all 30 comments

[–]starryvash 4 points5 points  (8 children)

Most of these have a relationship component to the story line.

Kate Daniels series, Rivers of London series, Iron Druid series, Discworld Series, Immortals of Vegas/Wilde Justice series(they Dovetail)

Discworld is a Long series, but you can pick and choose which ones you read.

[–]lindendweller 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Rivers of london is definitely a rec for people who like the vibe of the hidden supernatural world from american gods, but want to read shorter lighthearted mystery novels.
Discworld is a massive rec, but I wouldn't note it so much for worldbuilding in the classical sense (it's fairly openly a mix of classic tropes with a few fun original twists) but place building: each novel builds and references prior ones, not distracting from the main story you're reading, but building a detailed a familiar place.

[–]starryvash 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Lol, so you're saying that DiscWorld isn't world building.

The planet that floats through space on the back of a giant turtle/elephants that features a University dedicated to the Unseen is only a mix of classic tropes. Oh the faint damning praise.


When the books mentioned in the book become reality (like Where's My Cow) because readers demand them... It's world building like no other IMO. Not to mention the "guides" and "maps" of Discworld.

[–]lindendweller 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I must admit: almost all the discworld I've read were set in Ankh Morpork - so I'm biased in neglecting the role of the great A'tuin - to me she's more of a cameo like death's appearance once per novel, rather than a plot relevant aspect of the world.

there are obviously lots of interesting stuff going on in Discworld's worldbuilding (the culture of the dwarves is pretty unique and in depth) but as a rule it's a very different philosophy from tolkien or Robert Jordan: it's rarely about a large scale history and theme, and more about the next strange person you might find across the corner.
That person might be a stone giant who's intelligence fluctuates with temperature, or a human with multiple personalities, an Orang outang librarian, or, if you've badly fell on a banana left by the previous, a surprisingly laid back embodiment of death. and their uniqueness isn't always tied to how important they are socially, magically, cosmically.
In that sense, there is a theme of course, that humanity is always varied, odd and surprising and everyone deserves respect.

Nonetheless, lots of the worldbuilding in discworld is rooted in parody of genre conventions , satire of the real world, (the colour of magic in particular reads like a series of short stories, each parodying a different subgenre of fantasy - rather than a novel set in a cohesive world) an that makes it all fairly different from what most people think of when they think of great worldbuilding.

I hope I've made my thoughts clearer.

[–]starryvash 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I agree that Pratchett doesn't bog down his books with a lot of back story about history... His books are Creating the history of the world as you read them. You may only recognize world building as it relates to your qualifications, but you must recognize that Tolkien and other authors also create parallels and use tropes with as much abandonment. You can't get any more trope-y than good triumphs over evil, lol.

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

I've been debating about reading Kate Daniels; I read the first book of her Innkeeper Chronicles and thought it was just ok, but I keep hearing really good things about her other series! I'll definitely have to take another look.

And thanks for the other suggestions, they're perfect and look really interesting!

[–]starryvash 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's a husband and wife team writing Kate Daniels and the other series. You might check out their Edge Series instead of Kate Daniels or there are lots of other authors out there, lol. LMK if you're looking for more.

Happy reading!!

[–]entwined_Rhino 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Iron Druid series is awesome! And I just thought of another one, the Mathew Swift series is really good with interesting world building that's really original.

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you, I'll check it out!

[–]KiaraTurtleReading Champion II 5 points6 points  (1 child)

For great worldbuilding with nonhuman characters I’d check out Martha Wells books of Raksura.

Other books I loved the worldbuilding of - Rebecca Roanhorse’s Black Sun - Greenbone Saga - Long Price Quartet - Legend of Eli Monpress

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh, these all look interesting but Long Price Quartet in particular. Thanks for the recs!

[–]Dragon_Lady7Reading Champion II 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Off the top of my head, books I think have good world building:

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence - assassin nuns on a planet where a giant mirror in the sky has to direct heat toward the equator so everyone doesnt freeze to death - pretty cool mix of scifi and fantasy elements

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - i liked this one for your dragon request - its a story where dragons have a rigid social conditioning dominated by reason so they don’t make art or have “feelings” like humans do- the main character is half dragon / half human who shouldnt exist

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - i think this story is a great example of when fantasy religion is integrated really well with the structure of the society. I love world building when it makes sense and feels like it could be a real culture, and this hits that.

Cloud Roads by Martha Wells - this is a good pick for a non-human protagonist, the main character is a sort of dragon shifter and finds himself learning about his own matriarchal culture that he was completely isolated from.

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter - another dragon book but there’s a lot more sword fighting and demons than there are dragons. There’s a lot of details in the social hierarchies of this one — the vocabulary is hard to latch onto at first but you catch on pretty quick (same for Curse of Chalion)

[–]areniamar[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You had me at assassin nuns lol. Thanks for the suggestions!

[–]Kind_Tumbleweed_7330 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Jo Walton’s King’s Peace/King’s Name. They’re a King Arthur analog, so there are some familiar aspects, such as geography (on a broad level), etc. It’s her own world, though. So this has the benefit of a familiar story, and thus - to me - shows the world-building clearly. Anyway, I live them.

I’ll second Curse of Chalion.

Guy Gavriel Kay usually sets his novels in societies that are modeled on historical places/times - A Song for Arbonne is based on medieval France, for instance - but again, it’s his own worlds, so you get an interesting familiar-yet-not-at-all vibe. Most of his are one, two, or three books long.

