The best fantasy books invite you to step foot into a world that feels like a real living, breathing place. Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch ranks in my top five favourite books of all time—a book with not only one of the best characters ever committed to the page (Sam Vimes, of course) but also one of the best cities: Ankh-Morpork. Twenty-five years on and I still want to go to Ankh-Morpork so badly I’d even be prepared to eat one of Cut-Me-Own-Throat-Dibbler’s pies to get there.
Although I suspect you wouldn’t be living and breathing too long if you stepped foot into Ankh-Morpork, the reason it’s such a pleasure to read about is because it’s so fully realised, so immersive, it blurs the boundaries between our perspective as a reader—standing on the outside of the story, looking in… or standing on the bustling streets, ankle-deep in muck oozing from the River Ankh. For me, perfect escapism is a fantasy setting I want to visit—even better is a setting I don’t want to leave.