I’m always talking about fantastical worlds I’d love to visit… but not about the ones I’d prefer to avoid! Which is why today, in honour of the spooky season, I’m going to brave these perilous places and report back all the reasons they’re not on the regular resort list!
The Wood from Uprooted– yes, this world is lushly described, yes, it’s intriguing and yes, I love reading about freaky fantasy forests… BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO I ACTUALLY WANT TO VISIT! I mean, the trees basically eat people, so that’s a hard pass on this as a holiday destination.
The Hazel Wood from Hazel Wood– likewise I adore the creepilicious setting described in the world of this book- yet I hardly imagining chilling out in these woods… more like catching a chill! Far from feeling like a fairy story, this is the place where twisted tales live. Plus, not only is it a pain to get to, but once you get there it’s far from easy going.
Midnight from Winter of the Witch– haunting, atmospheric and exquisite to read, this is less a place where dreams are made and more a world that weaves nightmares. It is a world where time slows, where reality bleeds from the landscape and where the story takes a darker turn. And so, for all its beauty, I think I’d rather not take this detour in real life!
Ithrea from Doomspell– if you thought kid’s books would escape this list, you’d be mistaken. Kind of reminiscent of Narnia, this portal fantasy takes you to a land of eternal winter, with the *freakiest* witches imaginable. And the best-case scenario? You can become one of them!
Misery from Ravencry– I mean, the clue is in the name 😉 While it is alluring in its atmospheric way, it doesn’t exactly bring travellers any joy. Wading through this world is like losing little pieces of yourself. It’s grey and ghastly and grimdark… so not exactly a fun destination.
The Broken Empire from Prince of Thorns– similarly to the last one, this futuristic fantasy is a hellscape that doesn’t bear thinking about. In this case, it’s so hard to talk about this world without spoiling it, but suffice to say it’s chaotic, violence-filled and ravaged by nightmares.
Westeros from Game of Thrones– to my mind, GRRM’s world building is second to none. The long seasons that tie into the plot, the subtly hinted at supernatural elements and the terrors lurking in the background… And it’s for precisely all of the above reasons that I DO NOT want to visit. There’s the threat of White Walkers beyond the wall, the risk of Red Priestesses looking for their next sacrifice… not to mention all the human horrors. I mean, there are basically a million ways to die in Westeros and I think I’d rather keep my head attached to my body! So thanks for the invite, but NO THANKS!
The Old Kingdom from Sabriel– yay for necromancy and all that… but also this has necromancy and undead and all kinds of other terrors. I don’t much fancy wading into Death either. Let’s just keep our feet firmly planted in the land of the living, shall we?
The World from Shade’s Children– yes, another Garth Nix! Because apparently no one else writes creeptacular worlds quite like him. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, where there are no adults, children face being taken to the Meat Factory as soon as they turn fourteen (and yes, that’s just as “fun” as it sounds). And if you do escape, you’ll find yourself hunted down by the Overlords’ creatures… good times (although, seriously, if you’re looking for a good standalone for Halloween, then this is it!)
Raxter School for Girls from Wilder Girls– I had the pleasure of reading this last year. I say pleasure, but what I mean is this completely freaked me out. In this claustrophobic horror, stranded schoolgirls get picked off one at a time by a ferocious illness. Not for the faint of heart, I get a little squeamish just thinking about all the vivid descriptions of what can happen to you here. So yeah, I’m glad I was never posh enough for boarding school if this is what it’s all about 😉
Panem from the Hunger Games– I think this would be a popular one to avoid. With its authoritarian government and poor standards of living, it doesn’t exactly scream a good getaway… More like somewhere you’d want to get-away from! Whether you’re starving in the sticks, getting murdered in the Games or watching other people die for sport- there’s basically nothing civilised about this civilisation.
Peculiardom from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children– technically speaking, I could’ve talked about being trapped in time loops, but honestly I feel like every aspect of Rigg’s acutely rendered world is terrifying. While I love how this is brought to life with various old, unusual photos, I don’t much like the sound of being chased by Hollogasts and Wights- and you’ll feel the same if you read it!
1920s New York from the Diviners– funny how my most desirable location in history becomes the least desirable when you throw ghosts into the mix! It kinda stops being glitzy and glamorous when you add in a helluva lot of hauntings! And all of those creatures are so h-u-u-u-u-n-g-r-y! Yeahhh I’m running in the other direction!
So, there you go! Those are the places I *wouldn’t want to go* on pain of death… because most of them would cause a very painful death! What do you think of these worlds? Would you be willing to visit them? And which places would you dare not venture? Let me know in the comments!