Pages and Co.: Tilly and the Map of Stories by Anna James

Anna James’ Pages and Co. series is one of my all-time favourite series. It’s a series all about the magic of books, stories and reading and Anna just perfectly captures the feeling of being a book-lover and a reader. Being able to wander within books is something that all readers have wanted to do and Anna makes it sound so magical. I eagerly await each new book in the Pages and Co. series and I’ve been desperate to bookwander into the third book. Tilly and the Map of Stories has just been released and it is bursting with all of the things I love about the series – book character cameos, cosy bookshops, libraries, secret societies and bookwandering.

As Tilly and the Map of Stories opens the sinister Underwoods are still in charge of the British Underlibrary. Tilly and her best friend Oscar have gathered clues which they believe can help them find the legendary Archivists, who they think will be able to save bookwandering. Tilly and Oscar travel to America where they hope to find some answers at the Library of Congress. Their search will lead them further inside the world of story than they have ever been before, and they will meet some of the most famous writers of all time. However, the Underwoods are hatching plans that are more sinister than just binding the Source Editions, and it is up to Tilly and her friends and family to try and halt their plans.

Tilly and the Map of Stories absolutely enchanted me and I wanted to stay inside the story long after I reached the endpapers. Like Tilly you find yourself disappearing into the book and find yourself on adventure with friends old and new. Reading the story feels as if you are bookwandering, experiencing the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the story. I loved being back with Tilly and Oskar, who felt like my best friends after just the first book. Anna James has a brilliant imagination, which conjures up all sorts of bookish delights for the reader. She takes us inside the places that booklovers dream of, from a bookshop inside an old theatre to the Library of Congress. I love the way that Anna describes the marvellous things that book magic and story magic can do.

I absolutely love the train in the story, called the Sesquipedalian (or Quip for short). I can’t really say how it fits into the story (as it may be a bit of a spoiler) but it is a wonderful train that has an important role to play. At one part in the story the characters are all having a meal in the dining car of the Quip and each of the meals are straight out of stories. You can have a picnic with all the trimmings from a Famous Five book or some Turkish delight from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, among other delicious treats. I would love to go to a restaurant or a cafe that served book-themed food!

Like each of the previous books in the series, Tilly and the Map of Stories is a gorgeously designed hardback book. They are books that feel really nice to hold, smell amazing and look just as good with their dust-jacket off as they do with it on.

This book feels like Tilly’s story has come to a conclusion but I really hope this isn’t the last that we see of her and Oskar. I have enjoyed every minute of these Pages and Co. books and I hope to lose myself in another adventure with Tilly soon.

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