The Map of the Sky by Felix J Palma, narrated by James Langton
Published in audio by Simon and Schuster Audio, published in print by Atria, both imprints of Simon and Schuster
This is the second book in the Map of Time series. I previously reviewed the first book, The Map of Time. This review may contain some spoilers for previous books in this series.
There is a Whole Lot going on in this story. I mean, it is over 600 pages in hardcover and over 2o hours in audio. This being the case, I’m going to give you the publisher’s synopsis so I don’t inadvertently include spoilers:
A love story serves as backdrop for The Map of the Sky when New York socialite Emma Harlow agrees to marry millionaire Montgomery Gilmore, but only if he accepts her audacious challenge: to reproduce the extraterrestrial invasion featured in Wells’s War of the Worlds. What follows are three brilliantly interconnected plots to create a breathtaking tale of time travel and mystery, replete with cameos by a young Edgar Allan Poe, and Captain Shackleton and Charles Winslow from The Map of Time.
Thoughts on the story:
Palma integrates disparate pieces of his story much better in The Map of the Sky than he did in The Map of Time. Perhaps it was partly that I knew more of what to expect, but this time around he seemed to avoid the rambling exposition which occasionally plagued the first book in this series. Not only that, Palma seems to be the absolute master of his narrative in The Map of the Sky. Threads are introduced and seemingly abandoned, only to be picked up later in ways that are nothing short of brilliant.
Thoughts on the audio production:
Oh, James Langton, the only problem with this series is I’m not sure I can ever listen to you in anything else, you so perfectly encapsulate Palma’s cheeky third person omniscient narrator. Occasionally when Palma goes a bit too much into exposition, you keep things light, fun, and moving forward. I can’t imagine anyone else narrating these books and you make 20-odd hours fly by in the blink of an eye.
Really, though, the production is wonderfully smooth, and Langton’s narration even more so.
I listened to The Map of the Sky in fewer days than most audiobooks half its length because it is just So. Good. Although I enjoyed The Map of Time, The Map of the Sky is definitely the better of the two and it is even better in audio. Highly recommended.
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