I love books taking place outside of the US. I probably could have kept going on with this list, but I went with the ten places I definitely want to visit or have visited after having read the books that take place there.
Top Ten Books Set Outside the U.S.A.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (England) – Ever since I’ve read this book, I’ve always seen the London underground as Gaiman imagined it. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage when I eventually make my way to London and see that the metro doesn’t have a magical market or a crazy angel at Islington.
Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis (Italy) – Most–if not all–of the books in the Marcus Didius Falco series take place in Rome or thereabouts (sometimes Falco travels, as his job necessitates). Okay, it’s an ancient Rome, but considering how old some of the buildings are, it’s not hard to imagine Falco’s Rome and to imagine walking down his beat. (Which I have, geekily enough!)
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (Turkey) – Specifically Istanbul. Istanbul is definitely one of the places on my bucket list that I want to visit. I had an obsession with the place, even before Behemoth. So imagine my glee when Westerfeld took Deryn and Alek there all of book 2. Great stuff. Also, great trilogy!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Czech Republic) – Totally influenced my travel plans last summer. I walked the Charles Bridge and saw what Karou saw! Minus angels and supernatural powers, obviously, but Prague has a magic of its own, no angels needed.
Enchantment by Orson Scott Card (Ukraine) – You know, I think I often point this fantasy book out more than I do OSC’s science fiction. Not because I’m more of a fantasy gal–though that is probably a factor–but mostly because I loved the elements and the folktales in this story. Baba Yaga has been my favorite folk character in Eastern Europe since forever.
The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary (Japan) – What I would do to be able to spend time in Japan…ugh. I’ve read a number of Japan-related works at this point, including manga that takes place in the country, but I wanted to highlight this book because it is well drenched in the Japanese countryside and its folktales. Lovely stuff.
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (Romania) – So. Want. Go. Romaniaaaaa! There was something magical about this book that I really want to see where Jenica lives, and the woods she got lost in, as well as the places she’d traversed before she made it into the world of the fae. Heck, maybe if I make my way over there I’ll stumble into a fairy circle, too, and find myself dancing the night away. Here’s hoping.
The Wish List by Eoin Colfer (Ireland) – I could have also gone with Artemis Fowl on this one, but The Wish List is a lovely standalone that made me smile at the end of the book. It also holds the usual amount of Colfer humor you’d expect from the guy, only with a spunky girl spirit and an equally spunky old man as your protagonists.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Germany) – I am slightly regretting not having gone to Bavaria and Munich when I went to Germany last summer (because I’m more prone to enjoy myself around old cities), but still, Zusak was largely to blame for my fascination in going there last summer.
The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia edited by Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng (Southeast Asia) – Hah, I HAD to add this in, because it is an anthology filled with stories taking place in various Southeast Asian countries. Which includes the Philippines (yay!), Malaysia, and other countries on the other side of the world. Also, no shame plugging this antho. I’m always plugging this antho…