The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd | Book Review


the cartographers peng shepherd

Hello friend! As I decided to make book reviews for books I read some time ago, I wanted to make a book review for this new release of Peng Shepherd. This book was released on March this year, and I listened to the audiobook version on Storytel. This book is not my favorite but the vibes and the writing are things I enjoyed the most from this book.


The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd | Book Review


Length                                 : 15 H (approx) | 400 pages

Narrator                               : Ron Butler, Emily Woo Zeller, Nancy Wu, Jason Culp, Brittany Pressley,

           Karen Chilton, Neil Hellegers

Date released                       : March 15, 2022

Date read                             : March 20-24, 2022

Goodreads rating                 : 3.70

My rating                             : 3.00

Keywords                            : Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Cartography, Family, Magical Realism, Map,

                                              Library, NYPL, Friendship

Trigger Warning                   : death, murder, blood, family loss, shooting

Where to read                       : Storytel



What is the purpose of a map?

Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.

But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence . . . because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.

But why?

To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret and discovers the true power that lies in maps . . .” (Goodreads)



First of all, I like the cover! I like the bookshelf and books and the title and author name inserted there.

This book gives me the vibes of those Japanese detective drama series in the first few pages of the story. The premise and the mystery introduced in the beginning of the book are intriguing and what keeps me going to read the whole. But it then changed to be less interesting for me as different narrators narrated the story of their college lives. The idea behind the story is cool to be integrated into a book about library and maps, and how the author was inspired by a real story for this book is cool! However the way everything is unveiled is like a downturn for me, because the main culprit will be easily known along with their motives.

I really want to love this book. This book has library setting, investigation, and hidden enemy. The backstory of the people who caused the crime felt like taking more spotlight from the main character. If you watch Detective Conan, the story will not be only about the suspect or victim or culprit, but also the main characters. Anyway this is not detective story, but the first chapter of this book gives off that vibe so I expected it to be similar, but I’m disappointed because of my own expectation.

No need to worry, as Alden said (who is Alden? Oh he’s just the handsome dad from KotLC and some said the adaptation should have Benedict Cumberbatch as him. Forget it). It’s interesting how one chapter in the beginning of the book could create such different expectation from the story provided by the author. How human’s mind works is really cool. I don’t write this blog post to say that certain book is bad because it doesn’t meet my expectation. It’s just interesting how a book made me disappointed because it turned out to be something else.

The plot is going back and forth between now and the past as everyone told their own story about their past related to Dr. Young. I think it’s too long, and even though they are not telling the whole story, you will immediately know who did everything and it feels like ending here even though there is one more revelation to go.

As for the characters, I want to know more about Nell in this book.

The narration is easy to follow and the author made it so the reader can easily create images inside their minds especially the  setting and the filter it used (you know, the filter when you watch movie / drama so it creates certain vibes match with the theme). The writing made me want to read other book by this author.

Overall this book got 3 stars as I input the numbers on my CAWPILE spreadsheet, and I agree with that star rating, because it’s in the middle, not  bad yet not make into my favorite list.

So, I think this is it. What do you thing about this book? Tell me down below.

cartographers peng shepherd short review
this graphic is from my March reading wrap-up thread


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