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24 Jul 2012

TTT - Vivid Worlds

Hosted by The Broke and The Bookish today's Top Ten Tuesday asks us:

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

I'm big on setting to begin.  It can be one of my most favourite aspect of the book because places inspire me and I love having a vivid idea of what the fictional town/country/world is like.  It's important for atmosphere and makes a fun little film in my head while I read.  So my top ten favourite worlds/settings are:

1) Chicago - Divergent and Insurgent (Veronica Roth)
I love the detail that has gone into this dystopian Chicago.  I was immediately in love with the idea of factions and the characteristics, symbols, and mottos that come with each one.  You can tell so much planning has gone into to creating this futuristic and corrupt city.  And there's still more to it! More mysteries, more questions.  All to be discovered in book three hopefully!

2) Discworld (Terry Pratchett)
You knew this one was making an appearance.  When I studied Terry Pratchett for my research report, I read about the folklore that he uses to create his own version of the actual world, elves, fairies, vampires, witches etc and that's my favourite part of his developed world.  How he's taken folklore from around the world, new and old and twisted them to create his own, comic spin on things.  But the characters are so real and the world is so detailed that it almost feels real and really makes an impression.  My go to author for world building.

3) Panem, The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
A terrifying and oppressed world that makes Katniss a heroine you wouldn't want to swap places with.  It's a brutal country with a distinct social hierarchies from the poverty stricken District 12 to the fierce, wealthy and ambitious Districts 1, 2, and 4 and finally the Lady Gaga-esque, ridiculously rich and fashion conscious Capitol. 

4) Harry Potter (JK Rowling)
I'm not the biggest fan but I always did like the quirky and old fashioned world of witches and wizards with their love for fantastical sounding names and the rejection of modern technology.  If you have magic and owls, why need a telephone? The history of the witches and wizards, especially for the founders of Hogwarts are so rich and detailed.  I'm not surprised JK Rowling has taken a while to write the books and finish them.  Quality over quantity.
5) Jerusalem's Lot, 'Salem's Lot (Stephen King)
It starts off as your stereotypical Small Town.  Everyone knows each other, there's a dark past/urban legend surrounding the former owner of the Marsten House, and outsiders are treated with suspicion.  Every character had a story in the novel, each one from different parts of the town and different social ranks.  The town itself it's haunted by the Marsten house that overlooks everything and keeps bringing darkness to this close knit town.  Stephen King really brought out a community here and I loved the setting and changing atmosphere of the town as evil conquered more and more of it. 
6) New Beijing, Cinder (Marissa Meyer)
A fantastic futuristic setting with cyborgs and moon people, mentions of past wars and new social statuses.  I can't wait what else the future books in the series will show us about this sci-fi and technologically advanced Earth.
7) Wonderland, The Looking Glass Wars (Frank Beddor)
Beddor brought a darker atmosphere to Wonderland while still keeping it's fun and nonsensical traits.  It was still the odd little world where imagination is a huge power to have and control.
8) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The home in the time loop takes away the creepy, potential horror setting of the old children's home and brings a more fantastical Utopia and safe house for the children with the odd gifts.  It's immediately a safe haven that makes you feel at home and keeps paranormal wonders hidden away from the real world.
9) Narnia (CS Lewis)
A rich, never ending land with mystical beasts and wicked witches.  I've only read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and yet to read the rest but from what I read already it's a world that it's darker sides and can easily become a place of oppression and fear when placed into the wrong hands, mimicking the horror of the real world at the time. 
10) Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
A child-like world full of nonsense and eccentric beasts and characters that's fun to read.  That's for the children.  For the adults it's a crazy acid trip but still fun to read. 


  1. Yes yes yes to ALL OF THESE! I did not even think about Wonderland, but you are right and I think the reason authors and movies continually revisit it is because the world is so vivid and crazy and fun.

    My TTT

  2. Great list. I love both Wonderlands as well and Harry Potter's world.

  3. Like a number of other books (including Narnia), I considered MISS PEREGRINE for my list.

    I'm more character-oriented in my fiction (both what I read and what I write), so for me, good world-building is where enough is said to set the story and give me something for my imagination to work with, but not too much so I get caught up in details and lose track of the plot. When you have an intimately-detailed world in your head, this can be hard to do, so kudos to Rowling, Pratchett, and others who have managed to do it so successfully!

    Great list, Robin! :)

  4. Yes HP, yes Hunger Games, and Heck Yes to Cinder! Great list. Here is mine

  5. Stephen King is great at settings. I barely remember 'Salem's Lot, honestly, but I'm reading The Stand right now and his superflu-destroyed, post-apocalyptic America is extremely vivid.

  6. We had a few overlaps. I love that you included Jerusalem's Lot, it was such a vivid community and 'Salem's Lot is one of King's best.

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone! It was so hard to choose because there are so many fictional places that I love. :)

    Colin, high fantasy would be a hell of a challenge. Because you need to get the story told as well as trying to build up a world for the readers. It's difficult to get that balance without looking like you're barely developing it or info-dumping where the story and characters should be the focus. But I'd love to give it a shot someday!

    Megan, Stephen King can take a simple place and turn it into a fantastic horror setting. The Overlook Hotel, Carrie's High School, an American small town etc. I truly admire him as a writer.

    armchairauthor, 'Salem's Lot is my favourite. I was completely hooked on it and I loved how vividly he created a fictional community. The man is a writing genius.