Have you ever traveled from one time zone to another? When I visit my mother I cross from the Eastern to the Central Time Zone, so I have to set my watch back an hour when I am at her house and then move it forward an hour when I get home. People who travel between the East and West coasts have a bigger change to deal with, and if they travel to another continent, then the changes are even more drastic.
Now - imagine a world where time itself has been fractured and people in one location may live in a completely different era from those that live elsewhere. That is the world in which Sophia and her uncle Shadrack live. Their city of Boston is in the 1800s, but north of Vermont there is a land of Prehistoric Snows and in other places there are pockets of the future. Sophia's parents are explorers of the Ages and have been gone for ten years. Shadrack has raised Sophia since she was 3-years old in his house full of maps that he studies and creates.
(A map drawn by the author.)
There is a legend that a map of the entire world, with all its jumbled Ages exists. The map is called the carta mayor and is said to have the power to reshape the world. Unfortunately, Shadrack's famous ability with maps draws attention from some very sinister forces and he is carried off while Sophia is out running errands. Sophia and Shadrack had been organizing a trip to search for her parents, but now she must find her uncle instead.
For adventure lovers and readers who enjoy complex world-building, this is the book for you. There are pirates, border raiders, sailing ships made from living trees, scar-faced Sandmen, wailing Lachrima, wildly different time periods existing side by side, and a dangerous quest to save a loved one and possibly the world. Much of the action seems like something from an Indiana Jones movie - being chased by henchmen across the roof of a train, outrunning a weirwind (like a tornado on steroids), being trapped in a dungeon, wearing disguises to avoid capture, and similar things happen frequently throughout the book.
I really enjoyed the story and the character of Sophia. Although she is only thirteen, she is very determined and courageous. I also found the idea of the Great Disruption with the resulting jumble of time periods very interesting and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book of the trilogy.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The book was released in stores on June 12, 2014. The author is working on the sequel, The Golden Specific, now.