Book Review: “The Golden Specific” by S. E. Grove

Honestly, after how much I loved The Glass Sentence, the first book in S.E. Grove’s Mapmakers Trilogy, I can’t believe it took me two months to read the equally excellent sequel, The Golden Specific.

If you recall, the end of The Glass Sentence found Sophie, her Uncle Shadrack, and her friend Theo back in New Occident, this time with a clue to Sophie’s parents’ disappearance. As The Golden Specific opens, the trio have been working on solving the mystery for many months, but after Shadrack is appointed to parliament and Theo sets out on an expedition with Miles, a family friend, Sophie finds herself mostly working alone. Her quest brings her to commit fraud in order to gain access to the Nihilismian archives – a gamble that pays off when she learns that there is a copy of her mother’s diary residing in another Age: the Papal States.

Sophie isn’t sure her Uncle will allow her to undertake such a large expedition all on her own, especially since she’s got another secret she’s been keeping from him – she’s been seeing the specter of her mother, offering her advice, for a few weeks now. Although she doesn’t know where this expedition will lead her – especially since the Papal States are known to be intolerant of anything strange – Sophie knows she has to try, or risk losing her parents forever.

Believe it or not, that’s only the tip of the iceberg of the exciting things that happen in this book! Just as in the first installment of the Mapmakers Trilogy, Grove has created a world full of extraordinary wonder, and even as Sophie sets out on her own adventure to find her parents, Theo, Shadrack, and some new faces are occupied back in New Occident working to undermine the wicked MP Gordon Broadgirdle.

If anything, the stakes are even higher than they were in The Glass Sentence, for everyone. I adored this book, especially the chance to see Sophie get to do a little bit of traveling on her own and to explore yet another of the wildly imaginative Ages that Grove has filled her world with. Truly, this book has it all: it stands alone as an intriguing adventure, it furthers the search for Sophie’s parents, AND it provides some clues as to what may have caused the Great Disruption in the first place.

I can’t imagine that anyone who read The Glass Sentence has any doubts about whether or not to read the sequel, but just in case you do: FORGET THEM. This book is awesome. This series is awesome. I can hardly wait for Book 3 to be released (although I’m dreading it at the same time because I’ll have to say goodbye to these characters!).

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.