Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands is as enjoyable a read as it’s predecessor, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faerie. I found that I liked spending time with Emily, Wendell, and Shadow even in the places where the plot dragged a bit. Emily is as prickly as ever, and I love her all the more for it. The marriage proposal remains unanswered, but Wendell remains delighted by her. I only wish there had been a few more of the “my dear dragon” endearments.
Emily and Wendell are back at Cambridge and getting ready to look for a backdoor to Wendell’s kingdom in the Otherlands. This is made more necessary when the Faerie Queen’s assassins try to kill Wendell after poisoning him at his birthday party. Wendell is deeply offended by this violation of his birthday. Now that Emily knows for sure that Wendell is a deposed faerie king, he is less interested in keeping his secret and is freer with his magic.The head of the Dryadology department, Dr. Rose, calls into question all of Emily’s work, accusing her of being as loose with the truth as Wendell. His evidence being that her observations of the Folk in Ljosland are contrary to the commonly accepted scholarship.
If there is a moral to these books, it’s don’t underestimate beings or dangers. Emily’s confidence in herself is one of her finest attributes, and she rarely underestimates those around her. When she does, she learns quickly that she has made a Mistake and that Mistake happened because she underestimated the danger of faerie. But more often, she is able to use the dismissiveness of others for her benefit. Emily is a remarkable scholar because she doesn’t look at the Folk only through the lens of “commonly accepted scholarship.”
I’m going to go off on a tangent here about how to show someone is remarkably skilled in a book. I get so irritated as a reader when I am told that someone is the best at what they do and then in the action of the book they are terrible at that thing. In contrast, only Emily and Wendell think she’s the best at what she does, but as readers, we see her in action and we see the way that changes her understanding of the Folk based on her experience with them. As a reader, I find this so much more satisfying.
CW: poisoning, violence, animal attack, assassination attempts, faerie attacks on humans
I received this as an advance reader copy from Random House Publishing and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.