Goodreads: The Mapmakers
Series: The Hatmakers #2
Age Category: Middle Grade
Source: ARC from publisher
Published: May 2022
Cordelia Hatmaker has managed to stop a war, but the Maker families are still divided and her seafaring father is still missing. Each night she travels under the stars, trying to decipher the map he left behind for her, trying to find her way to him. Then the dangerous traitor Lord Witloof disappears from the scaffold, throwing the nation into chaos and threatening magic everywhere. Only the Makers uniting can stop him–but that seems like an impossible task indeed. Sequel to The Hatmakers.
The Mapmakers takes readers back to the enchanting world of The Hatmakers, where five powerful guilds work to create magical items of clothing that can do anything from curing stage fright to making a person nigh invisible. Tamzin Merchant uses all her wit and whimsy to make this world come alive, expanding the scope of the story as new places, new characters, and new types of magic are introduced. Though some aspects of the story seem a bit undeveloped or rushed, on the whole, The Mapmakers is a charming tale–just the type of fantasy I like to curl up with at night.
This story begins right where the last one left off, with young Cordelia Hatmaker still convinced that her father did not die at sea, but that he is alive and sent her a map to find him. Meanwhile, the nation is still recovering from Lord Witloof’s treachery, and the Maker guilds are still refusing to work together. Familiarity with the first book is recommended, as The Mapmakers spends no time recapping previous events or reminding readers who characters are or what their relationships are. It is all action from the start.
A bit of whimsy does seem lost in this new tale, however, as there is less focus on the Maker guilds and their particular types of magic. Instead, Merchant expands her world, showing that other types of magic, and plenty of magical places also exist–as does a secret society of Mapmakers, dedicated to preserving those places. These plot points feel a bit more standard and less original than the ones in the previous book; I would have preferred a book that required Cordelia to use her magical hats more, since that is what is unique about the series. By the time characters are joining secret societies to find hidden keys to access portal worlds, it just feels less inventive.
Even so, The Mapmakers is a charming book. The Maker guilds are still there, as are all the characters readers have come to know and love. Though I preferred book one, I still enjoyed book two–and I am most decidedly hoping for a book three.