The Unmapped Sea, by Maryrose Wood, was published in 2015 by Balzer + Bray. It is the sequel to The Interrupted Tale.
“A baby—blast!” Lord Fredrick Ashton may not feel ready to be a father, but with a little Ashton on the way, he’s sure about one thing: The wolfish curse on his family must end soon, before the child is born. Otherwise, he warns Miss Penelope Lumley, “a barking baby Ashton is just what we shall have.” Penelope takes on the challenge, for she knows that the fate of her own pupils is strangely bound to the fate of the moon-cursed Ashtons. The missing puzzle piece lies within the fading memory of an ancient mariner named Pudge, a resident of the old sailors’ home in Brighton. When Lady Constance’s doctor prescribes a seaside holiday, Penelope jumps at the chance to take the three Incorrigible children to Brighton. There, with the help of her friend Simon, she hopes to find out what Pudge knows. The Ashtons are not the only ones at the beach in January, however. The temperamental Babushkinov family is also taking the winter waters. The Incorrigibles may have been raised by wolves, but the Babushkawoos (as the children call them) are the wildest creatures they’ve ever seen. Is it more than mere coincidence that these untamed children have turned up in Brighton just as Penelope and the Incorrigibles arrive?
Finally, some answers! As much as I enjoyed the last couple of Incorrigible books, the lack of answers were frustrating and slightly dampened my enthusiasm for them. However, The Unmapped Sea answers almost every question that has been raised throughout the series and hints at the answers to the questions that are left.
And in answering questions, The Unmapped Sea not only does a great deal of plot progression, but also character development. Penelope begins to question the extent of her feelings for Simon, and lots of things happen between her and the Incorrigibles that promises good things for the next book. I also enjoyed the “situation change” that occurred at the end of the novel, as that will also most likely lead into some nice change of pace and a chance for the characters to step out of the tiring roles they’ve been in for the last five books.
With all that progression going on, I found The Unmapped Sea not quite as funny as some of the earlier books, but I didn’t mind. There were still some great moments, although I still haven’t decided whether the imaginary trip to Italy was the best or the most ridiculous scene of the series. But I enjoyed the book a lot, and I’m glad that it looks like the Incorrigible Children will step out a bit from the formula of the first five books and do something different for the sixth.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
“Let me see if I understand you properly, Jasper: Lady Constance pretends to believe we are taking our holiday in Brighton, which is true, although she thinks it is false. Meanwhile, she is convinced that the entire staff is playacting in order to conceal from her a trip to Italy that does not, in fact, exist.” Penelope shook her head. If only solving the mystery of the Ashton curse was this straightforward!