Right after the title page.
(Cue choirs singing in the background)
|Anne McCaffrey's Pern|
Yes folks, the all-powerful, pulse-reducing, sigh-of-relief-because-you-know-where-the-character-is map. If you are a fantasy reader, you come to expect maps of these totally unknown and gorgeous worlds that authors create. It's like the 2nd main character. Just like "The City" is the 5th character in "Sex and the City", the map of a fantasy novel is a character in itself. It's not complete without one.
Now, I know sometimes certain fantasy novels don't need them because they take place in our world and during our time. That's all fine. If its some sort of paranormal or magical realism book, and it takes place in our unchanged world, then I don't need a map. Even though I've never been to Podunk U.S.A., I know what the US looks like, and can pretty much picture a typical town in my head and get by with descriptions from the author. It's when something is changed about it, or it's an entirely new world that I need some kind of map so I can picture where the characters are going a little bit better.
So this all brings me to a recent annoyance I had with a certain book not containing a map. Let me just say, I don't review books on here, so I'm not going to say anything about the book. BUT I can totally say something about the absence of a map. The book was Mockingjay. I know, I know, it takes place in what was once North America. BUT- it's totally changed. Panem is not the US we know today, and Suzanne Collins makes it clear in the first Hunger Games book that it isn't. I know we didn't really need the map in the first book, but it still would be nice to know where the districts are located. I don't want to reveal anything about the book, since some of you still might be waiting to read it. But, seriously...we need a map. I was so confused as to where these districts might be in relation to what was once the US, that it distracted me a little from the story. I kept wanting to flip back to the front to look at the map, but then remembered I couldn't!
Anyway, so. Fantasy novels and maps = awesomeness. I'm just saying. It makes us fantasy readers less frantic and confused if we have a map in the beginning of the book. Maybe it's just me though. Maybe I'm just weird like that, and most people don't care whether there is a map or not. But let me just say- if I pick up your book, and it doesn't have a map- I'm probably going to go on a little rant about it and annoy hubsies for a good 5 minutes. And you don't want that- trust me.