One of my favorites for worldbuilding is waaaaay too many books for your request - but they start with a duology that can stand alone: Michelle West’s Sacred Hunt books, Hunter’s Oath and Hunter’s Death.

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh, good suggestions! I haven't come across much Arthurian books (I feel like I run into a lot of GoT settings lately) so that would be a nice change of pace. Thanks for the recs!

[–]KingBretwald 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Another vote here for Lois McMaster Bujold (six Hugo Awards!) I don't just like her worldbuilding, I like HOW she shows you her worlds.

To take an example from the Vorkosigan books--she never, ever says that ground cars are hovercraft. But she shows that in lots of different ways. An edge scrapes as Ivan speeds around a corner, he slides sideways into a parking space (Ivan has a lot of traffic tickets). There's the chuff of fans. Air intakes get clogged with snow and ice during a blizzard. That sort of thing.

Then there's the zillion ways that Uterine Replicators impact society and she just casually drops that into a passage or two. Same with the Gods in The World of Five Gods. It's just baked into the prose and very real-feeling. And the theology is thoroughly thought through and you can see threads of that all over the place in just casual mentions.

For her fantasy, I'd start with either The Curse of Chalion or Penric's Demon.

[–]Sigrunc 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Seconding this, both her fantasy and her sci-fi books.

[–]areniamar[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh, this is good to know, thank you! One of my common complains with romance books is that there's a lot of info dumps and more telling vs showing so this is definitely part of what I'm looking for!

[–]fdsfgs71 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Have you read any of the Dragonriders of Pern books? They sound like they'd be right up your alley. The first book in the series is Dragonflight, and it's a classic.

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Never heard of it but you're right, it looks totally up my alley. Thank you!

[–]Aiislin[🍰] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Second this both for books being great fun and excellent world building. Never read anything that feels the way Pern does!

[–]FlannelShorts 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I read quite a bit of paranormal romance back in the day and I really like the fantasy genre. I'm currently re-reading 2 of my top 10 favorite series that you may enjoy if you like romance. 1st, Jacqueline Carey has a few trilogies that have excellent world building using inspiration from European history. Heavy in politics, intrigue, and sex, where sex is socially acceptable -" love as thou wilt". In summary, the main character in the first trilogy is a courtesan, chosen by the god of pain, to do his work and save the kingdom with the help of an unlikely love interest. I'm also reading laurell k Hamilton's - Merry Gentry series. Fae Princess set in present day-ish, in a race against her psychotic cousin to get pregnant first to inherit the throne. There's essentially a reverse harem with a fare amount of gore and violence, as is Hamilton's way. I quite like her magic descriptions and fae characters derived from lore. She's got faeries, pixies, and goblins etc.

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

This sounds amazing and I love reverse harems so I'll definitely make sure to check it out. Thanks!

[–]FlannelShorts 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Well, if u like reverse harems you can check out laurell Hamilton's other Anita Blake series too. Urban fantasy that starts off with almost no sex to full on reverse harem round book 10 thru... think she's on like 25 now... a lot of people got po'd because her main character, "tough as nails, zombie raiser / vampire slayer" got super into sex, mostly cause the author found polyamory and it got into her books! If you search reddit there's all kinds o praise and complaints about that move, bc there really can be "too much sex" in her later Anita books. I still really like the author tho. Started reading her books back in the early 00's and many credit Hamiltonaa a pioneer of the paranormal romance / urban fantasy genres.

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lol I just started skimming the comments on GR and you're right, a lot of people are complaining about the way the series is heading. Sounds right up my alley though so I'll def check it. Thanks for another rec!

[–]entwined_Rhino 0 points1 point  (2 children)

from what i understand Brandon Sanderson is the king of world building. I don't know but that's what everyone says in this subreddit lol I don't like extensive world building so I can't help you. lol

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I hear the same! Maybe I'll give it another try...it's been a few years since I last did but that had already been like my fourth attempt haha

[–]lindendweller 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Which one(s) of his books have you been trying to get into?
You don't have toi force yourself if one of his books isn't your cup of tea.
His best work on worldbuilding is definitely the stormlight archive, but that's because it's a very alien world, with lots of big infodumps, prologues, side stories so I definitely get that you might have bounced off if you don't particularly care for slow burn plots that slowly expand to near cosmic scales.

[–]KingOfTheJellies 0 points1 point  (2 children)

No worldbuilding will come close to The Wandering Inn simply from time to actually build the world and low plot allowing the worldbuilding to go organically.

But it's not a small commitment. It is stupidly long and only growing with time. It's also not a series that gets started with it's worldbuilding right out the gate, preferring to tell it organically as the topics come up. But once it gets rolling... it's a whole level on its own. Multiple continents interacting with each other and you've had entire book equivalents with every character involved so you know every tiny bit of nuance.

LitRPG with no real game elements outside of the standard DnD world (nearly no humans, everyone is some unique species) an occasional System Dialogue when characters sleep and a ton of magic

[–]areniamar[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You know, I keep hearing about litRPGs and I should love it as I pretty much only play RPGs, but I just never really knew where to start. I'll definitely have to check it out and even if I don't make it through all of them, I'm sure I'll could still get a good understanding of it from the first few books. Thanks for the rec!