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12 fictional worlds to get lost in this fall

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For those book lovers, who spend their days dreaming of the literary wonderlands they could be living in, we have selected twelve of the finest products of the human imagination the book world has to offer. From spellbinding fantasies and fairy tales to dark dystopian tales, these captivating reads will appeal to any escapist at heart in need of a new venture. Here are some of the wildest and most wickedly haunting fictional worlds you will enjoy exploring on a chilly fall day.

The Odyssey by Homer

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One of the most hypnotic adventures ever created in literature, Homer’s sequel to The Iliad revolves around the Trojan war veteran, whose prolonged journey home sparks the rumours of his untimely death in his own kingdom. While Odysseus is fighting his way back to his wife Penelope, the queen of Ithaca has to face her own demons. In her husband’s absence, she becomes an attractive target for a string of power-hungry suitors, all vying for her hand in marriage. But despite all obstacles and detours that destiny seems to shower Odysseus with, the master of disguise succeeds where others fail. Whether it’s outwitting the Cyclops, resisting the allure of Sirens or narrowly escaping a six-headed monster, the Greek hero deploys an arsenal of hidden talents on his personal journey to reassert himself as a worthy king of Ithaca.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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Nestled between the emerald mountains of Columbia, lies the mythical town of Macondo, which harbours dark secrets and incestuous relationships. Built upon the hopes and dreams of tormented exiles, the city of mirages witnesses the curse of the Buendia family, whose fragile existence is slowly corrupted by technological advances, exploitation and isolation, leading them to their tragic end. Whimsical and thought-provoking, this multi-generational saga skilfully interweaves lyrical magic with harsh reality into one heady brew of decadence, passion and oblivion.

1984 by George Orwell

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If you have ever wondered what a crystal ball séance might feel like, then look no further. George Orwell’s gaze into the future will offer a goosebumps-worthy portrayal of the world at the end of the twentieth century. In the totalitarian state of Oceania, where every move is controlled by an all-seeing eye of Big Brother, disobedience comes with deadly consequences. There will come a time when anyone who dares to challenge the authorities will face the choice between suicide or a life in shackles. Immersive and terrifying, this anti-utopian tale is brimming with elusive freedom, manipulation, privacy violation and other hair-raising prophecies that still ring true for most facets of modern life.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

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From the moment four siblings step through a wardrobe door, you are invited to leave the mundane behind and join them on a journey through the wondrous world eternally frozen in winter. The great magic seeps from the pages as evil spirits, exotic animals and Greek mythological creatures roam the land of Narnia. However, in spite of its seemingly tranquil beauty, this mysterious land harbours a dark secret. Having discovered the devastating power of a spell cast over Narnia by the White Witch, the Pevensie siblings set off on a mission filled with danger, forcing them to conquer their fears and overcome the obstacles.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum

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When a powerful cyclone rips through a Kansas farm, Dorothy Gale and her beloved pet Toto find themselves swept away into the mystical Land of Oz. Having received the ultimate protection from the Witch of the South, Dorothy sets off on a dizzying journey joined by the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, each hoping to have their wishes granted in the Emerald City. However, the Great Wizard has a plan of his own, sending the new arrivals on a perilous quest to end The Wicked Witch, teaching them powerful life lessons along the way. Marvellous and enduring, this delightfully quirky story will make you turn pages faster than you can say “Winkie”.

The Beach by Alex Garland

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Rumours of a Thai utopia, the secret location of which can only be disclosed to a chosen few, have been circulating among backpackers for decades. In search of his slice of paradise, a young English traveller Richard joins forces with two fellow explorers to venture into unchartered waters of East Asia. Soon they discover a breathtaking island that seems to offer infinite freedom and a chance of a fresh start.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Generations of dreamers have enjoyed this tale for its whimsical charm and for its role as a prelude to the Lord of The Rings series. Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. An undeniable masterpiece, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent. Unputdownable!

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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There is nothing quite so satisfying as full immersion into the wizarding world of Harry Potter at Christmas. The life of an orphan under the roof of his heartless, earthbound relatives can hardly be described as a picnic until he receives a letter that is destined to change his future. Master of storytelling, J. K. Rowling conjures up an impressive array of magical creatures, some based on mythology and some of her own invention. Her unparalleled humour and imagination intensify this bewitching tale of courage and sacrifice that has rocketed the author to international fame. Immensely addictive, this extraordinary feat of literature has the power to restore our faith in good triumphing over evil.

Popular Tales from The Norse by Sir George Webbe Dasent

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Translated and presented to modern readers by George Webbe Dasent, this collection of Scandinavian folk tales might awaken some of your childhood memories of Grimm’s fairy tales read at night. Set against the backdrop of a lush landscape, these unique stories interweave elements of Christianity and socio-economic issues into Norse mythology.

Seasoned with violence and garnished with humour, forty-two bizarre yet addictive tales are filled with giants, trolls, mermaids and other mythical creatures that have the power to lure you into their fantasy world.

Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

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Inspired by Thomas Malory's classic Le Morte d'Arthur, this electrifying reimagining of the Arthurian legend will captivate all fans of mythic fiction. From Merlin’s prophecies and the encounter with the Lady of the Lake to the quest for the Holy Grail, these familiar tales ooze a delightful escapism where courage, chivalry and enchantment play a central role. With a rare ability to immerse the readers into the world of knights and nobles, Knowles neatly interweaves historical facts with elements of folklore and mythology blurring the boundaries between reality and fantasy.

The Dark Tower by Stephen King

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The first in the Dark Tower series, this riveting tale portrays the adventures of Roland Deschain, the Last Gunslinger whose entire existence is driven by his desire to save his dimension from extinction. On his quest to reach the mysterious Dark Tower, the lonely ranger is yet to battle the monstrous creatures and evil sorcerers dwelling in the desolate world that frighteningly mirrors our own. Stephen King works magic by engaging readers in the development of a complex character as he walks the line between the darkness and the light. This epic fantasy with a twist is guaranteed to pull you in and f grip you until the last page.

The Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

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This all-age comic fantasy has the power to teleport you to a magical world of eternal winter. The forth story in the Young Adult Discworld series centres on a thirteen-year-old witch Tiffany Aching, who inadvertently draws the attention of the Wintersmith during a ritualistic dance. Determined to woo the object of his affection, the spirit of winter bestows hand-crafted snowflakes and ice roses on Tiffany, chasing her to the end of the world. Loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus’s descent to the underworld, the tale of sacrifice and obsession skilfully blends the trials of love, sarcastic undertones and punchy humour into one absorbing read!

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