Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic for bloggers to choose and list their top ten. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I Enjoyed Set Outside the US.
I read a lot of fantasy books so the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday was an easy one for me. While most of my favourite books are set in completely made up places, Ravka and Ketterdam (The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows) and Godsgrave (Nevernight) among others, for this week’s topic I wanted to stick to books that were set in cities that actually exist in our world; although some are more inspired by those cities than strictly set in them.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
This series is set in an alternate London, where a king and a séance gone wrong opened the world up to clairvoyant abilities. Now in 2059 Oxford has been taken over by the Scion and there are catacombs run by the Rag and Bone Man under Covent Garden. In spite of the fantasy though The Bone Season is still set in a version of London, albeit one we wouldn’t recognize when compared to today’s London.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This is another series with an alternate version of London, but it’s my favourite series so I couldn’t resist adding it to my list. Even though there are differences between the four London’s Kell travels through there are similarities as well. Red London may have magic where Grey London doesn’t and Black London may be dead and White London dying but there are landmarks which can be found in all four worlds, connecting them together.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Each book of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is set in different countries; book one is set in Prague, book two the desert and book three Rome. However the first book, and the world of Prague we discover alongside Karou, is my favourite of the lot. It was so magical that after finishing it I was desperate to visit the city and experience it for myself.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Setting: New Beijing
Once again this is another series where each book is set in a different country; Cinder in New Beijing, Scarlet in Paris, Cress in the Sahara and Winter on the moon. While this is a series set in the future, after a devastating war where the world has changed and where a plague rages through the streets, there are still similarities in Cinder to the Beijing of today.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I’d been to Paris a few times before reading Anna and the French Kiss, and as Anna and Étienne explore Paris together it was like being there again myself. Anna is new to Paris and so she visits all the tourist landmarks but also sees the parts of Paris tourists never get a chance to experience themselves.
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The Burning Sky takes the city of Eton, where Titus and Iolanthe attend school, and adds a world of magic and wonder to it. It’s a world where Atlantis is a major power, a world with schools for mages to learn their craft, and a world where the Prince of the Domain fights alongside the greatest mage of the era against an evil overlord.
A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
Setting: Puerto Rico
A Fierce and Subtle Poison isn’t one of my all-time favourite books, while the story was good I couldn’t connect with Lucas, however the setting of Puerto Rico was richly described. The beaches and the Festival de San Juan which lines the streets, even the mosquitoes which swarm every few years was written in such a way it felt like I could almost reach through the pages and experience it all for myself.
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Imagine a world where the Library of Alexandria was never destroyed. Instead it was allowed the prosper and control the media distributed; reading anything the library has not deemed appropriate is punishable and as such a criminal underworld of book traders has sprung up. This is what Ink and Bone imagines and Jess, our main character, has a foot in both world’s; both more dangerous the deeper he gets into them.
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Setting: Germany and Tokyo
Wolf by Wolf is one of my new favourite books, and I am eagerly anticipating the sequels release later this year. Yael competes in the Axis Tour which takes her all through Germany and Tokyo, travelling thousands of miles by motorbike to the finish line. This is a world where Hitler won the Second World War, and the resistance make the streets Yael travels through very dangerous indeed.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Another book set in London but Carry On takes us to Watford where Simon, Baz, Penny and Agatha attend the Watford School of Magicks; a place where merwolves swim in the moat and Simon’s roommate is a vampire. Honestly though, Watford is the last place I would expect there to be a school for magic, and the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford doesn’t count.
So what do you think? Did you take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, if so let me know what some of your favourite books set outside the US are.