Happy Book Birthday and welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for Mapmakers and the Lost Magic by Cameron Chittock and Amanda Castillo. I absolutely love this cover and the story sounded fun – plus, it’s unlikely I’ll ever say no to a graphic novel!
Thank you to Cameron Chittock, Amanda Castillo and Random House Graphic for providing me with an ARC for this review.
Cameron Chittock is a writer from northeast Ohio. He grew up surrounded by siblings, wildlife, and comics of all kinds. Cameron’s writing is possible thanks to patient teachers, encouraging friends, and a supportive family. His favorite stories are those of heroes and friendship. Cameron previously edited comics, including titles such as Mech Cadet Yu, the Eisner Award–nominated graphic novel New World, and Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal. He now lives in New England and works in education. When he’s not writing, he enjoys coaching basketball, reading giant fantasy books, and sitting by the pond with his family. Mapmakers and the Lost Magic is his debut graphic novel.
Amanda Castillo is a comic artist, illustrator, and storyteller, born and raised in the Bay Area in California. Having grown up inspired by piles of manga, games about friendship and adventure, and the endless wonders of the California outdoors, Amanda went on to study illustration to hone a skill set to tell warm and heartfelt stories that could be enjoyed and remembered by someone like you! After getting into the comics world through working with Youth in Decline, Amanda has since contributed to publishers such as BOOM! Studios, Lion Forge, and now Random House Graphic. In addition to making comics, Amanda has shown work in galleries domestically and helped judge annual comics awards. When not making comics, Amanda enjoys spending time with friends and loved ones, making warm and hearty meals, learning to tend to plants, and taking in the lovely moments the world has to offer. Mapmakers and the Lost Magic is their debut graphic novel.
About The Book
Title: Mapmakers and the Lost Magic
Author: Cameron Chittock
Illustrator: Amanda Castillo
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Publishing Date: April 26th, 2022
Page Length: 256
Age Range: Middle Grade
A young girl finds herself faced with an impossible choice–run away from her beloved valley, or unleash a hidden magic and become a Mapmaker to save her home from its new overlords.
For centuries, the Mapmakers kept peace in the Valley, but they’ve long since disappeared. Now the Night Coats hold power with an iron grip–there are only rules, punishments, and consequences. Until one night, on the run from the Night Coats (again), after breaking another rule (again), Alidade stumbles upon a secret door leading to a magical hideaway that belongs to the Mapmakers. There, she finds a map of her home and accidentally brings to life Blue, a magical creature called a memri who is meant to protect the Valley. Blue needs Alidade’s help to find the Mapmakers and save the Valley from the Night Coats!
But the Mapmakers are long gone.
Alidade has a choice: leave the Valley like she’s always wanted…or become a Mapmaker and save the only home she’s ever known.
This is the first book in a thrilling series of adventures where Alidade discovers the world around her as she goes on a fantastical journey.
This was a nice middle grade graphic novel to pick up in between my larger books this month. A fairly simple story about leaving nothing more than a footprint behind in nature, although told well for the age group.
Al, or Alidade, along side Blue and Lewis try to save the town from the oppressive Night Coats. The town seems pretty complacent with the town rules because it’s the way it has always been. The secondary message from Cameron and Amanda seemed clear: just because it’s always done that ways doesn’t mean it’s the best way.
The Magic and the world seemed to only briefly be introduced and we’ll get to learn more in future volumes. There was no explanation of how the magic worked, just a feeling of right. Although how maps were created, the rules involved were explained – and that does seemed to be linked to the magic.
Al was interesting and determined, but I felt little connection to her. Same with Lewis. No the one I was most curious about was Blue, the magical, albeit crotchety Herring (Crane? I’m guessing Herring because he’s named Blue). He fit the wise old mentor perfectly and he clearly grew to care for Al.
The art work was cute and fit the overall feel and tone of the graphic novel. I felt it had a softer colours and linework that worked well for the natural setting. I loved the detailed in the full page spreads, especially.
Although not a topic I typically gravitate towards, I did enjoy the story and overall message. I think environmental educational books are important for this age group and a graphic novel with magic would have been the best way for me to digest this topic at this age.
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