Question of the Week

Do you use the maps that are included in some books?

Absolutely! Not only are some of the maps wonderfully detailed, for me it makes the reading an even richer experience. Of course, I’m one of those people who likes to collect maps, so it only makes sense that I’d enjoy following the characters’ journeys as I read.

Here are a few books/series with maps that I enjoyed:

Kushiel’s Dart – Jacqueline Carey
Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is
sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by
an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics,
foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to
observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy-and
unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens
her homeland, Terre d’Ange, she has no choice. Betrayed into captivity in
the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful
young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more
harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the
impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that
will take her to the edge of despair and beyond. Phédre nó Delaunay is
the woman who holds the keys to her realm’s deadly secrets, and whose
courage will decide the very future of her world. 

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally
radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical
abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an
ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of
the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians
became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself
dark, filthy, and crumbling. Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the
shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of
state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping – based on their correspondence –
to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is
considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last
remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless
religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status
to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has
come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden.
Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly
exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches
trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon,
and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

Spellwright/Spellbound – Blake Charlton
(summary for Spellwright) Nicodemus is a young, gifted wizard with a problem. Magic in his world
requires the caster to create spells by writing out the text . . . but
he has always been dyslexic, and thus has trouble casting even the
simplest of spells. And his misspells could prove dangerous, even
deadly, should he make a mistake in an important incantation. Yet he has
always felt that he is destined to be something more than a failed
wizard. When a powerful, ancient evil begins a campaign of murder and
disruption, Nicodemus starts to have disturbing dreams that lead him to
believe that his misspelling could be the result of a curse. But before
he can discover the truth about himself, he is attacked by an evil which
has already claimed the lives of fellow wizards and has cast suspicion
on his mentor. He must flee for his own life if he’s to find the true
villain. But more is at stake than his abilities. For the evil that has
awakened is a power so dread and vast that if unleashed it will destroy
Nicodemus… and the world.

The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
“If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western
world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an
interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little
courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey
and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of
Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was
still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the
path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) —
if you do not already know all about these things — much about trolls,
goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and
politics of a neglected but important period. For Mr. Bilbo Baggins
visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon, Smaug the
Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the
Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit.
Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps
because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this
account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the
otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the
estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like

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