National Reading Movement

Fantasy Universes You DON’T Want to Live In

If you’ve ever searched your wardrobe for a doorway to Narnia when you’re eight or waited for your letter from Hogwarts at 11, you’re not alone. A quick Google search reveals that many people seek to escape into a fantasy world. (You’ll also find a plethora of t-shirts designs centred around this escapism.)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


But not all fantasy worlds are a great place to live in. In fact, there are some you would never want to step foot in, ever! Still unconvinced?

Let me share with you my personal list of fantasy worlds I’ll never EVER want to be in.


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


An idyllic town at the edge of a forest set in a time where magic and wonders exist may sound like a perfect place to live in, but trust us when we say it isn’t.

While the forest is a popular setting in fantasy fiction where magic and fantastic beasts can be found, none is as dangerous as the one found in Naomi Novik’s novel.

In addition to killer wolves, giant mantises and wooden creatures, the forest corrupts men. Even the most pacifist farmers are turned into riot instigators. To make matters worse, the trees in this forest have been reported to consume humans who ventured close to it.

And any world with man-eating trees warrants a big no-no from me.




The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss



While not all the creatures of Temerant are deadly, I’ll still never want to live in the land where Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles is set in.

I’m no spider-lover and right off the bat, we’re introduced to deadly black spider-like creatures known as the Scrael. They are the size of a wagon wheel, possess razor-sharp feet and travel in packs. To top it all off,  there are creatures who control other beings like a puppet, and even a fire-breathing drug-addicted dragon!

But what’s scares me most about Temerant isn’t its local fauna—it’s the seven beings known as the Chandrian. When the Chandrian draw near, they bring with them a blight that causes wood to rot and iron to rust and flames to turn blue, and almost no one survives an encounter with them.

Although the general populace thinks that the Chandrian are just an old wives’ tale to scare children, the truth cannot be any further. They have killed an entire circus trope just because a member included evidence of the Chandrian’s existence in a song.

Imagine googling the true meaning of Row Row Row Your Boat and being hunted just for it!


Gentleman Bastards Series by Scott Lynch



Disclaimer: this book contains controversial themes like rape and torture.

In an earlier article, we covered the first book of the Gentleman Bastards series, The Lies of Locke Lamora—an alternate take to Robin Hood set in a town inspired by Venice. For those who dream of walking the streets of Camorr, we’ve got some bad news for you.

Firstly, in Locke’s world, the ocean is filled with sea creatures like giant leviathans and telepathic beasts that convince sailors to throw themselves overboard. On land, giant wasps roam in swarms, each armed with stingers the size of tiny dagger stilettos.



If you think that’s bad, wait till you see the humans. For starters, there’s a game called “human chess”. Think of it as the Wizard’s Chess found in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but instead of enchanted pieces, it’s humans. Whenever a chess piece gets captured, the human acting as the piece receives the punishment—usually in the form of being beaten close to death. And if someone gets beaten to death, nobody blinks an eye.

If that’s not sick enough, torture, rape and corruption are viewed as norms and sometimes even as a ritual for good luck.





Well, I’ve shared my not-so-exhaustive list of fantasy worlds I never want to live in, how about you?