Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement.
Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands is the sequel to Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.
Emily Wilde has published the world’s first comprehensive encyclopaedia of faeries but she still has work to do. She’s promised to help exiled faerie king and colleague, Wendall Bambleby, find the door to his realm, and she has an idea for a map. She definitely doesn’t have time for university bureaucracy, meddling department heads, beribboned apparitions giving her riddles, or threats to Wendall’s life. Yes, someone is sending assassins to finish him off.
Do a pair of missing dryadologists hold the key to Wendall’s door? The only way to find out, is to follow in their footsteps, taking our intrepid academics to Austria, and beyond.
Were they actual doors, made of wood or stone, with a knob and frame and all the rest, the process would be simple: scour the countryside, opening each door we come upon and poking our heads inside until we locate the correct one. But what if a door can lie within any fold in the mountain, any ripple of fog?
Another charming adventure from Heather Fawcett! Having already established the characters and the fact that faeries are a thing that are seriously studied, the second instalment jumps right into the action and only improves upon the first book. As the story opens, Emily is trying to squash a faerie foot into her briefcase, while Wendall bemoans a hangover that appears to be affecting his magic.
Emily still hasn’t decided if she’ll accept Wendall’s proposal, although she has softened towards him a lot. Most of her ire is directed at Dr Farris Rose and her niece, Ariadne, the latter undeservedly so. Emily isn’t used to having an assistant, and despite Ariadne being very capable, Emily feels she’ll be a liability. However having someone to do the washing up is useful once they settle into their temporary home in the Austrian alps.
Now that the shock had worn off she seemed to view the attack as a thrilling tale ripe for scholarly documentation, and was already making notes on the subject. An entirely unhealthy response to an attempted murder, of course; I have never been more convinced that she has the making of a dryadologist.
The terrain might be more picturesque, but it can be just as hostile as Ljosland, both the weather and Folk alike.
I love that some of the Folk are depicted as both terrifying and adorable at the same time. Emily befriended Poe in Ljosland, and he makes another appearance, but she also manages to make a sort-of-friend out of faeries who tried to eat one of her companions. How does she do it?
The image of those nightmarish beasts appeased by a hail of carrots was too much for my frayed composure, and for a moment it seemed this would become another story I told at conferences or to rouse a laugh from my students. For the Folk are terrible indeed, monsters or tyrants or both, but are they not also ridiculous?
Maybe her magic cloak helps? Yes, while Emily was busy being annoyed at Wendall’s tailoring or her clothing, he added a little bit extra here and there. He also gifts Ariadne a magic scarf. Now where can I get one of those?
I’m so happy to hear there will be a book three!
Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands is published by Orbit and will be available in hardback, ebook and audiobook editions from 18th January 2024. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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