Top Ten Tuesday (37)

24 Jul

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds or Settings in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!


WHEW. Guys, this isn’t necessarily hard exactly, so much as it is hard for me to think of anything other than fantasies when I hear the words “worlds” in reference to books I’ve read. I’m going to try to not be one-note here, but…well, we’ll see. 

I WILL say that having a sucky, ill-conceived world that doesn’t make sense is a book ruiner for sure. None of these books have that, though.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente. Have you guys read this book? Man. It’s pretty ace, almost entirely because of the way Fairyland is constructed here. It’s so odd and vibrant and imaginative. I couldn’t even sit here and try and describe it to you, except to say that it’s spectacularly different in the best way.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss. I hope you guys can forgive me bringing this book up again. But for real? I can’t talk about superb worlds in books without mentioning this series. One of my FAVORITE things about truly extraordinary worlds is that they feel real to me, like I’m reading about people and events in the history of a real place, as opposed to a fictional one. It’s all about EMERSION, folks, and this series HAS IT.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer. I love the world-building in CINDER. Not only does the idea of New Beijing fascinate me to no end, but I love the way Marissa Meyer made it science-fictiony without making me feel like I was reading Star Trek (no offense to Trekkies). And I’m completely fascinated with the idea of living on the moon. I would DIE if we ever got to visit the Lunars and see what it’s like living there. I DIE.

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder. I know that some people read this book and didn’t really like Cam Cooper, the main character. I totally loved her, but one of the things that I still think about long after finishing THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES is the town of Promise, Maine. First of all, Maine. I’ve never been there, but I feel like I would LOVE IT. Beachy but not loud and cray. Promise had those qualities, but it also had it’s own subtle oddities: a field of purple dandelions, flamingoes, and an entrance that seems to disappear, or is beyond the obvious notice of people even though it shouldn’t be. I don’t know, it was the perfect place for Cam, I thought.

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Seriously, WHEN IS JANDY WRITING MORE THINGS?? I can’t deal over here! Thankfully, we have a really clear, beautiful picture of Northern California in this book to go along with the basically perfect story. I love the way she talks about the redwoods and Gram’s garden. I swear, reading this book, I can feel the NoCal vibe wafting off the pages, all openness and acceptance and weirdness without shame. I’m Jersey til I die, but I’m a big fan of the setting here.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. One of the only books I’ve ever read that made me WISH the setting was real so that I could move there and live there and eat November cakes and ride horses (like, real ones. I’m kind of wuss when animals pose a legit threat to my life and limbs), and wear thick white sweaters and sit on cliffs overlooking the ocean. I loved that I could picture Thisby so clearly in my mind.

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of this series. LEGEND was amazing, and PRODIGY was my #1 must-get at BEA this year. Guys? I can’t wait to tell you how awesome it was. But until then, I’ll sing the praises of dystopian Los Angeles, with its slums and ritzy neighborhoods. I don’t know LA, so I can’t say that I can see Marie Lu’s world in the LA that I know exists now, but it’s both grim and gripping. And I love the Republic and the Colonies, and how America is divided. It’s just so great, and so well-done.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor. Guys. Laini Taylor is one of the best world-builders around. BOOM. Because she manages to do this really awesome thing: She takes real places, like Prague and Marrakech, and gives them this really great mystery and energy, and she makes them POP. But then she also creates these super imaginative, gorgeous fantasy worlds, like Eretz. Seriously. My mind is blown with all of the incredible set pieces for Karou and Akiva and Brimstone, and the way she tells the story of warring angels and demons without feeling religious. It’s totally unique and beautiful.

Harry Potter by J.K Rowling. I can’t imagine that I need to explain this. HOGWARTS, guys. DIAGON ALLEY. THE BURROW. (Seriously, I wish the Weasley’s house was SO REAL.) But not just the settings. I feel like I keep taking the term “world” too literally here. Because the way the magic works in the Harry Potter books, and the way it molds itself around the human world without really being a part of it, is wonderful.

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge. So this book. MIND BLOWER. It wasn’t an easy read for me, but I can’t even begin to tell you how much I felt the jungle steam and the completely fresh world here. I didn’t understand it all of the time, and I would have DIED FOREVER if I could have just had a map. I don’t care if it was a doodle on a napkin. But every aspect of THE LOST CONSPIRACY was fresh to me. The culture, the setting, the vaguely paranormal aspects. Legit.

And OBVIOUSLY, Game of Thrones. I feel like I shouldn’t even need to say it. But there you go. I did. Westeros is a fantasy-lovers DREAM. Because not only are there maps (mapS, plural. There are maps of Westeros and Essos ALL OVER THE PLACE), but there’s folklore, history going back centuries, religions, different languages, fleshed-out families and characters and personalities, all with this fantastic foundation. It’s really something, guys, to imagine all of the work and creativity that went into creating this world, let alone writing stories that take place there.

24 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday (37)”

  1. tanyaptee July 24, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Excellent list – I’ve only read Cinder & Daughter of Smoke & Bone – and both worlds are fascinating.

