Map of Flames (The Forgotten Five #1)

Map of Flames (The Forgotten Five #1)
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Release Date
November 01, 2022
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Fifteen years ago, eight supernatural criminals fled Estero City to make a new life in an isolated tropical hideout. Over time, seven of them disappeared without a trace, presumed captured or killed. And now, the remaining one has died.
Left behind to fend for themselves are the criminals’ five children, each with superpowers of their own: Birdie can communicate with animals. Brix has athletic abilities and can heal quickly. Tenner can swim like a fish and can see in the dark and hear from a distance. Seven’s skin camouflages to match whatever is around him. Cabot hasn’t shown signs of any unusual power—yet.

Then one day Birdie finds a map among her father’s things that leads to a secret stash. There is also a note: 
Go to Estero, find your mother, and give her the map.
The five have lived their entire lives in isolation. What would it mean to follow the map to a strange world full of things they’ve only heard about, like cell phones, cars, and electricity? A world where, thanks to their parents, being supernatural is a crime?

Editor review

1 review
Trust yourself and your abilities.
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What worked:
The story is based on uncommon scenarios to generate interest and drama. Birdie is the main character and her parents along with the parents of her supernatural friends were criminals and fugitives from Estero City. All of the adults have now left or died so the kids must fend for themselves. The children possess unique powers such as communicating with animals and camouflage that makes one of them almost invisible. A letter from Birdie’s father creates uncertainty in her mind as she’s not sure who can be trusted with the new information. Traveling to Estero presents new mysteries as Birdie and Tenner notice strange coincidences and find a city much different from what they expect. They try to remain anonymous among the citizens but they’re unaware that they’re being spied on. Readers will ponder the identity of the stealthy people hiding among the shadows. Something’s not right between the president and the supernaturals.
The author creates a rift among the five children in a couple of ways. Returning to Estero is a debatable action and three of them don’t think it’s a good idea. Birdie and Seven are best friends, maybe more, but Seven isn’t willing to leave with her until he learns she’s been keeping a secret about their parents’ stolen stash. Birdie leaves with Tenner instead and he’d like to become a closer friend to her. The potential for conflict is created with both boys liking Birdie plus she’s not aware of Tenner’s feelings. Also, one set of parents was mean and dishonest and another set treated their son cruelly. The sons struggle to disassociate themselves from their parents’ stigma as they feel guilty by association for their parents’ evilness. The other characters try to be kind but they’re sometimes unsure how to speak to the boys.
A fun part of the book occurs when Birdie and Seven arrive in Estero and encounter modern conveniences they’ve never seen before. How are you supposed to know there are male and female restrooms if you’ve never seen them before? How are they to know signs show girls represented as triangles and boys displayed as sticks? What is the procedure for ordering food in a restaurant or buying clothes in a store if you never knew these places existed? How are you to understand taking books from a library without paying or the need for ID’s? The kids don’t understand why buildings are so tall and how people are able to reach the top since they’ve never heard of an elevator. Readers will enjoy watching the kids try to navigate these new experiences while trying to not stand out from everyone else.
What didn’t work as well:
This book seems like a stepping stone to a sequel as the main goal is to find Birdie’s mother. Other issues dealing with the president, supernatural thefts committed across multiple countries, and finding a hidden treasure take a back seat and are left for later. The objective of finding the treasure is mentioned throughout the story and isn’t brought to a satisfactory resolution in this book.
The Final Verdict:
Overall, this book is a very entertaining start to a new series as the supernatural characters experience the normal worries of young children while trying to resolve grown-up problems. Their abilities come with problems that aren’t always easily resolved. I recommend you give this book a shot.
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