Ten Vivid Worlds or Settings I’ve Loved

Posted July 24, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 37 Comments

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Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

Because some of us are suckers for an excellent world.


Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series has one of my favorite
settings EVER. I want to visit the Nevernever even though things there
are likely to be beautiful and also eat me, capture me, or burn me. 

Pure by Julianna Baggott & Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
are two of my favorite apocalyptic-ish settings ever. So vivid in my head,
these books read like action movies and I loved it each time I read them. 

Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death has a setting so lush and vivid –
it almost feels like it is living and breathing, like it is another character.
One of the best I’ve read in a long time. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is not only a basically perfect story,
but the dual-setting of Prague and Eretz is perfection as well. 

Railsea by China Mieville gave a dusty, stark, gray, metallic life to the
apocalyptic salvage ruins where Sham had his adventures.

The setting is large in Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind. I spent months
on this book and because of this, I feel like I can almost describe
every setting in this book near-perfectly. 

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is probably the very best example of a
post-apocalyptic wasteland. This book screams ashes, gray, dust, barren,
wasteland, sadness, hunger, everything a post-apocalyptic countryside should be.

John Connelly’s The Book of Lost Things is a brilliant take on classic fairytales.
It’s a child’s odd adventure through a land where he meets characters we know,
but the setting is way off/kind of crazy and the characters are too.
It’s perfectly realized with Connelly’s style of writing. 

Nobody does world-building like Paolo Bacigalupi.
Ship Breaker is claustrophobic and gritty and metallic and sandy. Perfect.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is an odd addition to this mix as
the only contemporary, but when we’re talking settings – the setting of this story
is perfect. I could easily picture myself in every single scene,
be it either of the homes or any of the other scenes of this book.
Not talking world-building here, but the settings
are done with perfection on each and every page,
which is amazing coming from this debut author.
I was astounded by the skill with this book to transport me to whatever
place the characters were visiting. 


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


37 responses to “Ten Vivid Worlds or Settings I’ve Loved

  1. Pure, Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Ship Breaker are the 3 from your list that I've read – and loved the Worlds in all – so vivid, and in some cases, dark & disturbing.

    • The Book of Lost Things is one of my all-time favorite books EVER. I hope you read it and love it! It's a little dark and strange, but SO great. It's a departure from Connelly's normal work, but SO SO awesome. I'm so excited that you grabbed it!

    • Thanks Randi!

      I can't tell you how much I loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone – I've read it twice, once in print and once as audiobook. I CANNOT WAIT for the next book to come out. And I really loved My Life Next Door. Really, I wanted to put many more books on this list, but it would've been too long!

  2. Grrr. I just lost everything I wrote. Let me try that again…

    I love posts like this one! So many good books here! And some that are on my TBR, including The Name of the Wind (have you reviewed that yet?) and Pure. I don't know anything about Struck, so I'll have to look that one up as well.

    LOVE that you included a contemporary!

    Okay, a confession about Masque of the Red Death. It is the only book that I've ever won in an online contest. BUT I've never read it, because the description is totally focuses on a love triangle and I truly don't like those. OCCASIONALLY I'll read one that I like – or can tolerate. But when one of the major parts of the story is the love triangle, I tend to seize up. But maybe this story is worth the effort? I've also heard that this ends on a cliffhanger? OR at least it leaves a lot of questions, so perhaps I should wait until I can get book 2 to read this one? It's based on Poe's poem, right? I read Nevermore this year, which is also based on Poe's works. Though, I think it's a very different story.

    • OH I have NOT posted my The Name of the Wind post yet. I should probably just go ahead and do that. I just keep changing it a bit here and there. I read/listened from February to July, so there is so much that I COULD put in it – it has the potential to be so much. Or I could just make the entire post say "I LOVE THIS BOOK FOREVER. THE END." and that be all of my thoughts too. I'll throw it up soon. I have several sitting there (Flat-Out Love, etc.).

      Struck is a fun apocalyptic book about a girl who is addicted to lightning, Mia Price. I really liked it. Jennifer Bosworth did a great job building an apocalyptic LA.

      Masque of the Red Death – ya know, I read that one and was so enamored with the setting and the story. More than anything else really. I loved the story and yes, there is a bit of a triangle. The ending is wide open for the next book, but I didn't feel like I wanted to throw the book or anything. It's definitely a Poe story, dark, but so good. That is AWESOME that you won it! I read it on a tour and hated to see it go! Waiting til next April is a LONG time…

  3. So unbelievably excited to see My Life Next Door on this list. I LOVED that book. LOVED. I can definitely understand why you've listed it! Awesome, awesome choices! (And thanks for your comment on our blog!)

  4. I am in complete agreement about the world in PURE. I felt like it was so well-done, and I loved, loved, loved this book!

    I'm also happy that you included My Life Next Door. It's such a lovely book and I think it's one of my favorite contemporaries for the year 🙂

    • I agree on both counts! Pure is one of those that people, I think, either LOVED or just did. not. love. I ate it up. I've read it three times and hope to check out the audio soon.

      OH and My Life Next Door is sigh sigh sigh. That is all.

  5. I am absolutely in love with your list! I can't argue against any of these and some of my favorite books are up there whether they made my list or not. Awesome picks.

  6. I can't believe I left Shipbreaker off my list, especially since I'm reading Railsea and there are so many striking similarities. Major head slap moment:)

    I love how you included a contemporary on this list! I came to close to including The Sky is Everywhere (another contemp) on mine, because the setting is so beautifully described. Awesome picks, Asheley!

    • I need to get to The Sky is Everywhere but I'm a little bit afraid of it. (you know me) I threw Ship Breaker up there mostly because of the claustrophobia and sandy feel I got from it, and I didn't even think of it in terms of similar to Railsea until a few days ago on Twitter when we were talking about it with Heidi – the metal, salvage, etc. Love both of those books so much.

  7. Yeah to Book of Lost Things, Name of the Wind, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone (how did I forget that one???)!

    Pure, Struck, Railsea, Shipbreaker…these are all waiting patiently on my TBR. Oh, and after reading you gush about My Life Next Door multiple times I'm definitely grabbing a copy from the library next time I go!

    • YES to all of those you HAVE read and all of those you have patiently on your TBR. You'll love the ones you haven't gotten to yet.

      With My Life Next Door, it's just so well-written and refreshingly GOOD, such an excellent debut. Also, if your book club does YA contemps any time, there are things in there that are discussable. It might be a good pick that isn't too heavy. It's romance-contemps without being too issues-heavy. It's a marvelous book. I'm glad you're gonna check it out. I can't do anything but gush about it.

    • Ship Breaker is one of my favorites, forever. I'm listening via audio right now so I can check out The Drowned Cities, patiently waiting in my TBR pile directly underneath Unraveling! I ADORE Paolo B. and his world-building, both YA and adult.

  8. I am pretty sure that the majority of these are on my to-read list! I just bought Daughter of Smoke and Bone and am excited to read that! I also really want to read My Life NExt Door, Name of the Wind, Book of Lost things, and struck! Great list!

    • Thanks Lauren! You'll love all of those. I remember VIVIDLY your list from yesterday (I also have it bookmarked for reference <3) and I think you'll love The Name of the Wind and The Book of Lost Things based on what you seem to enjoy reading. The others are super good too though. 🙂

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