Ever since I read the Wheel of Time I've been feeling disappointed and unsatisfied, nothing else has the same level of worldbuilding. tried reading the Malazan series and Mistborn trilogy, but nothing else comes close.
What fantasy sagas have worlbuilding and background on par with Robert Jordan and Tolkein and such? They just leave you feeling very familiar with the world, memorable individual cultures and regions and such, cities' personalities and reputations, like you'd be at home there.
Patrick Rothfuss is an obsessive worldbuilder. Don't know if you've tried him already, he's really popular nowadays. Has a nice religious story in book one that explains (without every making it explicit) why the days have the names they have, and why there are 11 days in a span, etc. Full of good stuff.
R. Scott Bakker has some worthwhile stuff, but very heavily based on real-world cultures, e.g. Romans, Greeks, Medieval muslims, etc.
To a lesser degree, maybe try Brent Weeks' Lightbringer trilogy (Book one is called The Black Prism). Interesting culture, though the parts you don't visit don't really get fleshed out much. I guess that's not surprising, though.
Shit, forgot Abercrombie. Also very clearly based on real world (Scots/Vikings, Roman Empire, and Ottoman in the First Law Trilogy, with some Renaissance Italy in Best Served Cold). Very cynical writer, though, but amazing with character and plot.
>landmass stretches off to the east
>ocean to the west (likely with islands in the bottom and/or top right corners)
>nonsensical mountain range dividing the land in half
>desert in the middle or southern periphery
>unexplored nothing wasteland to the north
>east is where the bad guys are (sometimes north) in a blasted land of evil
If your map resembles these aspects too much, scrap it.
I hate this too. I don't even read these kind of books but whenever I see world building maps they're always blocky with no interesting geographical features in comparison real world geography. It doesn't have to be so realistic, but I have see a convincing archipelago like that in south east asia of the caribbean. Even if you go into google maps and zoom in on a coastline you see how variegated it is.
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try them as soon as I finish the last book of the Mistborn trilogy.
It's more complicated than that. In some ways, yes, especially geography as >>7237712 and >>7237736 pointed out. GRRM made a pretty realistic continent. The cultures aren't quite as rich and diverse, though. What got me about the Wheel of Time was how the characters not only spend a long time in each region, so the reader gets familiar with them, but how well the interactions between the cultures were done--you could actually watch the cultures clash with each other while they were trying to work together with the protagonist, and some of the political alliances and happenings were actually motivated by cultural factors, not just scheming and backstabbing like pretty much everyone in ASOIAF.
I'm on book five of Wheel of Time, and I seriously don't know what everyone rants about. I don't see it.
These convoluted political systems? Theirs just so many names, and so much shit going on, and most of the characters are just sitting around doing fuck all. When it started and Logaine was going around pillaging, I was like 'Yeah, theirs so much stuff going on, Rand's going to go and deal with it all and confront it and it's going to be great.
But nope, more, 'TAM IS MY FATHER' and 'EGWENE WE WERE MEANT TO BE MARRIED' and 'LIGHT, I CAN'T BE THE DRAGON REBORN.' It's so repetitive and dull.
He writes the female charecters as if their only purpose is to get fucked by the male charecters. Which would be fine, I'm not some crazy femi-Nazi, but I don't want three POV's that take up a crazy amount of pages, about how these three girls all want to fuck the same guy. Seriously, is Jordan just projecting his repressed sexual urges onto these characters?
Everyone is useless fodder, the power nerfs every other charecter bar the Forsaken and Rand, I don't know why he needs a master army of Aiel and the Lords of Tear fighting his battles when he nukes an entire Trolloc army with a wave of his hand in the first book.
Please, tell me theirs a light at the tunnel, that I'm in a slump, or make me like the book. I'm in for the long haul and I'd love to get some joy out of the series.