The best fiction books set in underground worlds

The Books I Picked & Why


By Hugh Howey

Book cover of Wool

Why this book?

Wool is so much more than an author writing and releasing a book. I won’t delve into the full background, but it was initially released as a self-published short story, gained popularity, and grew from there into a great series. The worldbuilding is fantastic which lets readers get lost in the world, where details and characters are fleshed out. There’s enough mystery and intrigue to keep you coming back for more. Overall, an excellent read.

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The City of Ember

By Jeanne DuPrau

Book cover of The City of Ember

Why this book?

This book often gets overlooked because of its “juvenile” stigma, however, there’s much more than the cover! The characters are on the younger side, but the worldbuilding is great through their eyes. Readers get a good feel for how the underground society works and provides a good glimpse into some things we take for granted. While later books in the series get further away from the underground world, it’s all worth a read.

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By Neil Gaiman

Book cover of Neverwhere

Why this book?

This book allows readers to strongly visualize Neil’s fantasy world and get lost in it. The descriptions are enough to tantalize and run with, and the world that’s built through Neil’s classic prose comes alive on each page. Even if you’re not a fan of the fantasy genre, there’s enough grounded in aspects of reality that make it worth a look.

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Tunnels (Book 1)

By Roderick Gordon, Brian Williams

Book cover of Tunnels (Book 1)

Why this book?

Another overlooked book because it is targeted for children. It’s the first in a series and is darker in tone than others. The imagination of the underground world here is neat and built in such a way that lets you envision it. The plot can be a bit disjointed for younger readers, and there are some twists to keep it interesting, but overall, is a fast read.

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Gregor the Overlander

By Suzanne Collins

Book cover of Gregor the Overlander

Why this book?

While on the more fanastical side of things, and again targeted for younger readers, the overall environment that’s built throughout really lends itself to questions about other worlds and how, not just societies, but animals adapt as well is interesting and often described really well. The prose also reads very quickly, so it’s easy to read and engaging.

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