Map- Morning Star -Pierce Brown

At the moment I am on holidays at my parent’s place and do not have all my books with me but of the thirty-two fantasy novels that are here all save for three have a map at the beginning. Some, like “Nevernight” by Jay Christoff, even have more maps, one or two at the beginning and one at the end of the book. I know that Tolkien, one of the progenitors of fantasy, had a map at the  beginning  of his trilogy “The Lord of the Rings“ and at the beginning of “The Hobbit” but is that really the only reason nearly all those modern fantasy novels have a map? Is it simply a fashion accessory to make the book look fancy or are they of additional value for the reader?


To be honest I always thought that the maps are superfluous and that I rarely look at them in detail, but just recently I read a book which didn’t have a map and guess what happened? Right, I would have liked to look at a map. The protagonists were travelling around a lot and their quest took them to many different places. As I didn’t have the possibility to look up where exactly they were, I really started missing a map in that book. This incident made me think about my relationship to maps in fantasy books and why they’re deemed necessary. Of course, most stories are set in imagined worlds that are often based on real land- and city-scapes. So it’s easier for the reader to find her way in this imaginary world if there is a map that helps giving direction. Especially when the characters are moving around a lot. Naturally you need in-depth descriptions of the places to know what kind of place it is. Once that is established a map helps you remember what kind of place or landscape it is. Like this you can easily find your way around and those maps help you remembering which is what and who is where, even if you have to take a break in reading the book. The best example I can think of is “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R.Martin. There has passed much time between the first publications of the different volumes of the series that the map really helps you remembering what is what and who is where, especially as the book covers intertwining stories spread across a whole continent  and beyond.

Some maps are restricted to the very basic features. Most maps are beautifully rendered and always make me wonder if the authors make them themselves or if they are made by someone who is a professional artist or map maker.

I suppose you only realise that you really look at them and like or even need those maps, when you would like to look at one but don’t have one.


Although I still don’t often look at the maps in detail and don’t think they are a must have for a fantasy book, I have to conclude that they’re a good asset and can add to the books depth and beauty.

Books the pictures of the maps are taken from: 

  1. „Morning Star“ by Pierce Brown. ISBN: 978 1 444759075
  2. „Nevernight“ Jay Kristoff. ISBN: 9780008180010
  3. „Nevernight“ Jay Kristoff. ISBN: 9780008180010
  4. „Nevernight“ Jay Kristoff. ISBN: 9780008180010
  5. „A Dance with Dragons“ George R.R. Martin ISBN: 9780553801477
  6. „Blood Heir“ Amélie Wen Zhao ISBN: 978059118474