Top Ten Tuesday – Story World Edition

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the lovely folks over at “The Broke and the Bookish,” is a rewind week – we get to pick a previous topic and revisit it. Since I’ve only just started doing this a few weeks ago, there are many topics that I’ve missed. Here’s the one I’ve chosen for today:

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

As a wannabee fantasy writer, building a vivid and descriptive story world is one of my top priorities. It is something that I’ve struggled with, so I’m always amazed at how brilliantly other writers accomplish it. Here we go.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling) – Is it possible for me to have one of these lists and not have something Harry Potter related on it? Somehow I doubt it. But here’s the thing – I don’t know a single person who has read the Harry Potter series who didn’t wish that they could go to Hogwarts, even if only for a day.

2. Middle Earth (the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien) – Another no-brainer. Tolkien is the granddaddy of fantasy world building. The thing about Middle Earth is that it is so detailed and intricate, and every single piece of it has its own culture and story. And probably its own language, because that’s just how Tolkien rolls. It was one of the things (among many) that the movies got right – it’s beautiful! I want to live in a hobbit hole!

3. Westeros (the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin) – This one actually reminds me a bit of Middle Earth in a way, in the fact that it is extremely complex and detailed. From the riches of King’s Landing to the mysteries surrounding the Wall, Westeros has a little bit of everything. This is a book series that I am dying to re-read when I get the time.

4. Panem (the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins) – I don’t think I would actually want to live in Panem, since most of the citizens’ lives are pretty bleak, but you have to agree that it’s a pretty amazing story world. There is so much suspense that is just part of exisiting in this world, and such a marked contrast between the people in power and everyone else.

5. Kingdoms of the West (the Belgariad and Mallorean series by David Eddings) – It was one of the first fantasy story worlds I ever read about it and, as such, I will always love it. One thing that was nice was that the main characters had to walk pretty much the entire continent, so you really got to see the story world in its full glory. So many different landscapes and cultures are represented in these ten books. It’s quite an amazing feat.

6. Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll) – Now we’re kicking it old school. I’ll ask the same question as I asked with Harry Potter – who didn’t read Alice in Wonderland (or see one of the many movie versions) and not want to go there! It was a place where seemingly anything could happen, and quite often did.

7. Oz (the Wizard of Oz books by Frank L. Baum) – So most people will probably only know this one from the classic movie, but that’s okay. Again, who didn’t want to go over the rainbow once they saw it? I want to party with the Munchkins, dance down the yellow brick road, and visit the Emerald City! Who wouldn’t? Okay, so there’s a Wicked Witch who might try to kill you. Small details.

8. Fantastica (The Neverending Story by Michael Ende) – Again, this is one that most people will probably only know from the movie. The movie was good, certainly one of my childhood favorites, but boy was I surprised when I read the book. The movie was only about half of the book (and don’t get me started on the movie sequel – ugh!). This is another world where literally anything can happen, as Bastien learns the hard way.

9. Pern (the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffery) – I wanna ride a dragon! I wanna raise it from birth and have this special telepathic relationship with it. Sure, Pern has it’s problems. Like “Thread,” a strange parisite or particle that falls from the sky like rain at random times and burns everything it touches. Yeah, that kind of stinks. But dragons! I wanted so hard to become a Harper, a bard-like occupation that uses music to teach. But mostly I wanted a dragon. 🙂

10. The United States (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline) – I hesitated to put this one on the list, since the story world is just America in the future. But still, it is one of the most vivid and realistic dystopian futures I’ve ever read, and that was what makes it terrifying. Just the description alone of where the main character lives haunted me for days. And don’t even get me started on the OASIS. You can read my review of the book here. Or you can just read the book – it’s awesome.

And one bonus world:

11. Foo (the Leven Thumps series by Obert Skye) – I’m guessing that many people won’t know about this one, which is why I wanted to include it. This is another series that I both need to re-read and finish. Foo is similar in some ways to Michael Ende’s Fantastica, in that it is connected to the dreams of people in the normal world. Foo is a bit more whimsical and fun.

So there you have it. Are there any story worlds that you love that I didn’t list? Be sure to leave them in comments!


Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays

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8 replies

  1. What an interesting choice for the Top 10. I do love a vivid world in my books. It is great for the imagination!

    Check out my pick for TOP 10

    Holly @ Words Fueled by Love

  2. Naturally, I agree with several of yours (Hogwarts, the Western Kingdoms, Middle Earth, naturally) but I do feel the need to add Velgarth, the world of Mercedes Lackey’s Heralds of Valdemar and related novels. LOOOOVE that world, and when you get around to reading those, I think you will too 🙂

    And an honorable mention to Terry Brooks’ Shannara – I can’t re-read the first book, too much of a blatant Tolkien ripoff, but after that, I love the series. ‘Tis awesome.

  3. You know, as a kid I LOVED The Neverending Story (the movie) but I have never read the book! I should look into that.

    Great list. 🙂

    • You should definitely read the book. The movie was great, one of my all-time favorites as a kid, but the book was so much more . . . I don’t even know how to describe it.

      They tried to continue the book story in the second movie, but then they added a bunch of weird stuff and it didn’t do the book justice at all. But yes, the book is pretty awesome. I need to re-read it at some point.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. I would be ecstatic if I could magically transport to Middle-Earth. Visiting the Shire would be wonderful, but I’d be too tall to stay long. I’d probably end up in Rohan. Yay hunky horse guys!

    My TTT:

    • Yeah, I’d probably be too tall for the Shire too, but only by a little bit. I’m pretty short. But hanging out hunky horse guys in Rohan wouldn’t be bad either. Or in Rivendell. Or in Minas Tirith, once they clean the place back up again.

      Thanks for commenting!

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