Violet's Reviews > The Map of the Sky

The Map of the Sky by Félix J. Palma
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's review
Aug 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: british, historical-fiction, sci-fi, steampunk

Oh, the sequel. All too often they are drab, forced, trite, stories that pale in comparison to its predecessor. Yet, why do they make them? The answer is money of course. Millions of us flock to the theater and bookstores, to experience these commonly disappointing sequels. Endings are final and complete in their conclusions, but we will always want more, so those executives will always give us more as long as we’re willing to pay for it. Often this ‘more’ is the minimum that they could possibly give us. Yet every once in a while, along comes a sequel that despite the money-grabbing greed at the root of it all, is well crafted and beautiful. This is one such sequel.

I’m not ashamed to say that when I learned it was coming out, I rushed to the bookstore, eager to read the companion novel to the bestseller The Map of Time. And I’m glad to report, it didn’t disappoint. Félix J. Palma once again transformed another H.G. Wells classic in to a wonderfully exciting ride through Victorian London. This time around the novel was inspired by The War of the Worlds, and everything centered around “Martians.” The first part, told the tale of the “Ill-Fated Expedition” to the South Pole in 1829, where the crew (including Jeremiah Reynolds and a certain aspiring author by the name of Allan) try desperately to fight off a menacing, crash-landed “Martian.” The second part, tells of Montgomery Gilmore and his attempted recreation of a Martian invasion in an effort to woo young Emma Harlow, and it of course all goes horribly awry when the real “Martians” show up. The third part deals with repercussions of the invasion and the attempts to stop it, including some familiar faces and all ending in a satisfying circular fashion.

While I was pleased with how it all turned out, from the writing, to the plot, to the characters, it’s hard to compare it to The Map of Time. Not in quality, but in style. The first book, each part was separate, only connected by a few common themes and characters. But this one is overall better connected, like a single, complicated puzzle instead of three different, interlocking puzzles of the same subject. It’s strange to say, but the sequel is more normal that its predecessor.

Which is not to say that it is necessarily bad. The concept and plot line is thrilling, intriguing, and chilling. It transports readers to a universe where the horrors of outer space plague grand ‘ld London town, similarly to how the visionary H.G. Well imagined, but with modern twists reminiscent of other classic science fiction. There are still surprises hidden among everything, always keeping the readers on their toes. And the writing and reoccurring characters are fairly consistence with the first novel.

So yes, I do believe that fans of The Map of Time will be pleased with the next installment Palma’s H.G. Wells inspired literature. While different, it is a brilliantly constructed sequel that will put the faith back into those disappointed with the seemingly endless barrage of sequels that apparently everyone can’t seem to get enough of.

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Quotes Violet Liked

Félix J. Palma
“I'm convinced the true history of our time isn't what we read in newspapers or books...True history is almost invisible. It flows like an underground spring. It takes place in the shadows, and in silence, George. And only a chosen few know what that history is.”
Félix J. Palma, The Map of the Sky

Félix J. Palma
“Writers perform an extremely important role: they make others dream, those who are unable to dream for themselves. And everyone needs to dream. Could there be any more important job in life than that?”
Félix J. Palma, The Map of the Sky

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