Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett

Buy Emily Wilde’s Map of the Motherlands here – U.S. | U.K.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: When mysterious faeries from other realms appear at her university, curmudgeonly professor Emily Wilde must uncover their secrets before it’s too late in this heartwarming, enchanting second installment of the Emily Wilde series.

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 marriage. 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.

FORMAT/INFO: Emily Wilde’s Map of the Motherlands will be published on January 18, 2024 and January 16, 2024 by Orbit Books in the U.K. and Del Rey Books in the U.S. respectively. It will be available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett is a sufficiently fascinating new installment in the curmudgeonly professor’s adventures with the fae.

The previous entry, EMILY WILDE’S ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF FAIRIES was a cozy and dark read, and this is one sequel I’ve been salivating for, ever since the first book ended with the promise of another. I wasted no time hunting for the cover, and asked for a review copy the first chance I got, and made it as priority as soon as I could. While Heather Fawcett continues to enchant in this book, it wasn’t the brilliantly dazzling read the previous was.

Heather Fawcett deftly expands the scope of the world, while keeping the whimsy and comfort of the previous book. For the most part that is. This time, Emily and Wendell, with a retinue, go to the snowy mountains and crevices of Austria determined to get some answers, and also find additions to the map of the faerie lands that she wants to publish. Because the main characters and their temperaments are already established in book one, there is no time wasted, and it’s almost straight to the action.

While Emily is still the main-est of main characters, it is Wendell and his charm that shines whenever he is on the page. His theatrics, compulsion for cleanliness, love for scrumptious fare, and laziness add an excellent flavour to the story. Emily is as determined and resourceful as ever, but it is really his royal attitude that makes this the entertaining read it is, and the entourage they travel with includes two new characters for good measure. One however, simply seems a cartoonish villain included to spice things up and add difficulty to their travels. The locals aren’t as involved, but we meet one familiar endearing character who put a smile on my face as soon as they entered the quest.

There’s also a lot more romance in this book, and we get to see Emily’s softer side. She tries, I’ll give her that, but again, Wendell won my heart with a beautifully written line, and it has to be one of the most loving things I’ve read. While this is a hasty adventure, there are pacing issues. The story starts quick, slows down, goes around in a bit of a circle, and gets better toward the end, but what ate away at me the most what that it reads like the journal was filled in by an entirely different character. 

CONCLUSION: Had the tone of narration and pace of the first book been maintained, this wouldn’t have suffered the second-book syndrome that it does. Though there is a welcome increase in scope and danger from the first instalment. this mostly reads like a rushed work that connects book one to three.

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