I haven’t done this in a while, and I thought that today’s Top Ten topic (created by the ever fabulous The Broke and the Bookish) would be a very good one to get back on the train again! The setting of a novel is what makes it or breaks it for me — if I’m not captivated within the first chapter or two, it’s hard to get me totally invested in the novel. I love when the author (or the narrator) takes me away to a place that I can only dream about, to a place where I would love to visit. I’ve read many books in my life, but here are my Top 10 Favourite Worlds/Settings in Books:
10) Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
I’ve been obsessed with this little orphan girl (and no, I’m not talking about Annie) since before I can remember. I think it was Anne’s rich imagination and language that really drew me into her world, and that made Prince Edward Island one of my top places to visit. From the Lake of Shining Waters to the White Way of Delight, Anne has such a way of making her surroundings come alive and place you right there next to her.
9) Night by Elie Wiesel
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is one of the most terrifying novels I’ve ever read — and that’s because it’s all true. It’s hard to recall a moment in time that was as scary as the Holocaust, and Elie Wiesel’s account of what happened to him and others in the concentration camps really plays with your mind. You see things you don’t want to see, hear screams you don’t want to hear, and smell the decay and destruction of lives that you don’t want to smell.
8) The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
I’m a big fan of fantasy novels, and this series is one of my favourites. I love the mix of modern day New York City with the twist of Old World (and Underworld!) charm. The characters are fantastic, but what I love most is the setting. It’s like I’m there with Clary on her adventures and can feel the anticipation and fear with each breath at every climax. Love it!
7) The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Pretty much every person acquainted with literature knows about The Hunger Games, and for good reason! It’s an amazing novel written in a dystopian country called Panem. With every single new scene, Katniss takes the reader on an unforgettable (and often times nerve-wracking) journey — from District 12 to the Arena, and everywhere in between. It’s hard to think of much else once you finish the novels and it’s most difficult to return to reality after being immersed in a world so unlike (and yet so eerily parallel) our own.
6) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
For many of the same reasons as why I both love and hate Night, The Book Thief also is set in World War II. But instead of it being set in the concentration camps, The Book Thief follows Leisl in Nazi Germany, around her town and within her unique relationships with her family and friends. By the time I read half the novel, I was so engrossed with her tragic surroundings and events. And when the final climax happened that put an end to the novel, I couldn’t breathe for the longest time. Her world was gone, and with that, my world too.
5) Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Who doesn’t love the sweeping landscapes, the cool waters of Mermaid Lagoon, the swashbuckling pirate ship of Captain Hook and the heated Indian tribe of the infamous Neverland? There is so much to relish in and enjoy as one heads to the second star on the right and straight on till morning, and J.M. Barrie couldn’t have created a more captivating world.
4) A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
This is one of my all time favourite books ever. I’m in love with Victorian and Steampunk settings, and this is the best. But the reason it’s a cut above the rest is because it doesn’t only take place in the 1800s — it also takes place in a great and terrible place called the Realms (ha, pun totally intended).
3) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Much like Neverland, Narnia is another amazing world set apart from our reality. With beautiful waters and grand hills, lovely castles and mysterious woods, C.S. Lewis’ fantasy world is amazing — and hey, the talking animals don’t hurt either!
2) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Middle Earth is one of the most famous literary worlds out there. Even though the books aren’t necessarily the most exciting, it’s the setting that I will remember forever. The Shire, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Helm’s Deep, Fangorn Forest, Dead Marshes and Mina Tirith… all the many haunting, beautiful and grand places of Middle Earth make the trilogy so worth the read.
1) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Thank you J.K. Rowling. Thank you. I’ve pretty much lived in the magical world of Harry Potter since its inception, and my heart and soul will always remain there. Hogwarts is my home. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are my playgrounds. The Burrow is my vacation home. A beautiful quote by Rowling herself says it best: “The stories we love best do live in us forever. So, whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”