Reviews

The Map of Stars, by Laura Ruby

the_dragon_starback's review against another edition

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5.0

There is so much to say about this excellent end to the York trilogy/saga, but most of it involves spoilers. Three things that I loved about this third and final instalment (not necessarily in order of importance): the book is physically beautiful (I love the way that each cover is more colourful than the previous book), the ending was fittingly momentous, and I loved all the characters.

Now, I was a little apprehensive about the friction between Jaime and the twins that was promised in the synopsis because I generally don't love mistrust between main characters (how do I manage to read any fiction books at all? I have no idea). Thankfully, it all felt real and unforced and and there were lovely moments of "normal" (HA! normal isn't even a word in these books) interaction between them even in that tension.
Aside from the main characters, there were appearances from many of the brilliant supporting characters that I love and admire (Aunt Esther! Imogen Sparks! Auguste!!!), and there were MORE new characters that were fun and cool and everything I want from York characters.
Honestly, the characters are my favourite part of the York trilogy, so even if the ending wasn't what it was supposed to be, I probably would be satisfied simply because of the characters that made their appearance in The Map of Stars.

In fact, I do think the cipher solution worked. But I like that by the time the cipher is solved, it really isn't about solving the cipher anymore, but it's about something bigger. Does that mean the ending made perfect sense to me? Not at all. Does this bother me? Not particularly . . . because it just means that I get to read this trilogy over and over again and have new thoughts and ideas each time.

Laura Ruby's wide-ranging imagination and vision combined with her attention to detail and excellent writing is fully on display in this trilogy and in this book, and it continually astounds me.
Five stars, no question about it.

ohhellored's review

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adventurous emotional mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25

heather62's review

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3.0

Better than the 2nd book but could have left out some characters/a plot and been the better for it. Still this was a good series and the alternate universe theory was great.

pammi's review

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5.0

What an ending!!!

lawralthelibrarian's review against another edition

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adventurous lighthearted mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

goldenbeebookshop's review against another edition

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4.0

3.75 rounded up?
I really love this series and the world-building involved in showing this alternate version of NYC, but the last 100 pages or so left me a little perplexed. It felt as though there were going to be 4 books and suddenly it got pared down to 3.
Spoilers for the previous books and this book below.
SpoilerThings that worked great in this book:
-I loved getting to see Tess and Theo as adults and what NYC looked like in a future that could very easily be ours. One of the (many) reasons we left NYC was because the hurricanes were such a problem. I completely understood why Tess and Theo would go back and try to create a more sustainable world and it made me enjoy the world they ultimate grew up in all the more.
-Discovering that Ava was so powerful and akin to immortal because of the solar cells that were grafted onto her after a fire. I liked that there was a sense of conflict within her about the sadness that comes with immortality and the ability it gives you to do good for other people and to put your ideas into the world with a greater context.
Things that didn't work for me:
-I wanted more of Aunt Esther's story. She seemed like she knew more about the cipher than we really got to see in the book. It made me wonder if we would have gotten more of her and Grandpa Ben's stories if there had been a fourth book.
-Merry- to introduce her, her father, and their game, then not give anymore context or information and have them turn out to be the "true" villains over Slant was really confusing. I couldn't tell if this was supposed to be a big twist that fell flat, or again, something that would have been developed with more story.
-The mechanical creatures and the guildmen- why not explore the hows and whys of what the Morningstars created? And why were they suddenly not really working anymore on the trains? It felt like so many were created/released just for the purpose of the epic battle at the end, which didn't work for me.
-That battle at the end felt like it was stuck on for the sake of having a battle. The doctor experimenting on animals- I don't really get what his goal was other than killing people?
- The time travel- did Jamie hop into an alternate timeline? If he didn't and he only went back to the beginning of that summer, then how is his mom alive? It's great that he gets to see her, but what does that mean for Tess and Theo going back in time? Given Jamie's roll in working through the cipher I would have loved to see what the three of them might create as adults.
Did Jamie's mom send the schematics to Tess and Theo?
What does Ava want out of her travels?
I don't know if I have these many questions because I'm an adult reading a middle grade book, or because there really should have been a fourth book!

jmross10's review against another edition

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

familyandbooks's review

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3.0

Enjoyable. But it felt like it lost steam towards the end. So much so I had to read the last 4 chapters twice to make sure I'd not missed anything. Unfortunately not. The ending was just lack lustre. I'm kinda frustrated because we had three books with interest puzzles and mysteries. For the ending to be so blasé.

cchu1215's review

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3.0

A great conclusion to the trilogy; I liked that while some questions are answered, not all things are neatly concluded, much like real life. A problem with reading fiction these days however, is that the dire predictions of climate change feel all too real and no longer like fiction.

aprildiamond's review

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5.0

And so concludes the only series so far where I thought every book was 5 stars.

This final episode was incredible. I couldn't put it down. The questions get answered, the stakes get higher, and everything (literally everything, even from the first book) gets connected in the most intense way possible.

The
Spoileroriginal timeline
was WAY too real. That was the first place where I was DEVASTATED, man. It was so sad. And then the ending,,,, I cried omg. I felt everyone's pain. Ava's, Tess's, Theo's, Jaime's. And I think it makes sense. The king's secret move is castling, after all.

This is how I think everything happened:
SpoilerIn the original timeline, Renee is killed/targeted (I don't think it was an accident) so she sends the note and the design to Tess and Theo. They use it to go back to the Industrial Revolution, become the Morningstarrs, create the Cipher, and fix everything.
In the Cipher timeline, which is the one we've been following, the original problems are gone but there are still issues, like how Renee is still dead, Slant, Hunter, etc. However it's nowhere near as bad as the catastrophe of the original timeline. This time Jaime and Ava go back.
In the final timeline, I don't think they go all the way back?? Maybe it was just Ava because Jaime seems that he got there right from where the first book starts. Like, he's confused and out of it, still thinking it's the Cipher timeline. Theo (and probably Tess too) seems like he's about to remember everything, going through instances of deja vu. Overall, this is the final and correct timeline because those new problems have been erased, no Slant, Renee is alive, 354 W 73 is still up. So it was necessary for both the twins and Jaime to go back for EVERYTHING to be correct.
Not sure if this is correct, just how I thought everything worked.


There are so many meanings to this book, and I couldn't even begin to get into them all. But one that really hit me was when Hunter Roberts tried to blame all the problems on the Morningstarrs despite them fixing everything. Of course it wasn't their fault, they saved the world from destruction, but he didn't live that, so he would never know what could have happened and so blamed them for his personal gain. It was WAY too real.

The writing, the themes, the emotions, and most of all, the sense of hope through the chaos that you get from this book, they were all beautiful. I would give this book more stars if I could.

(side note my headcanon Ava is Janelle Monáe because, I mean, look at her. she'd be perfect wtf)


Anyway as I've said a million times this series is amazing. And I'm so sad that it's over but it's been a good run :)