So this started as a Top 5 Wednesday (hence why it’s posted on a Wednesday) but it turned into more of a discussion. I think setting is super important in books, obviously, and can really make or break the book. So these are some of my favourite settings and settings that I’d like to see more of.
Competitions in fantasy novels
Okay this is a very specific one and maybe a bit more of a trope than a setting but we’re counting it anyway. But some of my favourite things to read are competitions in fantasy novels. I think it’s more exciting in fantasy because the characters can use magic or other cool technology, which just adds something to it.
The Hunger Games is a pretty obvious example of this. And I think the setting works so well and is so interesting. Another is A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. Though the competition is a fairly small part, it was definitely my favourite. Finally, the training session in Red Rising by Pierce Brown is one of my favourites. When they’re in the castles and trying to overtake each other – it was so cool!
If anyone knows of any competitions in fantasy (or dystopian or SFF) let me know! I need them all in my life!
I love books that have some sort of backstage or behind-the-scenes element to them. This one is mainly inspired by The Night Circus. Not only is the circus setting so gorgeous, there’s also a lot about the organization and running of the circus. I loved reading about the different aspects of the circus and all the behind-the-scenes parts.
A different but very similar setting is The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen and the scenes at the catering jobs. In the book, the main character works at a catering company, and I loved reading about the planning and the different jobs. It was so interesting. I would love more books focused on behind-the-scenes things.
Preferably in books that are not super religious, but rather where the church or mosque or temple is the setting. Or a book that takes place in Rome or Jerusalem, where religion is so prevalent. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown takes place in Vatican City, and I loved it. Divine Madness by Robert Muchamore takes place in a religious cult and it was so interesting. I just find religion so fascinating and would love to read books that take place in religious settings.
Lol this isn’t a really specific title but I couldn’t think of a better one. What I mean is, every book takes place in London and other major US cities, and that’s about it. I would love a book in a non-typical setting. Small town US, the Italian countryside, the Australian outback, the Rocky Mountains. Anywhere that’s not a major city. OR a major city in a non-traditional country, like Venice, or countries like Cuba, South Africa, India or Morocco. It would just make the books so much more interesting.
South American-focused historical fiction
Almost all historical fiction is set in Europe. I would love some historical fiction from South America. For example, the Incans were so cool. I would love a historical fiction book about the Incan empire. I know that most historical fiction is based in Europe because we have better records of what happened there. But there are records of Incan life too! Or the Aztec empire! I’ve never read anything that took place there and I feel like it would be so cool.
I’m gonna have to do it. I’m dropping out of school to study the Incan empire to I can write this book for myself. Here I come, Masters in Anthropology with a focus on Incan cultures.
I recently reread the Flappers series by Jillian Larkin and it’s all about (you guessed it) flappers in the 1920s. It was such an interesting time and I would love to read more about it. From flappers’ point-of-view, police, regular citizens, mobsters, black jazz musicians. It was such a cool time and I need more of it in my life!
(side note: it’s almost the 20s again so I think we should bring back flapper attire)
So, those are all the settings I wish I could read more of (or some of them – the list could go on really). Any you agree with? Any suggestions for books in the categories I mentioned?