A whole new world! When we are feeling lost and confused in this world, it can be nice to escape into a different dimension for a little while. World building is an intricate art, mastered by few, but it can make or break the story. Here are a few world building favourites that can take you on your own magic carpet ride.
- Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Middle Earth is, and will remain, the greatest of all the fantasy worlds.
Tolkien went as far as creating whole languages for his races. Centuries of history and lineages have been thought up and shared in both the appendixes of Lord of the Rings, and in his other books, such as The Silmarillion.
Every name has significance. Every race has a culture. Every place has a story. Every culture has songs and food, and languages that go with them. Middle Earth is a masterpiece.
2. Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
This series has it all! Culture, magic, geography history!
The magic system is discovered throughout the story, and each part is consistent. The culture and politics are built upon the magic system and are interwoven well, without becoming too confusing. The history has mystery that is revealed in a way that clarifies both the present and the future.
No regular fantasy creatures for Sanderson, only pure originality! Also, it comes with sketches and diagrams that help you visualise the world and the magic.
3. Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
When it comes to culture, it's Narnia's time to shine. C.S. Lewis knew what he was doing when he created this magical world. He has distinct countries with Narnia, Archenland, and Calormen.
His history is also amazing. Narnia is special because we get to see the story from beginning to end. From the creation to the end of the world.
Though heavily based on both the bible and Greek mythology, C.S. Lewis makes an old story have new meaning. And he uses talking animals, fawns and centaurs, dryads and naiads, dwarfs and giants to reveal this message.
4. Redwall series by Brian Jacques
A world of woodland creatures and vermin, of light against dark.
The culture of the Abbey of Redwall is consistent and inviting. You walk in through the front gate, greet the sisters, brothers, and novices, shake paws with the abbot or abbotess, and make yourself at home.
And the food! If you don't drool while reading about a Redwall feast, there is something wrong with your imagination.
Years of history records await you in the gate house, as you read about all the heroes and villians that have come before.
5. Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
Another world inside our world to explore! Riordan takes the myths and lore of ancient cultures and melds them into the modern world in a way that is both believable and structured.
And like Hogwarts, Camp Halfblood and Camp Jupiter have a call to our wandering minds. Race you to the lava spewing rock climbing wall!
So, go step through your wardrobe (Or Library) and pick your world to dive into.
Also, a special mention for Dune by Frank Herbert... which I have not yet read, but is supposed to come second only to LOTR.