Top 5 Examples of Awesome World-Building -Fantasy Edition | Bookforager | Guest Post
Updated: Apr 2, 2021
A huge thank you to all the book bloggers who came together for the top 5 project! There are so many books out there, and the top 5 project is a fun way to showcase some great finds and explore more book blogs! Today features a guest post from Bookforager that includes their top 5 examples of awesome world-building - fantasy edition!
About the Blogger
Hi, I’m Mayri, forager for books and library lurker (fine, I work there, but that only really means that I’m paid to lurk where I’d lurk anyway). I am irritating enthusiastic about all things Book and have been blogging since 2017 after a friend suggested I stop annoying just her and unleash myself upon the world. The world has, so far, been unimpressed. I, on the other hand, am having a blast.
You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @bkfrgr
You can find my blog here: www.bookforager.wordpress.com
1.) The Dagger and Coin series by Daniel Abraham
Dragons once ruled the world and from their Firstblood slaves they created the Thirteen Tribes of humanity to serve their many wants and needs. But the age of dragons is past and the Thirteen Tribes have inherited a world littered with giant ruins and the indestructible dragon-jade roads. Chitinous Timzinae, scaled Jasuru, tusked Yemmu, fully-furred Kurtadam and the aquatic Drowned are only some of the Tribes living alongside one another in a fantasy world that might, at first, appear all too familiar.
When an ancient cult is brought back into the world by an unfashionable nobleman the stage is set for life-changing events and Abraham’s small cast of characters travel to the length and breadth of the map searching for a way to stop a tyrant (possibly one of the greatest villains you’ll ever meet) and destroy the persuasive Spider priests.
My review for the series can be found here:
The Dagger and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham – bookforager (wordpress.com)
2.) The Matthew Swift series by Kate Griffin
It’s the magic that infuses, suffuses and bleeds from the edges of this urban fantasy series that will blow you away.
In Matthew Swift’s London beggars and bag ladies are powerful beings, and magic accumulates in places and things because of their frequency of use. It is the seething crowds of humanity living together at close quarters that gives magic its potency: urban legends are true because we believe them to be; the rules of the Underground can be cast as a spell because enough people follow those rules and give them power; there is magic in graffiti and litter and phone lines. The city itself is the battery powering the magic, and Matthew Swift is able to channel that power.
These books make you want to visit London and seek out all the places within their pages. An urban explorer’s dream come true.
3.) The Anvil of the World trilogy by Kage Baker
The Children of the Sun were born from the union between a blacksmith god and a fire goddess. As a result, they are a mechanical-minded people, always tramping across the world building and inventing things. The Yendri, on the other hand, are a more spiritual people, skilled in the healing arts, refugees saved from slavery by a Holy Child who grew up to be their Green Saint. And then there are the demons. Magical, elemental beings who, when given corporeal form, are as smart or stupid, as dangerous or benign, as anyone else with a body.
The Yendri’s Green Saint marries a demon lord, the Master of the Mountain, and they have children who are both demonic and divine, and terribly conflicted. An assassin attempts to put the past behind him and reinvent himself as an innkeeper. A half-demon foundling begins a one-man war against the Riders who enslaved the Yendri. Two orphaned siblings make a new home on a huge barge and see the world. Whatever story Kage Baker is telling at the time, her world remains creative and varied, and so much fun as she plays with fantasy tropes along the way.
My review for the first book in this trilogy (the other two reviews are still to be written *ahem*) can be found here:
The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker – bookforager (wordpress.com)
4.) The Diviners books by Libba Bray
Bray’s 1920s America is a melting pot of cultures and superstitions, faiths and prejudices, creative energies and destructive impulses. She captures all the vigour of industrial endeavour and its darker underbelly in her depiction of New York. As the vast commercial machine spins up, minting radio stars and dancing girls, musicians and actors, and making all things marketable, ghosts are stirring in the night, bringing with them murder, sickness and possession. Against the growing tide of the supernatural stand the Diviners, a small group of haunted, divided young adults faced with the impossible task of saving not just the city, but their whole country.
Come for the flappers, jazz clubs and illegal hooch; stay for the government secrets and experiments, ghostly happenings and, finally, the answer to the question: just who is the man in the stovepipe hat?
My review for book one can be found here (am halfway through reading this series right now):
The Diviners by Libba Bray – bookforager (wordpress.com)
5.) The Winnowing Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams
Welcome to Sarn. A magical world that still rings with the tales of noble war-beasts born from the tree-god Ygseril during times of need. A post-apocalyptic world haunted in places by parasitic spirits, in others by mutated animal and plant life. A horrific world in which the beautiful elf-like Eborans fell upon their human neighbours and drank their blood, before being struck down by the Crimson Flux, a wasting disease that has decimated their numbers. A poisoned world that must learn its own forgotten history if it is to stand against the alien Jure’lia for the ninth time and survive.
If you read nothing else from this list, read Jen William’s Winnowing Flame trilogy. Come for the incredible sights – the now empty, wolf-stalked streets and halls of the ancient city of Ebora; the vast and overgrown swathes of the Wild; even the stark silhouette of the fell-witch prison the Winnowry and above it the corpse moon. Stay for the fabulous found-family, Lady Vintage, Tomalin the Oathless and Fell-Noon, Aldasair and Bern, and the slim but shining hope that they may be able to save their world. You’ll not read anything else like it.
I read this trilogy as part of a Wyrd and Wonder read-along a few years ago. The first of those posts can be found here:
Read-along: The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams (weeks 1 & 2) – bookforager (wordpress.com)
Wyrd and Wonder 2021 info:
Wyrd and Wonder is back (onemore.org)