Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
The map in this book is great because it’s so simple but is still elegant. During this story the characters make an epic journey from Scotland to the Himalayas, and are given this map so they actually know where they’re going. I especially love this map because it’s on a cool flap on the inside front cover – I’m not sure of the technical term of this kind of “book-cover-flap” but I still love to discover books which have them. This is technically a children’s book, so the map is pretty simple and easy to understand, but I like that aspect of it, and it distinguishes the style of the map from others – especially the vastly detailed maps you often find in epic fantasy books. Speaking of which ...
A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
In terms of fantasy world building, the world of the Song of Ice and Fire series is may be the best I’ve ever come across, and something that definitely helps are all these beautiful maps with a level of detail that’s actually incredible. I absolutely love that whenever a place is mentioned in the series, no matter how tiny, you can find it on these maps! It’s such an amazingly rich creation, and is pretty much a necessity for this series. There’s so much going on, and so many characters all doing insane stuff in a thousand different places, I get a lot of use out of these maps while I’m reading.
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
I loved this book (and the entirety of the series) when I was little, and still do today. And one of the very first things you see when opening one of the books is the amazing map at the front. This first book in the series book has a kind of “overview” map to show the general setting, but each of the following books are different. At the start of each is a map that’s more focused on the particular setting of that books, and no two are the same. Then at the back of each book is this overview map again, so you don’t forget anything important, but also so you get the bigger picture, and can see how the area shown in the front map fits in to the greater landscape. The book series is set ages ago before any kind of civilisation really emerged, so the maps show dense magical forests, roving campsites, and all different kinds of extreme natural conditions.