Rich With Delight: Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett

Posted 11th January 2024 by Sia in Fantasy Reviews, Reviews / 0 Comments

Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands (Emily Wilde, #2) by Heather Fawcett
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Representation: Very minor M/M and F/F
PoV: 1st-person, past-tense
Published on: 16th January 2024
ISBN: 0593500202

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 who just wrote the world’s first comprehensive encyclopaedia of faeries. She’s learned many of the secrets of the Hidden Ones 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. And 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 dangers.

She also has a new project to focus on: a map of the realms of faerie. While she is preparing her research, Bambleby lands her in trouble yet again, when assassins sent by his 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 Bambleby’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.

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


~beware the foxes!
~(don’t???) follow the ribbons
~a lily pond in a teacup
~a singular foot
~to wed, or not to wed??? That is the question

I massively enjoyed the first book in this series, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries, and I am here to tell you that Map of the Otherlands is a very worthy sequel!

I don’t have anything smart to say about it; if you enjoyed the first book, you’re going to enjoy this one. Emily is still her wonderfully curmudgeonly self – she might be in love with a prince of Faerie, but she hasn’t let that change her; she still doesn’t care about her appearance, and she’s still more likely to snap and snarl than simper. And she’s still more than capable of, if not dealing with attacks from dangerous Folk, then certainly assisting in dealing with them, in gamechanging ways.

And we have new characters to add to the cast! This time around, Emily and Wendell are accompanied not just by Shadow (of course), but Emily’s niece, Ariadne (and really, if her father didn’t want her studying dryadology, why did he give her a name straight out of mythology???) and also the head of the dryadology department at their university, Rose. Ariadne is the sweetest of sweethearts, earnest and passionate and quite a good foil to Emily herself, while Rose seems like a teeth-gratingly Old White Man until, surprisingly, he isn’t. (By which I mean – he’s still old and white and a cis man. But he can learn!!! Give him a chance, even if he annoys you at first.) They both bring a lot to this second instalment; sometimes enlarging the cast can dilute the story, but that’s definitely not the case here. Ariadne is a delight, and among other things, Rose serves as a really good reminder to Emily and the reader that what she’s up to with Wendell is…incredibly not-normal.

You know, because the Folk are dangerous. And things usually don’t end well for the humans who fall in love with them.

In that way I think Rose is actually quite important to the book, because it’s so easy for us to…not forget that; the Folk give us plenty of reminders that they are not nice, safe, tame beings. But it’s natural to get swept up in the story, to assume a happy ending is guaranteed, to take Wendell as the exception to the rule of Don’t Mess With The Folk. These books are cosy! And fun! And Wendell is hilarious, fussing about tidying things and bemoaning the world that demands he rise from bed before noon; he’s not scary in the least, he’s endearing. So we do need Rose, to give us that bit of a wake-up call; to keep us from missing or dismissing all the bits of evidence that Wendell – and certainly the kingdom he wants to reclaim – are Dangerous As Hell, Actually.

We kind of have to stop and wonder, especially as that evidence builds up – is Emily doing the right thing, here? It’s definitely not the smart thing, but since when is love smart???

Speaking of the romance, I think Fawcett’s done something very clever with it here; for readers like myself who don’t really care for or about romance, it’s entirely possible to forget that there is a romance here, to sort of glaze over mentally and skim over the occasional mention of kisses and feelings. Whereas readers who do like romance can have their fill, since when you get right down to it Map of the Otherlands is driven by Emily’s love for Wendell and her desire to help him reclaim his kingdom. Oh, she’s definitely in it for the scholarly acclaim she’d earn by doing so, too…but that’s so obviously a secondary consideration for her, even if it takes her a little while to admit it to herself.

I think Encyclopaedia of Faeries was more straightforward than Map of the Otherlands; the latter revolves a bit more around the nature of the Faerie realms, as opposed to the Folk themselves, and honestly, of the two, the Folk are much easier to understand. Not that Fawcett bogs us down in dull minutiae or anything – the story here is never slow, or boring! – but it’s much harder to really get a grip on the way the various Fae realms co-exist, share borders, overlap, and/or have extremely casual relationships with time. I’m pretty sure Emily’s book of maps is doomed to failure, let’s put it that way.

There’s a magic cloak, and a magic scarf, and Emily is once again a one-woman armoury (even if she’s not forging a sword out of tears for Wendell this time, I was tickled pink when we discover how she’s carrying around weapons for him), and Map of the Otherlands is every bit as fun and perfect-to-snuggle-with as Encyclopaedia of Faeries ever was. Is it a bit more complex; does it go to some darker places? I think so. But it’s not deeply complex, and it’s not very dark, when all’s said and done. Just the right amount of both to make the story rich and interesting, as well as warm, funny, and delightful.

As I said; if you loved the first book, you’ll love this one!

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