Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Review: Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands (Emily Wilde #2) by Heather Fawcett


Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands (Emily Wilde #2) by Heather Fawcett
Del Rey
Publication Date: January 16th, 2024
Hardcover. 352 pages.

About Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands:

"Emily Wilde is a genius scholar of faerie folklore—she just wrote the world’s first comprehensive of encylopaedia of faeries. She’s learned many of the secrets of the Hidden Folk on her adventures . . . and also from her fellow scholar and former rival, Wendell Bambleby.

Because Bambleby is more than infuriatingly charming. He’s an exiled faerie king on the run from his murderous mother, and in search of a door back to his realm. So despite Emily’s feelings for Bambleby, she’s not ready to accept his proposal of Loving one of the Fair Folk comes with secrets and danger.

And she also has a new project to focus a map of the realms of faerie. While she is preparing her research, Bambleby lands her in trouble yet again, when assassins sent by Bambleby’s mother invade Cambridge. Now Bambleby and Emily are on another adventure, this time to the picturesque Austrian Alps, where Emily believes they may find the door to Bambley’s realm, and the key to freeing him from his family’s dark plans.

But with new relationships for the prickly Emily to navigate and dangerous Folk lurking in every forest and hollow, Emily must unravel the mysterious workings of faerie doors, and of her own heart."

Spoiler warning: There will be no spoilers for Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands. However, there will be spoilers for Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries, so please proceed with caution if you have not read the first book!

Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands picks up not too long after the first book when Emily and Wendell are back at Cambridge continuing their careers after the tumultuous and career-boosting events of the the first book.

This book is pretty much the embodiment of exactly what you want out of a sequel: everything you love, but more. We get more of Emily and Wendell’s banter, more of Shadow being a complete delight, and of course more Fae.

Much like in the first book, Emily and Wendell are off to travel to a new place to further Emily’s research, only this time we have two additional characters joining the trip, as well as slightly different stakes as Emily focuses in on finding the door back Wendell’s only Fae land. The effort to find Wendell’s door takes on new urgency as his mother, the reigning queen of Wendell’s kingdom, has begun to send assassins after him.

As mentioned, we do get to meet some new characters who join this journey, which adds a lot of interesting dynamics to all the different interrelationships and ends up creating a surprisingly enjoyable, if occasionally frustrating, time.

Emily is one of my favorite protagonists. I love the way  that she simply cannot help but be honest and forthright about just about anything, and even though she may not always be the most tactful while doing it, there is something very compelling about it since there is very clearly often no ill will meant. She doesn’t hide behind soft truths or general pleasantries and politeness, but rather states her observations and moves on, and as someone who struggles with speaking my mind I really respect that.

And then there’s Wendell, who brings nothing but joy and laughter to this story in all the best ways and continuously makes the story that much better every time he’s on the page. One of my favorite things about him is his ability to somehow always manage to have something to say that, even when a joke, is somehow also very true and honest. I really appreciate how much he seems to genuinely respect Emily and the different ways that she is uniquely herself, such as how she can be very particular about things and  how focused she is on her work. Wendell only ever seems to encourage and celebrate who she is with no pressure from him to try to change her or make her do things she doesn’t want to. The only exception to this is when he encourages her to maybe think differently about something or discourage her from doing something dangerous, but all the ways in which he does these things feel positive and more about growth than they are about changing who she is.

I adore the dynamic between Wendell and Emily and find it a very unique and compelling one, as well as one that feels very healthy. It’s a bit nontraditional for a couple different reasons, but it works absolutely perfectly. There is a very clear sense of trust between the two and it’s been such a joy to watch it develop over these two books so far.

It was also a pleasure (at times) to meet Rose and Ariadne and observe their addition to the group. In particular, I enjoyed seeing Rose’s dynamic evolve over the course of the story and how Heather Fawcett was able to showcase so many different sides of him. I think seeing Rose interact with Emily throughout the book also allowed us to see some different sides of Emily as well, which further developed her character and development.

And, of course, I couldn’t complete this review without discussing our return to the Fae and various Fae lands!  It's hard to say the stakes are higher or more intense in this book–given how high the stakes were in the previous book at times–but there definitely seemed to be more instances of risk and danger that I think really helped to showcase different types of dangers associated with the Fae. There are a lot of angry Fae in this book that cause a myriad of problems for our characters, especially given the various attempts of assassination targeted at Wendell.

I really liked getting to explore a new area in this book and another example of how a secluded town interacts with their local Fae and what their relationship is like with them. I think this book really delivered on exploring more about the Fae and some of the different traits and characteristics they can have, including the many different ways they can pose dangers to humans. All of our characters seemed to be in peril at some point in events involving the Fae at some point, which certainly added plenty of suspense. I’ve been thrilled by Heather Fawcett’s depiction of the Fae and how they can be both predictable and unpredictable, harsh, and everything in between, and I truly think she just captures the Fae so well.

Overall, I’ve given Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands five stars. It’s so easy to fall in love with this series, and I can wholeheartedly say that I have. I cannot recommend this series enough!

*I received a copy of Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Bookshop.org

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review, I also gave this 5 stars. I was surprised how my opinion of Rose changed as the story went along. I disliked him so much at first, but he grew on me.