Top Ten Favourite Book Settings

“‘The Library,’ repeated Sanar, looking troubled. ‘That can be dangerous to a girl of fourteen. Or a woman of forty, for that matter.'”

Garth Nix

OOH…this is a good one.

  1. Ankh-Morpork – the Discworld series, Terry Pratchett. It has everything: vampires orcs werewolves trolls dwarves golems gnomes policemen post offices newspapers thieves assassins football curry cats libraries lawyers artists inventors Death talking dogs sentient rats tyrants kings dragons. Everything and anything lives here.
  2. On a similar theme: New Crobuzon – Perdido Street Station, China Mieville. A vast, heaving, dirty, rich metropolis with its own politics, artistic movements, and geography. The realest, most immersive fantasy world I’ve read in a while.
  3. The Long Earth – The Long Earth, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. This series is basically entirely world-building, so it’s not surprising that the Long Earth feels so very concrete and so very possible. You look away believing that it is a thing that could happen one day, even though it manifestly couldn’t.
  4. Fairyland – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente. A place brimming with imaginative potential, full of things that are strange yet utterly right; whimsical, but with bones of steel and heart of stone.
  5. The house – House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski. A masterpiece of creepiness, full of shadows just around the next corner and half-heard noises. But it’s the impossible dimensions that I think are most creepy: the shifting and stretching of our most basic certainty, space.
  6. London – A Madness of Angels, Kate Griffin. A city that is alive with urban magics, where all the little rituals of life come to mean something, come to be true.
  7. The Library of the Clayr – Lirael, Garth Nix. Does this really need explaining? It’s a massive library filled with hidden rooms and forgotten magic and danger and it accounts for at least 50% of the rereads I gave this book when I was younger.
  8. Lud – The Waste Lands, Stephen King. There’s something utterly, compulsively horrible about this deserted urban wasteland (hah), its machines winding down, its streets filled with the thudding of the god-drums….*shudders*
  9. New Beijing – Cinder, Marissa Meyer. I love the beaten-up aesthetic of this place, the worn-down futurism of it all. Nothing shiny or hopeful about this fairytale, only life in its various shades of hopelessness.
  10. Caverna – A Face Like Glass, Frances Hardinge. A lush, treacherous underworld of bright silks and hypnotic wines and twisting passageways, it’s an utterly alien and utterly compelling place.

BONUS: Not a book, but I feel like I should mention New Albion – The Dolls of New Albion, A Steampunk Opera, Paul Shapera. New Albion is fascinating, another city full of strangeness and magic and darkness and voodoopunks dancing under strange stars. (You can listen to the opera for free on Bandcamp here. Seriously, go check it out.)

(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)

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