This weeks choice for my picks includes books that have a fantasy type of setting. Now before you gawf at my choice of “X” setting, lets sit down and actually think about HOW MANY fantasy settings there are! There can be 50 different fantasy settings, and not to mention, are we talking about “high” fantasy or “low” fantasy? Outerspace setting? Different worlds altogether? Reality WITH fantasy elements? Underwater?
So, you there are many variables that had to be concidered while compiling this list. I have taken a slightly “easy” route with compiling my list of books. Seeing as I LOVE Fantasy (its a problem, lol) I have a good mixture of Fantasy novels to choose from but my problem was I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do only one type of Fantasy setting, so I choose a couple different ones! Reality with Fantasy elements, full fledge Fantasy, and a miscellaneous category where there’s a little bit of both in the setting! Fantasy is such a complex genre, no wonder there is something for everyone to love!
BUT enough jibber jabber lets get down to my list!
NOTE: these books are in no particular order
#10: “Harry Potter Series” by J.K. Rowling – who couldn’t put this particular series on their list! Hogwarts is pure, unadultered FANTASY! It is everyplace a kid dreams of escaping too with secret passages, witchcraft, ghosts and creatures of all fantastical creation!
#9: “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas – this fictional fantasy takes place in an entirely different world all together. It definitely pulls from the real world a bit with slave camps, and such but you won’t find Endovier on a map anywhere! The one great thing about this setting is that there are neighboring countries that get mentioned so you’re not just getting one setting but three or four separate ones.
#8: “The Iron Fey” by Julie Kagawa - The Iron Fey is a delectable combination of reality and fantasy setting. At first the main character Meghan Chase is found on “earth” (lets say) but as the story progresses so too does the setting to the land of Fae. Particularily the Winter Court and that of the Iron domain as well. These settings are purely fantastical along with the creatures that inhabit them. I do believe that my favourite description thus far is that of the Winter Court and surrounding areas. Although I am not fully done the series I think the setting is one of the aspects that draws me to this series.
#7: “Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore -another purely fantasy driven setting of Monsea. This book is the third in the entire series (Graceling, and Fire previously before which are set in different areas of the Seven Kingdoms). Now Fire had some wonderfully creative setting but the characters were more beautiful in that one compared to Bitterblue. The setting was absolutely breathtaking. It had medieval elements, magical elements, grunge districts and polished palace districts as well. It had everything a medieval fantasy novel needs!
#6: “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo - another one of those settings that mix reality with fantasy aspects. This particular setting takes place in a setting similar to that of a historical Russia but with magical, and sorcery elements. Some of the pivotal setting points that make this a Fantasy setting would be the “Shadow Fold” a cursed and dark plot of land with unknown magical creatures that will basically eat your face off; or one of the castles that Alina (the main character) stays in which is breathtakingly beautiful and elemental magic flows through the structure. These types of setting pieces of Ravka are what make this book a favourite for Fantasy setting.
#5: “Exiled” by M.R. Merrick - the seedy underbelly of a metropolitain area with more modern setting but still fantasy at its core! M.R. Merrick delivers a setting that could borderline Dystopian with its grunge and decripit like places, if it wasn’t for those highrise condo’s and pizza delivery places still in business. This series of books takes place all over the place though, Merrick has created different realms where creatures of all shapes, sizes, and skills to kill one with inhabit. Even the city portion has magical elements with “domesticated” vampire’s and shapeshifters, even local hangouts for these types of creatures and of course human Hunters with the control over elements. The setting both in “reality” and out of, start to take shape into Fantasy once the story progesses.
#4: “Born Wicked” by Jessica Spotswood -this setting boarderlines on a “contemporary fantasy” because of its historical value of small town living. Spotswood has created a community almost similar to one of the 16th Century small town mentality if it wasn’t for the witchcraft and institutions that either support, or oppose the magic that apparently doesn’t exist. In itself Born Wicked would fall under more a “contemporary paranormal” read but I do love the little town and shops that either support witchcraft or are against it; it has a fantasy like feel.
#3: “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer -OF COURSE! Cinder is a high tech. fantasy setting and was an absolute MUST on todays list! Once again ALMOST Dystopian with its ruins of forgotten countries (like North America!) this book takes place in … OUTERSPACE and betterly known as Asia. There are cyborgs, and “aliens”; humans and spaceships; high tech. palaces, and farmland! This book mixes multiple setting such as historical buildings, but with a high tech. twist or “alien” like twist. Its an exciting read solely based on how it mixes the unknown (outerspace) with the familiar (Asia – or whats left of it).
#2: “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare - this book falls under a mix between contemporary setting and fantasy setitng. It obviously takes place in New York City but there are fantasy elements – obviously the shadowhunters and the demons they hunt but not just in the characters, the settings. The Shadowhunters “head quarters” are “hidden” (forgive me if I am wrong seeing as I haven’t read this book in over a year and a bit) and are on “holy ground” IE: a church. Not only are there secret passages, warlock parties, and vampire crips – there is ACTUALLY a city of bones where the “silent brothers” inhabit. All of these elements, yes contemporary but still created in a way to be Fantasy. ALSO – further along the storyline the main grouping of characters travel to another “realm” of sorts which is pure fantasy called the “City of Glass”.
#1: “Alanna: the First Adventure” by Tamora Pierce – annnnd finally the number 1 choice for favourite Fantasy setting is by Tamora Pierce. These series of books will always without a doubt be my number 1 choice when it comes to fantasy. When I was younger Pierce was the series of books I had gotten HOOKED on and couldn’t put down. Her sets of series of books (she has 4 series with 4 books in each and 1 series with 2 books) span over one realm she has created in the first book of Alanna. The realm is Tortall and within this realm there are Gods, creatures, knights, princes, kings, queens, assassins, martial artists, saracens and ALL from different settings and parts of the realm. So many detail and extra creativity went into JUST the setting. Its these types of settings that really make a Fantasy novel.