The best books that explore fantastic worlds

Who am I?

I’ve always loved wondrous, far-off places, and I’ve seen a few in my day. I grew up with a military father and so we lived all over the place, including Japan, and a few years in Germany. I’ve also toured around the world with the famous Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. In addition to being a writer, I’m also a public-school teacher, professional singer and actor, and father of three, which is quite the adventure itself. I have a degree in German teaching and two master’s degrees, one in instructional design, and the other in Educational Leadership. My life is full and happy because I never stop learning and never stop wondering what’s beyond the next horizon. 

I wrote...

The Hunger

By Michael D. Young,

Book cover of The Hunger

What is my book about?

In a distant land, political upheaval shakes civilization. Poverty and corruption run rampant. Three great clans stand on the brink of war. The god Rahim has abandoned mankind.  Azil the scholar enjoys a life of wealth and comfort while he studies the nature of Rahim. But uncovering long-hidden truths leads Azil to a mysterious woman who wants to do more than learn—she wants to change the world. Claiming to be a divine messenger, she promises Azil all the answers he is looking for if he helps her steal the sacred gems of Sustenance, which are guarded in forbidden fortresses across the land.

The gems are the key to restoring Rahim and ushering in a golden age for the world. But the journey will be treacherous; bloodthirsty bandits, floating cities, and ravenous mage wraiths bar the way. And even more troubling is the gems’ volatile magic—magic so strange and powerful it could turn its wielder into the darkest of villains.

The books I picked & why

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Mistborn: The Final Empire

By Brandon Sanderson,

Book cover of Mistborn: The Final Empire

Why this book?

Brandon Sanderson is someone I’ve met and who lives in a nearby community here in Utah. It makes me think that if he managed to become so successful, then maybe I have a chance as well. I’ve always loved his books, and this one really turned me into a fan for life. He focuses so much on worldbuilding, delving into things like art, religion, and politics in a way that make his worlds come alive. This work has inspired my own by showing me how to do worldbuilding correctly. And it’s an amazingly fun and satisfying read, and the start of a blockbuster series.

The Hiding Place

By Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, John Sherrill, Tim Foley (illustrator)

Book cover of The Hiding Place

Why this book?

There are many books about the horrors of World War II, but none of them have inspired me so much as this account of a Dutch concentration camp survivor. It shows not only the horrible things that happened to her, but it shows how she overcame the terrible circumstances of her life to create many beautiful things. It shows her journey of faith and how she overcame her own hatred for her captors. I truly recommend this book to everyone. 

The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak,

Book cover of The Book Thief

Why this book?

As a German teacher and WWII history buff, I loved this touching account of the good-hearted normal Germans who were so devastated by the war. It is told from the viewpoint character of Death and how even he is haunted by humans and their ability to transcend their circumstances. It is a story that has left a longstanding impression on me long after I read it. 

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Hobbit

Why this book?

I love this book because it is one of the first ones that got me excited about reading fantasy fiction and eventually writing it. I think that on some level, I’ve always identified with Bilbo Baggins and his dilemma between wanting to stay safe and comfortable at home and wanting to find adventure in the wide world. It showed me that ordinary people can make a difference and that you have to go outside your comfort zone to reach your full potential. 


By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Why this book?

This book transports readers with some of the best worldbuilding around. Its plot is layered and satisfying and it has many parallels to our own society. It also laid the groundwork for many sci-fi epics to come and still holds up after all of this time. Not only that, but it is the basis for a whole series of books that cover vast swaths of time and space--exactly the kind of transportation sci-fi readers crave. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 2, galactic empires, and Germany?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 2, galactic empires, and Germany.

World War 2 Explore 976 books about World War 2
Galactic Empires Explore 10 books about galactic empires
Germany Explore 297 books about Germany

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Alone in Berlin, Rendezvous with Rama, and Anne Frank if you like this list.