I’m back from vacation (oh.my.god.I.love.mountains.) and back to blogging! I did get some writing done when I was there but I’m going to blog about that tomorrow and share a few photos of the mountains.
Today it’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
Top Ten Most Vibrant World/Settings in Books.
I LOVE WORLDS. I should probably say that before I write this. I can forgive a LOT if the world is beautiful. I’m easy that way. I added links when possible!
- Harry Potter–like everyone else, I agree…it’s hard to exclude Harry Potter from this list. Look, it was entirely believable. Adults, kids, teens, everyone loved these books. We all wanted a letter from Hogwarts. We all wanted a wand. We all wanted an owl. It was entirely believable. Worlds should feel real, not just desirable. JK Rowling did a lot of things right with Harry, but she made the idea of a magical population, Hogwarts, a Ministry of Magic, etc conceivable to us Muggles. AND she made a British magical world accessible to the WORLD. That’s another aspect of HP that’s artful–it’s quintessentially British and yet, as an American, I bought it wholeheartedly and even felt nostalgic for it occasionally.
- Ender’s Game— if you haven’t read it, you have not understood a believable world and a fantastic story. I wish this was required reading.
- His Dark Materials—Philip Pullman made his world instantly desirable with the ideas of daemons. He made it instantly real by having us grow up with Lyra and the choices her world was facing which do not feel at all unlike the choices we face here, do they? His worldbuilding included his characterization of Lyra and her friends, it went beyond the physical and into the philosophical realms.
- Under the Never Sky—Veronica Rossi made me believe that there could be magic in a dystopia without ever leaving the realms of specfic. It was incredible. I don’t think I’ve looked at skies, berries, or fire the same way since reading this book. Like I said, I can forgive a lot in a book, and UtNS has its weaknesses but I’ve read it about six times since getting it in May, so if that doesn’t tell you something about how much I want this world to be my world…
- Tortall–any of the Tortall world books by Tamora Pierce are absolutely lovely. Gifts and borderlands and inheritance and Realms and Gods and Goddesses and very strong girls…so much love. Of all the worldbuilding, I think I like the two often forgotten Pierce books: Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen. Shapeshifting crows for the effing win!
- Thoroughbred–Alright. Who remembers the Thoroughbred Series books by Joanna Campbell? Every girl who ever liked horses wanted to be Ashleigh and Sam, Cindy and Christina. Who doesn’t want to be around horses all the time, have million dollar racehorses in your backyard, and get to gallop them every morning? I still want that and I’m about 5 inches too tall, 20lbs too heavy, and 15 years too old to start that now 😉
- Mistborn–It doesn’t matter if you normally read fantasy, you need to read Mistborn. Brandon Sanderson‘s Mistborn borders on urban fantasy but set in an alternate world. It’s dark and gritty and palpable. It Pushes and Pulls you like the metals he writes about.
- Brooklyn, Burning — I think I’ve already talked about my love for this book which deals with gender non-conformity, teens on their own, coming of age, and the truth. But more importantly, and I told the author Steve this on Facebook after I finished it so it was definitely one of the most defining aspects of the book for me, it made me nostalgic for Brooklyn and I’ve spent all of 2 hours in Brooklyn, mostly inside one bookstore. I fell in love with a place I’ve never been. I ached for it. I wanted to move there. I actually googled jobs in Brooklyn after reading this book. THAT is amazing because for the most part, I really dislike New York…
- Graceling — best fantasy world after Tamora Pierce. My copy of Graceling is battered and beaten, just the way a book should be. The worldbuilding is exquisite and gentle. You sink into it to the point where you probably would approach someone with heterochromatic eyes and ask them what their Grace was. The kingdoms are very well done with distinct cultures and royal families. Po’s culture with its rings and its ships and islands was particularly wonderful.
- Fire– same author (Kristin Cashore) as Graceling, and same beautiful worldbuilding. I cannot tell you how much I adore Cashore’s writing. Fantasy gets criticized for never moving beyond Tolkien’s imagination, but Cashore moves beyond Tolkien and should get credit for imaginative and vivid worlds.
A lot of the “most vibrant worlds” are fantasy, I’ve noticed. Not just in my list but in other people’s list. Are we unable to make our own world vibrant?