Monday, November 10, 2014

ARC Review: The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

Title: The Map to Everywhere
Series: Pirate Stream #1
Author: Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis
Published: November 4, 2014 by Little Brown Children's
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: To Master Thief Fin, an orphan from the murky pirate world of the Khaznot Quay, the Map is the key to finding his mother. To suburban schoolgirl Marrill, it's her only way home after getting stranded on the Pirate Stream, the magical waterway that connects every world in creation. With the help of a bumbling wizard and his crew, they must scour the many worlds of the Pirate Stream to gather the pieces of the Map to Everywhere--but they aren't the only ones looking. A sinister figure is hot on their tail, and if they can't beat his ghostly ship to find the Map, it could mean the destruction of everything they hold dear!

In Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis's first installment of a fantastical new series, adventure, magic, and hilarity collide in the treacherous skies and dangerous waters of the Pirate Stream. Heart-pounding escapades and a colorful cast of characters will have readers setting sail through this wholly original and unforgettable tale.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review in return. That fact has not changed my opinion ***

I was immediately attracted to The Map to Everywhere when I saw it on Netgalley. I mean the name map is right there in the title. You guys know, I love maps. But more than that it has been awhile since I read a Middle Grade Portal Fantasy and those are always books that I enjoy. The Map to Everywhere did not disappoint. It is a fun and engaging Middle Grade Fantasy with interesting characters and an action-packed plot.

I was quickly hooked on the tale of Marrill and Fin and their struggles to get back to and find their families. They were the perfect characters for this story. At first I was a little worried that they were going to be a cliche MG adventure story characters. The exposition set them up as kind of angsty but that changes pretty quickly into the story. I found them to be likable and sympathetic heroes with the perfect blend of adventurous and intelligent. I would say that I liked Fin a little more. He was just slightly more complex and quirky, he had this oddity about him that made me laugh and made me empathize with him at the same time. But the book also had some really interesting secondary with odd names. Among them the wizard Ardent, a creature called the Naysayer who was pessimistic but a realist, and a pretty sinister villain.

And these interesting characters seemed to perfectly fit in with the engaging and creative world of the book. Most of the book took place on the "Pirate Stream," a waterway that connects all worlds, think the "Wood Between the Worlds" in the Chronicles of Narnia but with water. And some of these worlds were so unique and for lack of a better word, fun. Everywhere that they traveled was and interesting and fun place with it's own quirks. The world-building did a have a bit too much info-dumping for my liking but I can let it slide in a Middle Grade novel. Plus the authors' did a phenomenal job in creating the setting. I could perfectly visualize everything they were explaining from a world of ice where even your words freeze, to a pirate world where you can sail through the wind, to an iron ship within a treacherous storm. I had an eARC copy and it looks like the finished copy is going to be full of amazing art work that will help create the world. Even without the artwork, I could visualize it so much, that it even seemed plausible. I will now be forever searching for my entrance into the Pirate Stream so I can sail it's waters and discover new lands.

As far as the plot goes, for me it was incredibly reminiscent of the classic MG Portal Fantasies like The Phantom Tollbooth, His Dark Materials, A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, and even Harry Potter. But these were the books that I used to love as a kid, the books that got me excited about reading. The plot in The Map to Everywhere, like these other books, is full of action and adventure. I found it extremely well plotted with a mysterious prophesy (which I am a sucker for in MG Fantasy) setting up the plot for the book. But the climax of the book brought it all together with little things being important and even ended up surprising me with it's twist, something some adult Mysteries haven't been able to do. For the first time in a long time I wasn't worried about solving the mystery and I was just along for the ride. I think this is a testament to how entertaining the plot of this book is. But it did feel a little long. There was a little too much exposition and some moments in the middle when things slowed down a little too much. By the end however, it was a page-turning adventure and I was so glad to be along for the ride!

I give The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis 8.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. I would definitely suggest picking this one up if you are a fan of MG Fantasies or looking for a gift for that reading loving pre-teen in your life. I think this would make the prefect book to read aloud to your younger children before bedtime. The characters are interesting, the world is creative, and the plot is engaging. On top of that the chapters are short so you can get through a few at a time without much hardship.

Have you read The Map to Everywhere? What did you think? If you haven't read it, what is your favorite Middle Grade Portal Fantasy? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I dont read a ton of MG but i will definitely check this one out!! xoxo

    1. I really enjoyed this one. I've kind of been blown away by some of the MG I've read lately. I'd say I should read more but then I'd probably not like it as much again!