Today I am participating in February is Fantasy Month, hosted by Plot Wizard Extraordinaire, the lovely and imaginative Jenelle Schmidt.
I met Jenelle this summer and we connected over New Jedi Order (I know, so nerd, no shame :D), Timothy Zahn, Kathy Tyers, and Mara Jade. For February is Fantasy month, Jenelle’s blog tour will touch on several fantasy topics and including a blog tag. I chose the topic of world building. This is something really special about fantasy stories. While you do need to have world building for any story that you write, it is something hugely critical, and unique to fantasy and science fiction stories.
I’m assuming that you, dear reader, are already aware of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and I won’t spend time elaborating on these. Instead, I’d like to share with you 5 other novels that offer wonderful adventures and beautiful new worlds.
The Electrical Menagerie, by Mollie E. Reeder
It should be said that politics ever exist well in many fantasy stories. Often, they swing between extremes like The Hunger Games or they are simply non-existent. I apologize if this is an awkward thing to commend an author for, but not only was I impressed with the world itself (which was incredible, original, and sensational) but I also applaud Reeder for the spinning of political drama throughout. Each character’s relationship was tainted in some way by the story politics, but it was not overdone. It was not overwhelming. My heart heart went out to Carthage, and I longed to meet Huxley face to face, if only just to shake his hand. If you’re into bright and heartwarming steampunk-flavored adventures, this world is for you.
Interitance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini
Okay, don’t get overexcited here. I’m referring strictly to the book. (If you have only ever watched the movie, psh, just walk away- most of us can agree that the film was self-sabotaging from many angles). There is also the matter of storyline and character development. In my personal opinion, neither are heroically original (I predicted many things, but I was still spellbound regardless), however, Poalini’s worldbuilding is drop-dead gorgeous. I mean, dragons! But besides that, the world and its cultures are incredible and beautiful. I loved this adventure enough that, although it has been many years since I first read it, I still think on it fondly now and then. It is midieval in feeling, so yes, your typical fantasy, but it has a fresh take on elves and dwarves and it’s not a shallow one.
Rats of Nimh, by Robert C. O’Brien
A rare handful of you might know that this was one of the first fantasy novels that I ever fell in love with. (I don’t know if it is technically a fantasy novel but I’m calling it that.) I read this book in maybe fourth or fifth grade, and was immediately smitten with the detail of the story and the elaborate creation of the underground world of the rats. Not to mention- all that back story! I had never read anything like it before, and it amazed me that someone could create such a story within a story. (Can you tell, I was mind-blown.) Oh- and Justin the rat:*heart eyes* This may or may not have been the first book that influenced me into begging my parents for pet rats, which were the loyalest and cleverest little pets I have had. If you’re looking for a story that shows how backstory is invaluable to world building yet you are intimidated by the Silmarillion, try this.
Beyond the Tales, by Tricia Mingerink
I really had no idea what to expect here, and was pleasantly surpised to realize that, once again, Mingerink has bonded American influences with midieval systems in a flawless and magical way. The places and characters are shaped by Native American culture, while they still have the Kings and Queens found in most fantasy worlds. This was a delightful and beautiful world, filled with tenderness, awe and forgiveness. The forest was comfortingly familiar, but the rivers were splendidly adventurous. This is a great example of blending real-life cultures to create a new fantasy culture.
Out of Time Trilogy, by Nadine Brandes
I loved nearly all things about this trilogy, but especially that mixture of wild adventure, suspence, and fresh shalom.
After a plethora of herione-led dystopian novels the past couple of years, this was a relief from all of the dark angst and it filled me with hope. Such loving detail is poured into the crevices of theses stories in futuristic,
fallen-apart version of USA, and much forgiveness sprinkled on top.
Redwall, by Brian Jacques
Jacques was my hero when I first discovered this series. Again, it is a midievel world centered around an abbey of woodland creatures. One of my favorite details about Jacques’ brilliant world is that each type of creature has a distinct accent. You know it is a hare when you see this accent, or a mole when you see that one. Furthermore, if that didn’t tip you off enough (the accents are often very strong), each character has their own purpose and goal, and it comes across in almost every dialogue sequence. So many fantastic cultures are presented, each with favorite tastes (oh, all the food!) and favorite pastimes. Everything is flavored and spiced to perfection.
Happy reading, my friends!
Here are the other participants in the blog tour:
- Kendra E. Ardnek
- Laura VanArendonk Baugh
- Laura Matthias Bendoly
- Jackie Castle
- Nicki Chapelway
- Crystal Crawford
- Kristin J. Dawson
- Selina J. Eckert
- DJ Edwardson
- Melissa Rose Gardiner
- T. R. Gemmell
- Savannah Jezowski
- Kathy Huth Jones
- Lila Kims
- Elizabeth Koetsier
- Laura Lucking
- Lauricia Matuska
- Jennette Mbewe
- Amelia Nichole
- Nicola Pike
- Jenelle Schmidt
- Kyle Shultz
P.s. I apologize for the weird spacing. WordPress wouldn’t play nice today.