- € 11,99
A mysterious map of another world plunges two friends into the adventure of a lifetime
"Suddenly the map darkened as if someone had dimmed the light.
'Did you see that?' whispered Billy.
A fetid wind came barreling out of the window and sand whipped around in the hole. The two of them watched in astonishment as the map trembled and inhaled.
'It's breathing,' gasped Nora. 'The map is breathing!'"
Nora Sweetkale has a strong feeling that her life is about to change. It starts when she receives a mysterious blank book in the mail. Then she meets Billy, who can make windows that look into other worlds. Through one of these windows they glimpse the lovely island of Sanasaera, where the colorful cats are as big as ponies and the cheerful people love nothing better than a good ear-pulling to clear their heads. Yet in this beautiful place lurks something terrible.
When Nora disappears into this other world, Billy is left to face the evil that has escaped into their own. But he can't do it alone. He must find a way to get Nora back, and quickly, or it may be too late, in Melanie Gideon's The Map That Breathed.
Gideon's first children's novel starts off with a tantalizing hook: young Nora receives an anonymous package containing a live bird, which turns into a book before her eyes. Over the next few days, she begins to develop a sinister bond with the book, despite its blank pages: separation produces pain. But the author abandons this story line for an overly ambitious, disjointed fantasy epic concerning another realm, an archipelago called Sanasarea. Nora meets Billy, who has the ability to open windows between the ordinary world and Sanasarea; she crosses through such a portal, at the same time allowing the Provisioner, a demonic figure who devours the souls of children, to enter her own small town in Rhode Island. The gruesome villain takes his captives in particularly disturbing scenes. Nora's background as an adoptee occasions a bit of mystery, and drama escalates to some degree as the Provisioner, freshly escaped from the titular map that held him for years, wreaks havoc. However, Sanasarea's social and mystic structures are unnecessarily complex, and an oddly pessimistic undertone of predestination makes the whole place seem arbitrary. The undoing of the Provisioner, while nicely handled, tips the hat to Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. As a whole, the book feels unfinished, with too many strands of story lying loose across the two landscapes. Ages 11-up.