The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan & John Park Davis

The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis, illustrated by Todd Harris. Little, Brown, 2014. 433 pages

Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12map-to-everywhere
Recommended for: ages 10-14

Bottom Line: The Map to Everywhere offers an action-packed fantasy quest in which protagonists must find and assemble the pieces of a map.

Fin, formerly of Khaznot’s Quayside Orphan’s Preserve, possesses one strange quality that could be described as reverse short-term memory: no one remembers him. Until he receives the letter addressed to Master Thief from Someone Who Remembers You. Could it be his mother? Cryptic instructions might lead him to her, but he must figure out clues involving a ship and pirates and treasure and a mysterious key. Meanwhile, in our world, Marrill has just learned that her family’s move to Phoenix is permanent—at least for now–because her mother’s recurrent illness has flared up again and they must call a temporary halt to their wandering ways. On a walk around her inhospitable neighborhood, Marrill observes a mall parking lot waver and shimmer and become an endless body of water bearing a full-size ship. She has encountered the Pirate Stream, an offshoot of the Great River of Creation, manned by a wizard named Ardent and a sailor named Coll. In a blink, Marrill is transferred to another world and the only way to get back to her own is by locating all five pieces of the Map to Everywhere. Of course her path will cross with Fin’s, but also with Serth the Oracle, a wizard attempting to gain control of the Pirate Stream, who makes people burst into tears whenever he sees them.

This classic quest narrative is adorned with wit, wordplay, and wild imagination as it takes the reader through one scrape after another in Riordanish style. It’s almost too much, and I get a sense sometimes of action happening for its own sake. But there are some interesting thoughts on the nature of magic and reality, like: “Magic is just the potential for creation. It follows no rules, and breaks them all. A world as complex and defined by its own rules as [Marrill’s], well, it cannot bear much contact with the raw stuff.” Events tie up pretty well at the end, with Marrill safely delivered home to her folks. However: “If the Stream is close enough for you to stumble upon it again, well, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.” I think we know what’s going to happen in vol. 2.

Cautions: Character issues (Fin turns his curse to his advantage by becoming a thief)

Overall rating: 3.75 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 3.5
  • Artistic value: 4

Categories: Fantasy, Adventure, Middle Grades

 

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Janie

Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

6 Comments

  1. M Dore on July 4, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Hi guys, do you know anything about the rest of the series? Some reviews on Amazon mention the introduction of a lesbian character in the second book. Just wondering how much this is stressed or how big a part it is to the storyline.

  2. MDore on June 13, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    I saw the same review on Amazon and it concerned me, but I did some research online (I figured if it was true someone somewhere would be praising it for its progressiveness) and didn’t find anything. So I read the book and I found nothing even remotely referencing sexuality in any way, let alone introducing a lesbian character – and I was specifically looking for it! Hope that helps.

  3. MDore on June 13, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Well, you can disregard my earlier comment! I must be getting old… I just realized that I was replying to myself as I was the one who originally posted the question.
    Also, I was just skimming back through the book to see if there was anything I missed and I did see that there are two women that are met briefly in passing that do appear to be a “couple”. One female character that is met earlier in the book resurfaces and introduces the main characters to the “missus” and calls the second woman “love”. The names are non-standard fantasy names so it is easy to miss that both characters are women (which is why I missed it the first time through.) So the caution is real, but it is not overly obvious, is not “featured”, and may well go over the heads of most children. Hopefully that helps clarify things and helps others who are considering the series.

    • Betsy on June 15, 2019 at 8:24 am

      Thanks for such a helpful comment! We love it when our readers contribute such information.

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