As mentioned earlier this week the first blog in “February Fiction Month” is about fantasy maps in books. We use maps to find our way in a new place (or Google Maps, whichever you prefer 😉 ). But they are used very frequently in books too, especially in the fantasy genre. Fantasy books are one of my favourites because you get to explore a whole new world. I have a hard time determining which I like best. High up the list are: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling(of course), Stravaganza by Mary Hoffman, and The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan. Both The Black Magician Triology and the Stravaganza books have maps at the beginning, the perfect start to a fantasy novel.
Especially The Black Magician Triology is a great example of how maps can add to the story. The setting of the books is complete fiction (not like Harry Potter where some parts take part in the real, err..Muggle world). Sachaka, Elyne, Imardin, they are all unknown countries and places to us and for visualising the story it makes it easier if you can refer back to the maps. Trudy Canavan published several maps per book to let you explore these worlds or to use as a reference. How exactly did they travel again? Wait…was that country to the north or the south? It makes life a bit easier and reading also more fun.
Other books, such as Forest of Whispers by Jennifer Murgia, mix fantasy with the real world. Castle Eltz is an existing castle, but whether Matilde’s cottage is real…I guess we’ll never know. The map that is included in this book combines those fantasy elements perfectly with what we know in the real world. The look and feel of it makes me want to wander off to the Black Forest (Germany) real soon.
There are so many different varieties when it comes to fantasy maps. The most extensive map is probably from The Lord of the Rings. A digital version (including timelines and explanations!) can be found online. What are some of your favourite (fantasy) books that have maps included? Do you, just like me, go through the whole map front to back before you have actually read any of the chapters?