I could’ve filled this list with ten items if I had included, say, Hill House and the world of The Exorcist, or the Overlook hotel, but I already feature one ghost tale so I didn’t want to have more of the same. Oh and I did pick some places instead of worlds, because I haven’t read that much fantasy! So, let’s begin!
Bookish Worlds or Places I’d Never Want to Live In
08. Republic of Gilead, in The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood
When I read this week’s topic, this was the world I thought of immediately. As you’ll see further down this post, I’m not a fan of dystopias. So count me out of Orwell’s, Burgess’s, and of course, Atwood’s. It’s hard to imagine a more terrifying world, particularly because the level of control here affects such intimates aspects of life.
07. Number Four, Privet Drive, in Harry Potter written by J. K. Rowling
Would I love to experience the world of Harry Potter? Who wouldn’t. But where he grew up, the Dursley’s house?? Having survived all those years under the stairs with those horrible people is the real reason Harry is a hero.
06. Panem, in The Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins
Dystopias are never nice. Maybe you’re the kind of person who’d like the chance to overpower an oppressive futuristic regime, but I for one really like peace and quiet. And liberty. So, no volunteering from me.
05. Bradford Family Estate, in The Bourbon Kings written by J.R. Ward
Unlike the others on this list, the Bradford mansion is not scary, nor is it especially dangerous – even though there are murders involved. And you’d think I’d be tempted to live for a time in such a luxurious house, with more money than I could dream of. Yet, as much as I enjoy reading about this family’s dramas, living in the midst of their problems would be such a bore. Not too mention the gigantic whirlwind of intrigue and backstabbing would drive me crazy, and ruin my precious breakfast time.
04. Erilea, in Throne of Glass written by Sarah J. Maas
Ask me if I’d like to live in Prythian (the world of ACOTAR) and the answer would unwaveringly be yes. But Erilea? Somehow the world building in this series appeals far less to me, and without any truly magical, peaceful places for me to enjoy, it’s simply not worth the risk! It’s too big and confusing and violent and to be honest, with the notable exception of Tower of Dawn, I never really fell in love with the people in them.
I would make an exception for a vacation in Antica, provided all the cool characters were there with me. Although I do think making the library the most dangerous place is just mean.
03. Area X, in Annihilation written by Jeff Vandermeer
Don’t know about you, but I like to know where I stand – and what I stand on. Living in Area X means throwing everything you know out the window, and not be able to trust a single one of your instincts. This level of uncertainty and insanity is not for me, no matter how pretty it can be in places. Also the fact that everyone will be out to kill you doesn’t help.
02. Yorkshire Asylum, in The Ballroom written by Anna Hope
Speaking of insanity, also would never want to live in an asylum. Even if by being there I would find a once in a lifetime love affair – not worth it. Although I guess Hope does make it sound pretty romantic, if you’re into living a soul crushing tragedy.
01. Amityville Mansion, in The Amityville Horror written by Jay Anson
This bookish place is actually a real world house, but the events that take place in it are almost certainly fictionalised. Regardless of controversy, this remains one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. And yes, I’m partial to ghost stories as it is the easiest way to rob me of a nice, long sleep. Anson’s book is interesting because the writing is so simple, and the story is even a bit basic, yet the novel is exceptionally effective. Some part of me would still spend a night there but… no more than that!!