Every Wednesday, people from all over the bookish world gather ’round to share their top 5 lists concerning whatever theme that week. All under the watchful eye of the Mother of all Top5’s, Lainey. This week, I wandered along my shelves, picking up books and leafing through them, looking for stunning maps.
It’s almost a given, these days. You pick up a Fantasy-esque novel and shazam, a map gracing the pages. I like a beautiful map just like the next one, but whereas I can appreciate a map for the piece of art that it is and while it can enhance my understanding of the world, I don’t think it necessary for the book in general. As an author, you should be able to guide me through your world without me needing to consult a map every other page. That being said, if a book has a map, it better be a good one, cause a half-arsed one is quite off-putting. On my stroll along the bookcases, I came across some beautiful pieces – also some dull ones, but that’s for another Top5. So let’s take a look at what I find to be five of the prettiest/best maps on my shelves.
5. David Hair, Moontide Quartet
This map made it on the list, not because of the land itself, cause it’s not particularly splendid, but for the details. I like how thought and effort was put into the frames who depict the names of the continents, the compass card, the dotted line and the sea creatures. It takes an ordinary map to a whole new level.
4. Adrian Tchaikovsky, Shadows Of The Apt
When talking about details, the maps from Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series should not be forgotten. These maps are not only beautifully detailed, but the latter books in the series have maps that are ‘updated’. They depict the lay of the lands after certain events and/or wars have happened.
The world is also grand, so there are maps for different areas.
3. Brent Weeks, Lightbringer
This map is a very simple one, but it’s very pleasing to the eye. The little details and the elegant font do it for me.
2. Brandon Sanderson, Stormlight Archive
I love this map. It’s a piece of beauty in my book and when I opened it, I knew it had to make the list. Once again the details really drew me to it. It’s no mere drawing to fill the first few pages, but an effort was made to really make those pages a piece of art. Look at the border, even the different shades of grey that were used to colour the map..
It’s no secret that anything Brandon Sanderson does is nothing less than gold, and this map only proves that fact.
1. Terry Pratchett, Discworld
I don’t think I need to provide much text for my number one. The Discworld map is stunning, and not only this map, but the more detailed pieces are jawdroppingly gorgeous. Much like Brandon Sanderson, I think Terry Pratchett is no less than a wizard, so perhaps I’m slightly biased when it comes to his works, but when I see this map, or Death’s Domain, or Ankh Morpork, or .. I can only nod approvingly and be in awe of the craft of one of the Masters.
Bonus. J.K. Rowling, Marauder’s Map
Since the Marauder’s Map is part of the story and not a map in the sense that the previous five are actual maps, I didn’t include it in my Top5. Nonetheless I wanted to add it here, cause no map can compare to the Marauder’s Map. Not only is it a beautiful piece of parchment, it’s also wickedly brilliant.
Click here for a complete list of all the participants in T5W.