What are the first things you look at when you first buy a book? A couple things I do is take the dust jacket off, to see if there is any cool “secret” art underneath, read the author bio in the back, and check if there’s a map!
I get a weird sense of happiness when I discover a map in a book. I love studying the map for a while, because often they are just so detailed! And since today is #mapmonday over on the Gram, I thought I’d dedicate a post to a few of my favorite maps, and the illustrators that put so much effort and creativity into making these worlds real.
First up is this beautiful map that’s included in King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. The reason why I love it so much is because first of all, it is super detailed. I love a good high-detail map. Second, if you own all the books in the Grishaverse you’ve probably noticed that this map has gotten quite the glow up since Shadow and Bone. Furthermore, the places on this map mean so much more now that I know more about the world outside Ravka.
While I’m already in the Grishaverse, I thought I’d also include a (very low quality) picture of Ketterdam. The reason why I love this map of Ketterdam so much is not necessarily because of what it looks like, but more because I am Dutch and Kerch is based on the Netherlands, with Ketterdam obviously being based on Amsterdam. Ketterdam looks nothing like Amsterdam on this map, but it was still easy for me to imagine the canals, the countless bridges, and the architecture of the city.
As a fun side note, I had to study Dutch history a lot, and one of my favorite periods to study was the Dutch republic during and after the 80-year war with Spain. While reading Six of Crows, and especially Crooked Kingdom, I noticed a lot of similarities between Ketterdam and 17th century Amsterdam, like appreciation for the arts, politics, and the high amount of international trade.
Itreya and Godsgrave
At first I only planned to include a map of Godsgrave, but then I looked at the map of Itreya again and thought “nope, gotta include that one too.”
I think these two are my all time favorite maps. I think I love them mostly because they are so incredibly detailed. I’m not even sure how anyone could come up with such a beautiful rendition of a world that someone else made in their mind. I also love all the little details on the edges. And I also obviously love that Godsgrave is visibly shaped like a fallen humanoid god.
If you haven’t read Nevernight and/or Godsgrave yet, I highly recommend you do. You might cry, but you will also laugh because Jay Kristoff is an amazing author.
Map of All
Lastly, another one of my favorites is the Map of All, which was included in Stephanie Garber’s Finale. This map of Valenda features more details and little easter eggs than the original map in Legendary. Like I said, I love studying the maps before reading the book, so it was fun to look at places such as “highly intelligent dog” and “entrance to the Immortal Library,” and then actually reading about what these places meant later in the book. Also, including “Valenda’s finest fish fudge” is just plain funny.
These are most of my all time favorite bookish maps! Let me know if you have any favorite maps as well!