3. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
2. The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy by Clare Dunkle
I already posted about this series as part of my top 3 couples, but I have to give it another shout-out for world-building. In the first book, Kate and her sister discover that a civilization of goblins lives underneath a nearby hill. When Kate marries the goblin king, she goes through an interesting series of initiations and learns a great deal about goblin history and customs. In the second and third books, elves are also thrown into the mix, and I loved the way Dunkle handled the suspicions and misunderstandings between the races. I also liked how well developed the goblin and elvin societies were, incorporating everything from fertility issues to standards of beauty. The reader gets a balanced look at each race's point of view, giving thought-provoking perspectives on how divisions and biases form, and how they must be overcome in an interdependent world where each race needs each other to survive.
1. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
I've been waiting for an opportunity to talk about these amazing books, and world-building is the perfect occasion! The series is based on a planet where a small civilization of humans has settled. In this New World, men can hear each others' thoughts, creating Noise. One of the things I enjoyed most about this trilogy was how integral Noise was to the entire plot. As one would imagine, having their thoughts known by everyone around them has a huge impact on how the characters act, especially when dealing with secrets. In addition, women's thoughts aren't audible (but they can hear Noise), a distinction that creates a great deal of conflict and division. Over the course of the books, the main character, Todd, learns to control his Noise, to the point that he can produce physical reactions in others just using his thoughts. Ness's world also has a complex history including relations with an indigenous species called Spackle. The way his world-building elements come together makes the reader fully experience his speculative world, yet creates moral dilemmas that are all too familiar.
Have you read any of these series? What are some of your favorite speculative worlds? What elements make a fantasy world stand out for you?
Thanks for reading!