Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!
This week’s theme is ‘Settings I’d Like to See More Of (Or At All)’, and it took me a little while to come up with a list because I’m fairly spoilt for choice when it comes to settings. I love fantasy and I love historical fiction, and because so much fantasy is based on periods from European history I often read books with settings I enjoy, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised there are some settings I feel like I’m sorely lacking.
If you know of any books with any of these settings, feel free to leave them below – I’d love to check them out!
I could have a long rant about the relationship between Wales and the publishing industry, and one day I will, but for now let me say this: I worked in Welsh publishing for three years, and during that time I saw the national media in London dismiss it entirely and saw the big publishers in London turn away Welsh authors who wanted to write about Wales because ‘no one wants to read about Wales’. I’m still mad about it.
Fantasy worlds with no monarchy
I’ve barely read any high fantasy novels that didn’t include a monarch, whether they were a queen or an emperor or a prince, and I get why. Like I said above a lot of fantasy is inspired by European history, which is full of monarchs, but come on fantasy writers! Give me fantasy worlds with different kinds of leaders, where the people get a chance to vote for who’s in charge.
As soon as I hear a book’s set in a nunnery, either in fantasy or historical fiction, I grab a copy. I’ve always been fascinated by nunneries, probably because I’m a history nerd with a mild obsession with Hildegard von Bingen.
Middle Eastern-inspired SFF worlds
I recently read The City of Brass and it was so refreshing to read about a world inspired by Islam rather than Christianity, especially a world written by a Muslim author, and I want to read more like it.
Literally anywhere outside London
Unpopular opinion time: I find London as a setting super boring. I understand why it’s so popular, especially with readers who’ve never been. I’m British and I’ve been to London quite a lot so I’m very lucky in that regard, but I’d much rather read about other places in the UK if I’m going to read about the UK – especially as someone originally from the north of England. London seems to be the setting in almost every single historical fiction novel I come across and it just doesn’t inspire me to pick it up at all.
Pre-colonised North America
I’d like to read more about North America before Europeans settled there, either through fiction or non-fiction, and I’d especially like to read it from own voices authors. I’m bored of First Nations people either constantly being tragic figures when they appear in historical fiction, especially when they’re not written particularly well, or being erased entirely.
Medieval Europe’s a popular setting in historical fiction, but I’ve never read a novel set in medieval Africa.
High fantasy cities
I love me an urban fantasy novel when I’m in the mood, but there’s urban fantasy and then there’s fantasy in an urban setting. I loved Six of Crows and Foundryside, both of which are set in cities within high fantasy worlds that feel like characters themselves, and I’d like to read more novels like that.
Feed is one of my favourite novels for many reasons, but one of those many reasons is Mira Grant’s world-building. Rather than writing a zombie-ravaged wasteland, like The Walking Dead, society hasn’t collapsed in the Newsflesh trilogy, it’s just altered a bit, and I’ve yet to read another setting like it. The closest has been Dread Nation, which I also loved.
The Dark Ages
As I’ve mentioned before I’m a huge history nerd, and in recent months I’ve become more interested in the period of time between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the medieval era, also known as the “Dark Ages”. I’d love to read more stories set after the fall of the Roman Empire, when all the countries it had acquired had to start fending for themselves again.