Saturday, May 14, 2016

My favorite (and least favorite) fantasy worlds

I wouldn't say I'm new to fantasy, but I'm a new fantasy lover, if that makes sense. As an avid reader I have, of course, dabbled in fantasy for years, but in the last year or two I've started reading it as one of my favorite genres. Something that I've picked up on is that some fantasy worlds are far more developed than others. While some are incredibly complex, others are... well, not at all. Today I'm sharing with you my favorite and least favorite book fantasy worlds (I'm leaving out LotR and HP because duh)!

I have LOVED getting to know this world over 1000+ pages and I can't wait to explore it even more in the third book! Although a world with locations called things like Day Court and Night Court could have easily gone the wrong way, I feel like Sarah J. Maas did a fantastic job of creating several unique settings. My favorite setting in this series so far is easily the Night Court!

Part of what made The Grisha Trilogy so incredible (in my opinion) is the amazing world and mythology that Leigh Bardugo created. This series spans across oceans and each location the characters visited, including the ocean itself, was amazingly crafted to make me feel like I could see it. Heck, even when Alina was underground I felt like I was there! 

This is one of the first fantasy series I ever sunk my teeth into (and I'm still reading it, actually) and I was immediately amazed at how expansive the world was. The characters of this extremely long series travel to countless locations and each one is finely crafted. Some readers complain that the meticulous world building actually dragged the books down, but I loved it. At times it felt like looking at a painting! My favorite was obviously Tar Valon, the Aes Sedai city.

While this series has a big, fancy map and was published by Tor, the same publisher of the Wheel of Time series, it's fantasy world is severely lacking. I'm not the only reviewer who felt like Truthwitch made a great show of throwing around fantasy(ish) words, but never actually went out of its way to show the reader what the actual world looked or felt liked. This book is a teller, not a shower.

This will be another unpopular opinion, but I did not find Snow Like Ashes to have convincing world building at all. In fact, here is the "world building" section of my review: "Here's what I feel I've learned about these kingdoms: Winter = cold and snow + white hair, Summer = really hot and uncomfortable, etc. I didn't feel like I was there." Maybe reading the next book would have shown me more of the world, but the fantasy world of this one really let me down.

This is a book that has been repeatedly marketed and labeled as "fantasy," but it has what is probably THE laziest fantasy world building I've ever seen. The Glittering Court literally takes real countries, towns, etc. and slaps a different name on them. It's honestly embarrassing and I can't believe Richelle Mead would even have this published, but oh well.

So now you've seen my favorites and those I don't much care for. Do you agree or disagree? 
What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments!