A couple of weeks ago I picked up Red Glove by Holly Black, and all through the book I was delighted at how little exposition the book throws at the reader. The book treats the reader like an intelligent creature who can infer from context, as it drops hints at events past and assumes the reader has plenty of imagination to invent the conversations these characters might have had, the details of the lives they've lived before they arrived at these stages in their conflicts. It uses unfamiliar jargon and doesn't stop the action to explain it, since context is plenty. It was one of the first books in a long time that hasn't pinged my annoyance button with tedious blocks of exposition, and I was delighted.
Of course, once I finished it, I discovered it was the second book in a series. *facepalm*
Except, as I lifted my face outta my palm, it made me realize: this is how I like my fiction. How I like to read it and how I like to write it. Where the worldbuilding comes as it comes. Free of dense exposition blocks. Showing the unfamiliar in its context. Assuming the reader can use her brain.
No one style is going to please everyone, but here's my new personal writing maxim: write like it's the second book.