Invented or secondary created worlds are truly marvellous places for a reader to visit and inhabit long after the last page is turned. I remember reading The Lord of the rings at a young age and being transported to somewhere completely different, walking quietly through Moria, treading the leaves of Lothlorian, or fighting in the battle of Helm's Deep.
While many novels and authors have been, in my humble opinion, successful in captivating us with incredible worlds. The most successful and captivating one to date must be the works of Brandon Sanderson, specifically The Stormlight Archive, which i will rant and rave about at any given opportunity. Sanderson has delivered two novels of the Stormlight Archive to us and they simply are the most captivating fantasy novels of recent times.
Why is that? I hear you ask, the answer is very simply the superb world building and the use of secondary creation as well as an epic storyline.The story is (so far) taking place in a alien and mysterious world called Roshar. It tells the story of many things, from man' victory over a mysterious enemy, fast forwarding thousands of years to a critical moment when a king is assassinated which causes the war that the main characters are caught up in one way or another. The main characters are Kaladin, a surgeon who becomes a soldier only to become a slave, Dalinar a man leading an army in pursuit of vengeance for the king and troubled by powerful visions. The third major character is Shallan, a young woman seeking the wardship of a heretical scholar who's research into the causes of the war may hint of mankind's forgotten history and of their greatest enemy.
The Stormlight Archive is truly epic and not just because of the size of the novels, Sanderson chronicles the main story as well as brief glimpses of other lives being affected or changed by the events of the main story. The world is amazingly realised as well, its has it's own economy with Firemarks and Skymarks and emerald broams. You could just imagine handing someone 2 Firemarks instead of £2!! It also it's own version of religion as well, it has the major religion, Vorinism, as well as it's minor religions which are causing problems of their own on Roshar in the background to the major events.
The Stormlight has been incredibly successful so far with only two out of ten books published , this is due to the central mystery's that the books present to the reader. What exactly are the Voidbringers? Why do they hate humanity so much? Why did the Knights Radiant disband? Everyone has an agenda in this epic story, the one that intrigues me the most is the Ghostbloods, what exactly do they seek to achieve? I am sure answers will come slowly but surely with Stormlight Archive No 3 just around the corner.
I suppose one final point to make is that of Mr Sanderson's writing. I have read all of his published fiction and i have seen his writing style evolve and change. In the grand tradition following from Robert Jordan, his writing is detailed and complex but with out being so, effortlessly describing his invented worlds. This is what brings me back each time to read a novel by Mr Sanderson, the Stormlight Archive will be his masterwork, anything else he publishes i will have to buy immediately as well.