Top Ten Tuesday is sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish.
Here we have a list of top FIVE (not ten, spoiler alert) settings/character types/etc. that I wish to see more of in the book world.
I am a sucker for manners and social intrigue, not so much in the modern sense, but as it pertains to medieval court maneuverings or the social scenes of 18th and 19th century England. It’s why I love 19th century British novels so much. But it needs to be written in a way that doesn’t bespeak angst or pettiness (particularly on the part of the main character), but shows the complexities of a society where everyone is wearing a mask.
Examples: Court Duel by Sherwood Smith, The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, Jane Austen, Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
Pre-medieval based fantasy
Seriously, why does everything have to be based around castles and kingdoms? I love that as much as the next person, but there is so much untapped potential in a world based in Anglo-Saxon or Viking or Germanic or Celtic lifestyles–grand, wooden halls of Chieftains or Jarls, ancient folklore of the Wild Hunt, Leif’s journey to the Americas, Beowulf, the Norns, etc., the constant power struggle between tribes. There is so much fascinating culture to draw upon, I would love to see more of it.
Examples: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Viking based/Norse Mythology
This is more of an extension of the last point, but I find it so important that I want to give it its own segment. I have had a grand obsession with Viking culture since I was 12 years old and I did a project on them in 7th grade. In the last five years or so, there has been a rise in popular interest in Viking culture (with shows like Vikings taking off, and Thor and Loki’s prominence in The Avengers), which I have enjoyed, however, I’d like to see more authentic renderings of the Viking way of life–less dramatized and more factual–or, at least, rooted in the mythology of the day. There are so many fascinating tales hidden in the Norse Sagas, so much to draw upon for inspiration! Yggdrasil, the tree that supports the world, and Hel, the pit of cold and darkness where those who do not die a valiant warrior’s death in battle go, and the Norns, the Norse weavers of fate much akin to their Greek variants, and Hugginn and Muninn, the Ravens of Knowledge and Power. The list goes on.
Examples: The Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix, Juliet Marillier has a few Viking based books, Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
19th century US or Europe with magic
Historical fantasy, a mix of reality with magic. A 19th century London where magic and Wizards are part of high society. A 19th century United States where magic played a major role in the Civil War. Yet, somehow, history remains the same around it, just tweaked by the existence of fantastical elements. Places where magic has rules dictated by society, but society is also influenced. Tales of adventure and the unexpected in a landscape we think we recognize.
Examples: Sorcery and Cecelia by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede, Veneficas Americana series by MK Hobson, A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede (actually, most stuff by Patricia C. Wrede), The Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson, The Flashgold Chronicles by Lindsey Buroker
Adventure/fantasy books with intact parents who have a positive and active role in the MC’s life
This is a rare thing in fantasy/YA/adventure books because often a dead parent or parents give the MC the independence to drop everything and go out on some grand adventure. But what about a grand adventurer who had a good relationship with parents who are both still living? I lived in China for two years, studied abroad in Germany, and traveled the world away from my parents. I had a ton of adventures. Yet, both my parents are still alive and well and very active in my life. So, I don’t think it’s implausible and I would love to see something like this well executed in fantasy. I’m hard pressed to find any books that fit this category, unless it’s part of a series where the second book features the main couple in the original book’s children.