Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett fantasy book reviewsEmily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett fantasy book reviewsEmily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett

This review of Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands contains spoilers for Book One, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries. Heather Fawcett’s second book, published in 2024, advances the adventures of scholars Emily Wilde and Wendell Bamblely as they prepare to embark on a perilous quest. It also introduces some new characters to the mix, and I’ll be interested to see if they appear again in the third book of the series.

It’s been a little over a year since Emily’s adventures in Ljosland, and things are going well for her and her partner Wendell Bambleby. Emily’s encyclopedia has been published and she has gained tenure at Cambridge. One fly in the ointment is that her niece Ariadne has come to the university and made herself Emily’s assistant. Emily doesn’t really know what to do with an assistant, and she doesn’t want anyone to stumble across the secret she and Wendell are keeping; that he is a deposed faerie prince, and he and Emily plan to find the door to his kingdom and mount a campaign to regain the throne from his usurper stepmother.

When the book opens, Emily thinks she has found an important clue to the location of Wendell’s door. As she crosses the campus, she is accosted by a strange, beribboned man who seems to know her. He spouts nonsense and vanishes. Although that behavior is in keeping for the faeries, Emily’s instinct is that the man is human. Soon, however, more immediate concerns distract her. Wendell is suffering from the effects of a magical poison; Dr. Farris Rose, the Department Head, has uncovered proof that Wendell falsified some of his scholarly findings, and moments after he confronts Emily, all of them are attacked by faerie assassins. While they survive, the truth of Wendell’s identity is out of the bag now. When Emily and Wendell prepare to leave immediately for Germany, where Emily believes Wendell’s door is, Rose horns in on the expedition, and Ariadne also insists on coming.

While the primary storyline is about finding the door and saving Wendell, who grows weaker every day, there is an important secondary storyline about a long-missing scholar, Danielle de Grey and the beribboned man. More faerie folk are introduced, and scarier ones. I worried that the addition of Rose and Ari would dilute the story and its suspense, but both characters added strengths and complications. Rose, a hidebound traditionalist, distrusts Wendell and assumes that Emily is under a spell, not merely in love with him. In fact, the strength of this series is the depiction of Wendell as truly a faerie. While he’s assimilated pretty well, his values aren’t human ones, and it makes him a precarious ally, even though there’s no doubt he loves Emily.

As his condition worsens, Wendell reveals that his magical cat is probably the only thing that can save his life. There are a few problems with this solution. The first is that Emily is emphatically not a cat person. More seriously, Orga, the cat, is in Wendell’s enchanted realm, in the castle held by his stepmother. Emily makes a dangerous decision and sets off on her own hero’s journey, entering Wendell’s kingdom with Ari by her side.

I enjoyed this outing even a little more that the first book, but you must read the first book to truly grasp all the points made. The character of de Gray was introduced via footnotes in Book One, and she plays an important role here. While Emily makes her usual human-centric mistakes, it’s her nerve and her intelligence that serves her best when she confronts the usurper queen. Rose becomes a multi-dimensional character who is more than a huffy adversary.

I am looking forward to the third book in this fun series.

Published in January 2024. 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.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.

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