TOP TEN TUESDAY IS HOSTED BY THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH.
This week’s topic: top ten historical or futuristic settings.
I think I was supposed to pick one or the other, but I decided to do a mix and match of both historical and futuristic settings. I never thought I would find myself getting into historical books, and I am still picky about what eras and places I read, but I am reading more of them. And enjoying them. Obviously I have ALWAYS loved futuristic settings. The more I can read, the happier I am. I eat those up like CAKE. SO what are my favorites?
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden ~ Kara wouldn’t be Kara without mentioning her favorite book. This is the book that started it all–the book that made me fall in love with Asian fiction and Asian settings in general. The setting is 1930s Japan mostly, but it also goes through the WW2 era in Japan. Most of the book takes place in Kyoto and the surrounding areas. Kyoto managed to avoid the worst of WW2 but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t impacted at all. Anyway, it’s a great setting.
- The Diviners by Libba Bray ~ This book is a little bit of everything. Fantasy, paranormal, historical, but it’s the atmosphere and setting that stick with you the most. The setting is 1920’s New York City. The Jazz Age. Speakeasies. Crime. Racism. Prohibition. Flappers. Harlem. And one very creepy antagonist. It’s wonderful.
- Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci ~ While this duology was not a perfect one–some of the writing left a lot to be desired, I was won over by the defunct deep space station setting. It’s FABULOUS. It’s a space opera, and man is it a good one. The largely uninhabited space station (The Yertina Feray) is in orbit above a planet used for mining. Tula is beaten and left for dead there, and she is saved by an alien of a different species. The author did a wonderful job handling the racism and tension between species, to the point that it felt very real. This is what life on a defunct space station would really be like, I think.
- The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox ~ I just finished this one a few days ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it. The setting of 1940 during the London Blitz, Northern Scotland, a creepy crumbling castle, spies, magic, and a boarding school, and I am just already wanting to re-read it! It’s tragic, it’s magical, and it’s definitely creepy as hell. Read this one with your kids if you have any because you don’t want to miss it. Scratch that. Read it by yourself.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott, Fitzgerald ~ You either love this book, or you hate this book. I am firmly in the LOVE camp. In fact, I adore it. It’s my favorite classic novel. No one knows how to turn a phrase better than Fitzgerald, and his setting of New York City, and the Jazz Age is fantastically rendered. This book couldn’t have been written any other time for it to work. And yeah the characters are shallow and sometimes insipid, but the book is also tragically sad and broke my heart. I think I need to re-read it soon just so I can imagine myself having a gin martini with Gatsby.
- The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins ~ Panem is a scary fucking place, but it’s also incredibly detailed and fascinating. The technology fits really well within the narrative, and all the different districts surrounding the capital are really well thought out. But my favorite, FAVORITE setting in this trilogy is the second arena that is set up like a clock. It’s terrifying, but oh so suspenseful. I think I’m going to need to do a re-read of this trilogy soon as well!
- Ashfall Trilogy by Mike Mullin ~ Technically this is a post-apocalyptic setting, but there’s also a lot of science about the supervolcano under Yellowstone erupting, so I’m including it. I still haven’t read Sunrise yet, but I’m going to ASAP. I think it’s time I finish this one and put it to bed. But the setting. It’s my favorite because it is bleak and horrible, but also the author really brings it to life and it jumps off the page. Yeah, there are cannibals, and yeah, there is ash and starvation everywhere, but it sticks out in my mind. It really does.
- The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer ~ Uh, DUHHHH. How can this NOT be on a list of favorite science fiction settings? It’s fantastic! A lunar colony and a monarchy on the fucking moon! Cyborgs and androids! Spaceships and domes and genetically altered wolves, OH MY! A retelling of Rapunzel where a girl is stuck in a satellite orbiting the moon instead of a tower. I mean, where do these ideas even come from?
- When We Wake/While We Run by Karen Healey ~ This one is about cryogenics, and it is freaking scary. The setting is 2027 Australia, and Tegan has been asleep for 100 years when she wakes up in a country she doesn’t recognize. She basically becomes a celebrity, she’s used by the government, and there’s a lot or running and hiding out and some very great imagery. Also great science ideas. Karen Healey can really write, and she also does diversity really, REALLY well.
So I only came up with 9, but technically I included more than one book on each number, so I am going to stop there. There are plenty other books with historical or science fiction settings that I liked, but none that are memorable like these are.