and a bit rushed at times. It was a short read and I read in a day!
Carlos Valcarcel
As usual, J.F, Penn does not disappoint. In this new series she creates a new mythology that has a lot of room to grow and, if her ARKANE series is any indication, grow it she will. I will look forward to the next book in the series.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is book one of the Mapwalkers series and covers another world where some people can use maps to travel between their world and the Borderlands. Those in the Borderlands are called Shadow Mapwalkers, whereas those on the Earth side who travel there, end up with parts of the Shadow in themselves, eating away at their ability to return to their previous home. If they travel too often, then they will be stuck in the Borderlands and unable to ever return. The Borderlands are areas where destruct ...more
Ariel Coomes
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**I received this book for free in return for a review**

"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 maintain the borders between this world and the Uncharted.
With the h
Icy Sedgwick
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did receive a copy of this book but this is my honest opinion - and I wouldn't have read it in two sittings on the same day if I hadn't thought it was marvellous! I've loved all of JF Penn's fiction output (and her non-fiction as Joanna Penn), and I've always been impressed at the way she weaves wider societal concerns or cultural contexts into her thrillers. She achieves a level of depth that you don't always see in the genre. Map of Shadows is slightly different in that it's a remix of the t ...more
Suneeta Mithani
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Being completely honest, I did not enjoy the writing much in the first half of the book. I felt disconnected to the characters and felt there was a lot of information dump through dialogue and I was skeptical, but I love Joanna and committed to giving the book a fair chance by reading it all through.

And am I glad I did that!!

The later half of the book made me fall in love with the story, the characters and the writing itself. Packed with action, plot twists, character development
Kayla Bergeson
Thank you to J.F. Penn for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Trigger Warning: Blood, Gore, Allusions to rape and forced pregnancy, human (particularly child) scarifies, Use of human skin as maps (I don't know if that's a "real" trigger but just in case)

As you can see, this book has a lot of possible triggers nested in there so just be careful when you start it! It can be kind of gory. Besides that thought, this book has the makings of a great fantasy novel! The conc
Sharon Vargas
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Boy, this was a ride.

When I first started reading I felt the story had some cliché elements, but as a Fantasy lover I was okay with that. I went ahead.
While there were more than a few clichés, I can say this was overall a really fun journey, with a hidden world within our own that incorporated some great elements of magical realism. There were some ups and downs that I'll list below:

The characters: while some of them had a nice development (like Sienna, Mila and Perry) some others were lacking,
John-Torleif  Harris
I wasn't really thrilled with this book. It was ok, but I didn't think that Sienna was an interesting protagonist. She seemed a bit fickle when she was willing to buy into the whole "magic exists, and you are integral to it" spiel from Brigid, even though she really had no proof of these people actually being friends with her grandfather. Then she immediately rejected them, for no clear reason when they asked for her help, but subsequently changed her mind after finding out that her power was fu ...more
Lisa Sims
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm, how to rate this...I absolutely love The Creative Penn, and picked this one up because I am a new author and value Joanna Penn and the service she offers to new authors, and I was curious as to the kind of fiction she writes. I LOVED this cover, and the blurb sounded awesome, and when I hear her talk about her fiction, this one sounded amazing, so I decided to purchase it, even though I only check books out from the library. I only buy the book after I've read something and decide it's som ...more
Jamie Jack
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, fantasy
Of Borders and Maps

It's funny; though I have read Joanna Penn’s nonfiction books, I have never read any of her fiction ones. So when I saw this book show up at one of my favorite book review sites, I had to snap it up. I will admit, too, that the idea of maps figuring into a story so centrally also intrigued me. I've always had a fascination with maps myself as they both reflect a physical reality and a figurative one, reflecting the needs and the culture from which they spring. In this book, Ms
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I'm the award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the ARKANE Action Adventure Thriller series, the London Crime Thrillers, and the Mapwalker Fantasy Adevnture trilogy, as well as other books.

The fast-paced ARKANE thrillers weave together historical artifacts, global locations, a kick-ass protagonist and a hint of the supernatural. Described by readers as a female Indiana

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Mapwalker (2 books)
  • Map of Plagues (Mapwalkers #2)

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