I play video games which has influenced by reading in recent years for the better. Because I have definite preferences and favorites related to gaming, I’m leaving off all worlds discovered via gaming or movies. With that caveat the list contains two worlds this year and those two fantasy settings are an integral part of their story and characters.
The Rain Wilds
Robin Hobb is, as I’ve said many times this year, brilliant at creating a world that comes alive and jumps off the pages. Her world is as much of a character as the actual characters in the books. The towering trees capable of supporting cities. The acidic river that harms all that come in contact with it’s waters. The wildlife that lives in the world is noting I’d like to meet out in the wild. But given the river that could kill you, trees I’d be afraid to climb, and the wildlife I’d still venture further into the world. The world may be dangerous but it is also vibrant and alive. There would be so much to explore and learn in the Rain Wilds that I doubt I would ever be bored.
Setting of Imperial Light
Mary Corran’s Imperial Light has an incredible world setting without name. It could be a far away planet or it could be earth itself in the distant past or the distant future. The world she created has sentient sea creatures that interact with land dwelling humans and light stones that give off light. The heroes of the novel have to battle what the environment throws at them to serve the will of the gods to end the drought that is slowly killing the planet. The world is terrifying and yet incredibly beautiful at the same time. There aren’t lush forests or rolling green plains but there are moments of stark beauty that make the reader forget about the traditional definitions of beauty.