On Book Settings: What I Like & Dislike (Fictional + Real Life)


What makes you get hooked up in a book? What makes you think “Hey, this sounds cool,” when casually checking out a book at your local bookstore? What makes you madly flip the pages of a book and puts you in the best of moods to read? For me, apart from the back-of-the-blurb, it’s usually the setting.

The setting of a book is usually the biggest factor that affects my reading mood. Give me the right plot and characters and the most beautiful writing but throw in a setting I don’t like and I’ll probably DNF’ing the book sooner or later.



It’s always good to start with positive vibes, right? So I’ll first list down my favorite settings, arranged per genre (because I’m that picky).


  • Magic castle (old), school, or institution – I always live for the sense of belonging, which is why I love sorting myself — Gryffindor, Hearttrender-slash-Fabrikator, Night Court, etc.
  • Forest, mountains, or seas – I love the chilly wind, the sound of waves, the shade of trees, and the freshness of dew — just don’t drop me off at a desert please
  • Parallel worlds/Hidden worlds – Examples would be Faerieland, Neverland, Prythian, and the likes.
  • Pristine royal palace – Because I love fanatsy that involves lots of royalty. Bonus points if the palace is made of white marble and has lots of secret passageways!
  • Japan – Throw in lots of cherry blossoms and incorporate Japanese culture in the story and you’ve captured not only attention but also my heart!


  • Space – I’ve always been fond of the great ‘beyond’ a.k.a. space. The universe. Give me a cool interstellar setting (with lots of black holes, wormholes, and lots of science geek facts) and I’ll love you forever.
  • Futuristic techie world – I love Warcross because it has this setting! I’m talking about cities with bright neon lights, holograms, and cool avatars.
  • Dystopian (futuristic or not) – This one actiually depends because I’m still not so sure about dystopian. As long as there is lots of nature around that place (lol who am i kidding) and not too much smoke (I HATE smoke) then I’ll probably like it.


  • City – Nothing beats city life!
  • Anywhere with beach vibes – Like I said, I love the sea. I love settings that involve not only beaches but also small tropical islands and lots of coral reefs.
  • High school setting – Another favorite, because I’m a high schooler myself. I don’t want to be stuck in an all-school setting while reading though, I’d like a few road trips every now and then because WHO DOESN’T LIKE ROAD TRIPS?
  • Remote rural town w/ lots of trees + mountains – By now you would have figured out that I’m really into nature. Well, that’s an understatement, actually. I love the fresh air, having grown up in a rural island (lots of trees haha) surrounded by a sparkling sea.


  • Victorian London – Probably the only historical fic setting I would forever love without doubt. I just love history at this point, with all the culture and the new inventions and how the world (Europe, anyway) is a bustling place during this era, especially the beautiful city of London.
  • France (late 1800s) 
  • Scotland – I love Scotland, especially their culture. Scots are so lucky to call a beautiful place home, with all their rolling hills and pretty mountains and seas. I’ve always wanted to go there.


  • Farm + Ranch w/ creepy workers – I’ve once read a Nancy Drew book with this setting and it turned out to be one of my favorite ND books! There’s something eerie about a ranch, especially if it’s slowly going downhill on the moneymaking business.
  • Mansion – Abandoned or not, too-big houses are the perfect place for murder. There are secrets lurking in every room.
  • Cruise ship or train – This setting gives the thrill of not being able to escape easily. A reader would start suspecting all the passengers, innocent-looking or not, and as a lover whodunnits, I find that very heart-pounding.
  • Ancient castle (again, abandoned or not) – If you think about it, it is kind of creepy when you’re inside a structure that has been built way before your grandfather was even born.




  • Too dry – I don’t like dry settings, especially if it has lots of sand and the MC brings up his parched throat or burnt skin or the scorching sun every few paragraphs
  • War zone – Mention bits of nuclear bombs, smoke, gunpowder, planes, and all that and I’ll probably put the book down 8% in and avoid it like a plague.
  • Slums, factories, etc. – I don’t like smoky, polluted places. Please, no.


Now you know which settings make or break my reading mood, which means you now now what books to recommend for me, so drop them in the comments below!







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14 thoughts on “On Book Settings: What I Like & Dislike (Fictional + Real Life)

  1. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea says:

    I am such a hoe for fictional school settings with bonus points if they’re learning magic. I also like bustling cities that seem to be at the height of innovation (fictional or real). And I totally get what you say about the smoke and pollution 😷 it’s the only thing I hate about the city of ketterdam

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruchi says:

    I love royalty in fantasy settings! Royalty generally pulls a political sub-plot and that is my favourite. Mixture of unworldly circumstances and political uncertainty is a recipe for my favourite books! And war zones… They just pierce my heart but I can’t put them down. Anyways Hello, I’m a new reader here 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachel @ Book-a-Mania says:

    I’m also so into school settings especially boarding school settings. They’re great for fantasy and even for mysteries. And anything royalty

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Madam Mim says:

    Victorian London is one of my favourite settings as well! I do like schools… but I’ve had a couple of reading experiences which put me off recently!


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