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

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries was one of my favourite reads in 2023, so I was giddy when the sequel, Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands dropped through my letterbox.

Things I loved about the first book, if you need a recap:

  • The way the book blends historical fiction, fantasy, folklore, romance & mystery
  • Our protagonist Emily’s spiky demeanour
  • The scholarly tone & use of footnotes without
  • The dark undertone to what is mostly a cozy fantasy read

Mostly I think Heather Fawcett was onto something really unique with this book and I had high hopes for the sequel, whilst also being slightly worried about second book syndrome.

Turns out I needn’t have worried, because Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands stands strong in the series, retaining the same cozy vibes, whilst bringing a whole new set of characters, environment and plot to the scene. The fae are just as prickly and rambunctious, the magic is eerie and undeniably thrilling, and the pacing of this book is guaranteed to suck you in.

I actually think this book goes a step further and gives the only thing I would have liked to see more of in the first instalment, a deeper insight into Emily and Wendell’s relationship. I also loved the inclusion of Emily’s niece as a character, she provided some much needed conflict in Emily’s character, prompting some really satisfying growth in this book.

Whilst I missed some of the secondary characters of book one, and definitely the friendly villagers of Hrafnsvik, this book really continues to delve into faerie lore and myth, and I loved getting to hear more of these fairytales and fae warnings sprinkled throughout this book. The research undertaken for this book is very clearly expansive and thorough, and despite it’s academic tone, theme and footnotes, it doesn’t carry the weight and boredom of most academic style novels. As with the previous novel, the journal format works really well to bridge the gap between this academic style and creating a more interesting, relatable main character in Emily.

I think the real reason this series works so well, is that Heather Fawcett seems to have distilled some of the magic I felt reading fairytales as a child into a book for adults. Emily Wilde’s adventures are cosy escapism from the everyday that I for one will be recommending to anyone looking to keep that childlike wonder alive.


Thank you to the publishers for an advance copy.