Review: Pages & Co. Tilly and the Map of Stories

Third in the modern-classic and bestselling bookwandering series that celebrates all that is best in life: books, adventure, friendship – and cake.

Strange things are happening. A man comes into Pages Co looking for a book… then suddenly can’t remember it. Tilly and her family feel like the world is changing – but can’t quite put their finger on why.

Meanwhile, the Underwoods are expanding their control over bookwandering – and they still have their sights set on Tilly. Leaving the safety of the bookshop, Tilly heads to America to find the legendary Archivists and save bookwandering…

… or at least, that’s the plan. Wandering in layers of story, Tilly and her friend Oskar come up against dangers they could never have expected, team up with an unexpectedly familiar face, and ultimately find themselves taking on the biggest threat to stories there has ever been – with only their courage and ingenuity to help them. As well as some of their dearest fictional friends…


Pages & Co. Tilly and the Map of Stories is the delightful third instalment in Anna James’ Pages & Co. series perfect for lovers of classics and for fans of the series Night At The Museum and TV show Once Upon A Time.

Following on from Tilly and the Lost Fairytales, Matilda ‘Tilly’ Pages believes the answer to saving British bookwandering is to find the Archivists; a long lost – believed to be mythical – institution that Tilly hopes will put all wrongs right and help save the day. What transpires is a Biblo Baggins level “I’m going on an adventure!” tale full of bookwandering, transatlantic travels, clandestine train rides and forging new friendships that is truly unforgettable.

*starts playing ‘Pure Imagination’ from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory*

A world of pure imagination is right. Pages Co.: Tilly and the Map of Stories stepped up and delivered! This was an action packed story from beginning to end (we’re talking a brewing sense of danger from the offset to being action packed down to the very last page!)

I found this story to be the most immersive, imaginative and exhilarating Pages & Co. yet. It just delivered so much in all ways. Brilliant characters, brilliant story, brilliant imagery, brilliant pace… the pace never faltered – not once. I am so blown away that I’m practically speechless at 2.30am whilst I try and put my awe into words to write a worthy review of justice.

By this point, James has developed the world of Pages & Co. so thoroughly I believe these characters are real. I love them whole heartedly. Tilly and Oskar go from strength to strength, especially Oskar. I really felt Oskar had more time to shine this time – both in his comical commentary and his cruciality to the plot development. The two together are like a mini Sherlock & Watson in the making as they find ways to solve their problems and get into more and more mischief.

There’s an array of new characters to get to know, like American bookwanderers and bookshop owners Orlando and Jorge, and bookbroker Horatio and his nephew Milo. All of the new characters contributed to the plot and were enjoyable to read.

The plot events and imagery were thrilling. On our mission to find the Archivists, we voyage to the Library of Congress, face a haunting bookish wasteland and ride on the daring Sesquipedalian. All of this, combined with great characters, made for an entertaining page-turner. Also, it’ll never fail to amaze me how much James conveys love and appreciation for other stories in her stories. From Shakespeare’s work to Anne of Green Gables… I can’t praise it enough.

The climax of this book was so fun and intense. It’s grand and edge-of-your-seat gripping. Genuinely, I kept looking at my kindle’s percentage like it was the countdown of a bomb because I was terrified of how it was all going to end, especially if it was going to be a cliffhanger. The last time I was as tense as this was in my cinema seat for Avengers Endgame, so that should tell you how invested I was in this book and its ending.

The way James has expanded the world of bookwandering in this instalment is so clever and exciting because anything feels possible. I suppose it always was, but from this story’s events, it’s just on another level. The layered imagination and attention pulls everything that’s happened across all three books so far to pull off a satisfying full circle tale whilst simultaneously establishing a limitless potential and this reader’s extreme desire to keep Tilly’s adventures going.

And as always, James has cast the Hansel & Gretel breadcrumbs for the next Tilly adventure – it was confirmed earlier this year there will be at least another three instalments (which I’m so, so, so excited about).

Tilly and the Map of Stories has been my favourite Pages & Co. instalment yet. I felt like I’d been travelling with friends for days on an epic adventure by the books end. I loved everything – absolutely everything – in this book and I recommend it tenfold. It’s full to the brim with magic and wonder and nothing less than a masterpiece. When you’re finished reading Pages & Co., your heart will be alight, full of joy and you might truly feel and believe in book magic – I know I do. Don’t miss it!

Oh and uh… MAKE 👏🏼 THESE 👏🏼 BOOKS 👏🏼 INTO 👏🏼 MOVIES 👏🏼

Buy It Now

Pages & Co. Tilly and the Map of Stories by Anna James
Published September 2020
Genre: children’s fiction, fantasy, adventure

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