  2. Alyssa July 24, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    I STILL haven’t read Valente and I KNOW I NEED TO!! Also still working on Rothfuss, I am savoring it ;] Also I totally just got The Scorpio Races from the library yesterday!! WOO!

    • trippingbooks July 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

      I thought the Fairyland book was really good! And the Rothfuss…we know how much I can gush over that book. I’m LOVING that series right now. A LOT.

  3. Candice July 24, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Holy crap I forgot so many awesome worlds on my list! The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairy Land’s setting was awesome! So imaginative! And The Scorpio Races?! Loved that setting! Okay, I may need to do this list again…

    • trippingbooks July 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

      haha…Thisby is seriously one of my favorite book places, I think. I just want to live there.

  4. Brittany July 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    I loooved The Sky Is Everywhere!! And I can’t wait to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

    • trippingbooks July 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      The Sky Is Everywhere is one of my all-time FAVORITE books! I reread it all the time! And Daughter of Smoke and Bone? Amazing. I can’t wait to see what you think of it when you get around to it. It’s gorgeous!

      • Brittany July 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

        Man, I really need to get it!! I saw it so many places today. I do believe my good old library has it so once I catch up on a couple more books, I think that’ll be the next one I pick up!!

  5. Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) July 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I’ve checked out the Valente twice from the library now and haven’t gotten to it = FAIL. Also, I don’t know about The Lost Conspiracy. But I’m thinking I need to because you’re certainly lovin on it a bit up there.

    UM, YES THE ROTHFUSS YES. That world, I kinda want to go there. I know things could get me and kill me or maybe even eat me or set fire to me, but I really want to go there.

    • trippingbooks July 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

      The Valente definitely deserves another go. If you want, you can borrow mine. I promise I won’t charge you any late fees 😉
      And I have to thank you so much for all the Rothfuss love you show all the time; it’s one of the reasons I was so excited to read those books in the first place. The world (isn’t it funny, though. What is the world itself called? I know the names of places within that world, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it referred to in the story as anything larger. Must consult the map!) is pretty much perfect. We need to go there, Asheley. It MUST be real.

      • Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) July 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

        Four Corners of Civilization, methinks. And yes, let’s go! I’ll grab my cloak, a dagger, and a few apples.

  6. Kailia @ Reading the Best of the Best July 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Fairyland is on my list too! It’s so stunning!! I also have HP (how could I NOT?) Game of Thrones and Daughter of Smoke and Bone are also on my list!

    ~Kailia @ Reading the Best

    • trippingbooks July 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      YAY list twins!! Aren’t those worlds great? I love how the world in Harry Potter seemed so natural. Like OBVIOUSLY there are real wizards all over the world who live beside humans in secret in a world kind of “next” to ours and a part of ours at the same time. Obviously.

  7. Magan @ Rather Be Reading July 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    CINDER! I just started reading this last night and I am SO PUMPED. It’s made so many lists today and that’s ah-mazing news for me. Also — I love, love Daughter of Smoke and Bone. That one made my list, too! 🙂 Great joices!

    • trippingbooks July 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      Cinder is BANANAS! I loved it so much! I think you’ll love it. I can’t wait to read Scarlet. Even though it leaves New Beijing, I know it’s going to be awesome!

  8. Nicole July 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    I need to read the Game of Thrones series — I love the show and the books sound equally as awesome!

    • trippingbooks July 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

      You DO need to read those books! The first book corresponds pretty closely to the show, but season 2 and book 2 were a little more different, but both are fantastic!

  9. megtao July 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    I haven’t read way too many books on this list, but the ones I have read I totally agree with.

    Side note, did you change the font of your blog today? It looks…different and a bit more difficult to read. Though that could just be my failtastic eyes.

    • trippingbooks July 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      Why thank you, Meg! But wah! I’m sorry about the font! I haven’t changed it today, but I did change it about 2 weeks ago. Has it been bothering you for awhile? 😦 I’m sorry!

      • megtao July 25, 2012 at 7:19 am #

        I just noticed it then. I dunno why it caught my attention at that moment. I do think my eyes were just being particularly failtastic XD

  10. randimoulton July 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    You just made me want to read all the books on this list that I haven’t already read ( which is a whopping 2 – HP & Cinder, haha). Luckily I have Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Probability of Miracles on my shelf, Game of Thrones on the Nook, and must wait for the hubby to finish the Kingkiller Chronicles. Sidenote: Maine is GORGEOUS. Seriously awesome list!

    Randi @ Cardigans, Coffee and Bookmarks

  11. TrishaDM July 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    I agree on the Harry Potter.
    I keep meaning to pick up Cinder and start reading it. Everyone says it is great for a number of reasons, now including the world it creates.
    Great list!

  12. armchairauthor July 25, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    The Scorpio Races made my list too. I don’t know if I’d want to live there, but I’d definitely visit. Just writing about it made me want to read the book again.

  13. Alexa Loves Books (@alexalovesbooks) July 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    I’m reading Cinder right now and I’m loving it so far. Can’t wait to discover more about what’s going on and the world, of course.

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