Top 5 Saturday: Desert Settings

Top 5 Saturday is run by Mandy @ Devouring Books. Every week showcases 5 books that share a common theme. This week’s theme is Desert Settings.

Immediately, several titles come to mind, so this one should be easier than the previous two! I hope.


The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

The Shadow Rising by Robert JordanThe Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.

In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken?

In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn.

In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland.

In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.

Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn…

The Aiel Waste was probably the second desert I ever encountered in fantasy. Possibly the first. My memory’s a little hazy. Of course, since I read it somewhere within my first two years of high school and all the other children’s and teen fantasies I had previously read were all medieval-inspired, I’m not surprised.


The Perfect Assassin by K. A. Doore

Divine justice is written in blood.

Or so Amastan has been taught. As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, he’s already having second thoughts about taking a life. A scarcity of contracts ends up being just what he needs.

Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, Basbowen’s finest start showing up dead, with their murderous jaan running wild in the dusty streets of Ghadid. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders, before the family gets blamed.

Every life has its price, but when the tables are turned, Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be their next target.

This entire novel is set in the desert. The city of Ghadid is actually above the sands, which are incredibly dangerous, and there was a point of mentioning the rains only came once a year, the only time the water supply was replenished.

My review


The Unbroken by C. L. Clark

The Unbroken by C.L. ClarkIn an epic fantasy unlike any other, two women clash in a world full of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire.
Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought. Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne. Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

A gorgeous North African-inspired fantasy, it’s definitely a novel with a desert setting. My favorite part of the world was how the lush Balladaire was written to be such a contrast to the dusty Qazāl where sandstorms were common.

My review


Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn

When Rohan became the new prince of the Desert, ruler of the kingdom granted to his family for as long as the Long Sands spewed fire, he took the crown with two goals in mind. First and foremost, he sought to bring permanent peace to his world of divided princedoms. And, in a land where dragon-slaying was a proof of manhood, Rohan was the sole champion of the dragons, fighting desperately to preserve the last remaining lords of the sky and with them a secret which might be the salvation of his people….

Sioned, the Sunrunner witch who was fated by Fire to be Rohan’s bride, had mastered the magic of sunlight and moonglow, catching hints of a yet to be formed pattern which could irrevocably affect the destinies of Sunrunners and ordinary mortals alike. Yet caught in the machinations of the Lady of Goddess Keep, and of Prince Rohan and his sworn enemy, the treacherously cunning High Prince, could Sioned alter this crucial pattern to protect her lord from the menace of a war that threatened to set the land ablaze?

This book is set in a desert, but I don’t actually remember much about it since its been almost 20 years since I’ve read it. I think I was a little too young to read it, somewhere around my first year of high school, so this is the other potential desert that came up first for me.


The Eight by Katherine Neville

The Eight by Katherine Neville

A fabulous, bejeweled chess set that belonged to Charlemagne has been buried in a Pyrenees abbey for a thousand years. As the bloody French Revolution rages in Paris, the nuns dig it up and scatter its pieces across the globe because, when united, the set contains a secret power that could topple civilizations. To keep the set from falling into the wrong hands, two novices, Valentine and Mireille, embark on an adventure that begins in the streets of Paris and leads to Russia, Egypt, Corsica, and into the heart of the Algerian Sahara.

Two hundred years later, while on assignment in Algeria, computer expert Catherine Velis finds herself drawn unwillingly into the deadly “Game” still swirling around the legendary chess set—a game that will require her to risk her life and match wits with diabolical forces.

Part of this book is set in Algeria. It’s been years since I last read it, but I distinctly remember the part where two of the characters were driving through the desert and it was most definitely very hot.


Well, that wasn’t quite as painful as last week’s Love Triangles, but I certainly had to dig deep! I haven’t thought of Dragon Prince in a long time, but I sure do remember the desert.

What books with a desert setting have you enjoyed?

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7 thoughts on “Top 5 Saturday: Desert Settings

    1. They’re both incredible! I really enjoyed both and loved how well they used the desert setting to make the story so interesting and different.

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      1. I haven’t heard much about The Perfect Assassin, either, which is a shame because I thought it was fantastic. The world is just so incredible and well-thought out. There’s something of a mystery to it and it played out really well in a fantasy setting.

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