I’m seeing a trend in fantasy stories with extensive world-building. While many of them reveal the world through the usual quest for the Magical Thingamajig, the more recent trend is to reveal this strange world via the investigation of a murder. A detective must visit a number of dangerous places and confront strange characters (just like the folks on a quest).
I love this trend, and City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett is the best example I’ve come across.
The investigation of a murdered historian sets off a chain of events in a country that used to be ruled by six gods, before the deities were all killed by a mysterious weapon.
Well, maybe they were killed. There are some hints that one of them is still alive.
City of Stairs has great characters, a wholly original word (quite a feat these days), and mysteries that pile on top of each other.
Recommendation: Buy it. This book definitely rewards multiple readings. I’m getting the sequel, too.