Discussion: settings I’d like to see more of

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.

Religious settings

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.

Non-traditional places

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.

The 1920s

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?

26 thoughts on “Discussion: settings I’d like to see more of

  1. Lovely idea for a discussion post! I also love competitions in fantasy novels so the Essen Taschof AGOS was my favourite thing and why I loved that book so much. There’s also a sort of magic competition (called the scrimmage) in Samantha Shannon’s The Mime Order, the second book in her Bone Season series – I thought it was described so vividly that I could practically see all the moves the various characters were making as they danced around each other wielding their powers.

    I also love backstage/behind-the-scenes things because I’m super curious/nosy. Behind-the-scenes features are my favourite things in films; I used to LOVE the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions DVDs because they had so many BTS looks into everything from the stunt team to the design department. But as far as books go, I haven’t read too many of them but I just finished reading a YA contemporary called Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt and that centers around a girl whose dad plans fan conventions and all her friends at part of the convention operations team and it’s cool to get a sneak peek into that backstage world. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I definitely agree, the Essen Tasch was my favourite part of the book! I’m pretty sure I have the Bone Season on my TBR, so I’ll have to make sure I read them!

      And SAME I’m just so nosy, I want to see all the backstage things. I always watched Behind-the-scenes and commentaries so I could learn all the secrets! I’ll have to look at Unconventional 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post sm, and I couldn’t agree more with the non-traditional setting???? YES PLEASE. I just finished reading “wolfsong” by tj klune and it took place in a super tiny town in Oregon and I loved that aesthetic sm ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Incan historical fiction sounds great… as long as it isn’t a romance. I’ve heard of one or two series that were set in South America but used the “otherness” of the culture to get odd with the romances. (I have blocked the titles and author from memory, sorry.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post so much! And I love all of your recommendations.

    If you ever wanted to break this post up into separate posts and share books that do take place in those settings, I wouldn’t be mad about it LOL! Mostly because I 100% agree and now I want to read novels in those settings!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this discussion! Being a history lover, I enjoy reading books that delve into the culture and traditions of their setting. Religious settings are definitely very interesting as we read about how the society is shaped by the beliefs.

    I try my best to diverse settings too! I love learning about new places 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m 100 percent with you that I’d love to see more books set in non-traditional places! I’m really excited that we’re finally starting to see more fantasy worlds inspired by places around the world, but there’s still so much to pick from. And that doesn’t even take into consideration all of the other fiction and non-fiction about different parts of the world that I’d LOVE to see!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ok wow I didn’t realize this until I read this post but those settings are all ones that I gravitate toward as well!! Especially the behind-the-scenes–I’m a dance minor and have performed my entire life, and the backstage space is full of so much energy, it’s one of my favorite places!! If you’re looking for a good dystopian competition, I recommend The Selection (it’s not as gritty, but still pretty great) or Legend by Marie Lu!! Legend has a similar feel to The Hunger Games I think 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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