Top 10 Tuesday: World Building


Woo 3 book posts in a row! I promise tomorrow will be about something else, but for today it’s Top 10 Tuesday! This week I took a look at books with amazing world building; stories set in a world so thoroughly developed it’s like the reader is living in it. This is a list of the books I most enjoyed the world of or was supremely impressed by the world the author created.

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I looooved the online world created by Cline in this ode to the 80’s.
  2. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – The post-apocalyptic world created by Carrie in this young adult zombie novel was totally absorbing and atmospheric. The fenced trails through the woods were described so well!
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – I am literally depressed that the wizarding world is not a real place. Major world building success!
  4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – This series also features some pretty phenomenal world building. I loved all the different settings Pullman created and how they just kept getting better and better.
  5. Sabriel by Garth Nix – I ADORED this series and really, really loved the world building. Sabriel, a necromancer known as Abhorsen, uses bells to put the living dead to rest behind the gates of the underworld.
  6. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis – I listened to an audiobook version of this book but nearly threw the towel in several times in the beginning because the quality was bad and the narrators voice drove me absolutely crazy. But the world building and atmosphere of Doomsday Book hooked me and kept me thoroughly engaged right to the very end.
  7. The Slave and the Free by Suzy McKee Charnas – This collection is books 1 & 2 of the Holdfast Chronicles, and is set in a post-apocalyptic world where women are enslaved to men. It’s grim, but very well done!
  8. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – Atwood is a master. She creates an eerily plausible post-apocalyptic world in this trilogy that I am just obsessed with.
  9. Half-World by Hiromi Goto – Half World is a limbo world between our world and the afterlife, and the characters in it are great!
  10. Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin – Le Guin is a master of world building. Left Hand is amazing, but so are all of her other many works.


  1. Oh, some great choices there! I keep (for eventual rereading) everything by Ursula LeGuin. Ditto for The Golden Compass and for Ready Player One.

  2. Sabriel, The Golden Compass, and Ready Player One are some of my favorite in-book worlds, too (and Harry Potter, of course). I didn’t read Sabriel until maybe last year, but I would’ve loved it as a teenager too. I have The Left Hand of Darkness at home because I found a fabulous old paperback edition, but I haven’t read it yet.

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