George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones epic saga is about political intrigue, warring kingdoms, backstabbing, and dragons. If that sounds like your jam, here are fourteen more books like Game of Thrones.
1. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams
Martin himself credits the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy as the inspiring force behind Game of Thrones. The story takes place on Osten Ard, a Westeros-like continent shared by multiple kingdoms.
The series opens with The Dragonbone Chair, which is told from the point-of-view of a kitchen boy named Simon. When Simon helps the king’s brother escape the castle dungeons, he unwittingly becomes a witness to the king’s evil deeds.
As he flees from the king’s soldiers, he makes friends with humans and non-humans. Together, they must learn the truth about their kingdom’s history and prepare for the coming war.
2. The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
Like Game of Thrones, this trilogy is told from multiple points of view. From the first book, the story follows six protagonists, each of whom can be described as “morally gray” at best.
You may find yourself undecided whether a character is a hero or villain as they journey through war-torn lands. With magic, orcs, and warring kingdoms, The First Law has all the hallmarks of a classic high fantasy. This makes it a great series to jump into if you’re looking for a book series like Game of Thrones.
3. The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
Book 1 of this series, The Eye of the World, starts in the typical fashion. Young villagers must set off on a quest to save the world from unspeakable evil. With prophecies, sword fighting, and sorcery, it sounds like every other fantastical tale. However, Robert Jordan has somehow come up with a completely original interpretation.
Coming-of-age, loyalty, and the cyclical nature of time are just some of the themes explored throughout the fourteen-book series. To understand the series, make sure to check our guide about The Wheel of Time in order.
4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
In A Darker Shade of Magic, Kell is an inter-dimensional magician who regularly travels between four parallel versions of 1800s London.
Each version of the city has its laws, societal problems, and sadistic rulers, making Kell’s job as a smuggler extra dangerous. Often, he escapes one bad situation only to land in another. When he ends up in the magicless version of London with a powerful stone he can’t control, he looks for help. That’s when he meets the petty thief Lila Bard, and the adventure really begins.
5. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
Like Frankenstein and One Thousand and One Nights, this adventurous book series is in a frame narrative format. The story begins with a mysterious innkeeper named Kvothe, who is reciting his autobiography to someone known as “the Chronicler.” In doing so, he guides the reader on a fantastical romp through his past as a king-killing magician. At some point in his story, he triggers the war that’s presently ravaging the world in which he keeps his inn.
6. The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence
In The Broken Empire series, the main character Jorg Ancrath is the young ruler of a feudal-era kingdom known as the Broken Empire.
Like Martin’s King Joffrey, Jorg Ancrath is cruel, sadistic, and delights in violence. However, as the narrative progresses, the reader learns more about the tragedies that pockmark Jorg’s childhood. Eventually, the villainous Jorg transforms into the hero as he takes steps to secure vengeance for his tragic past.
7. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
If you want a break from fantasy settings based in Medieval Europe, try Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Inspired by African mythology, the story focuses on Tracker, a man with the gift of supernatural scent tracking.
His adventure begins when he’s tasked with finding a mysterious boy with ties to nobility. A ragtag group of adventurers, each with a supernatural gift, accompanies him. Following the vein of other books like Game of Thrones, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is full of magic, betrayal, politics, and gory battles.
8. The Stormlight Archive Series by Brandon Sanderson
Sanderson’s series takes place on a supercontinent called Roshar, which is divided into nations. Society is organized into a class structure split between light and dark-eyed people. Furthermore, most people in Roshar practice a complex religion called “Vorinism.”
Readers are introduced to this rich and multi-faceted world in The Way of Kings, the first book in the series. The story begins with multiple characters of different classes and nations living separately. However, they are eventually drawn together by the events of the plot, which include assassinations, war, and mysterious, magical knights.
9. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
Like many of his other books, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is a masterful, genre-bending adventure. The series incorporates elements of fantasy, Westerns, science fiction, and horror to tell the tale of gunslinger Roland Deschain.
Roland’s world is ending, so he must seek out the mythical Dark Tower. He’s also chasing after an enemy known as “the man in black” for reasons that remain unclear until the series progresses. This book series is like Game of Thrones due to vivid world-building, complex characters, and an action-packed plot that grabs you by the throat. However, it’s written in the classic, nostalgic voice that has become King’s signature style.
10. An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir
In the Empire, a fantasy world based on ancient Rome, a military-run government abuses the commoners. Masked soldiers terrorize citizens, conduct raids, and use fear to intimidate the people.
Such is the world of Laia and Elias, the two main characters of An Ember in the Ashes. Laia, the slave, and Elias, the soldier, are from opposite sides of society. Against all odds, they must work together to free Laia’s imprisoned brother. On the surface, this appears to be a typical adult fantasy with the promise of a love triangle. However, you’ll appreciate its depth as you read through its themes of education as power, family devotion, and social justice.
11. The Wolf Hall Trilogy by Hilary Mantel
Thomas Cromwell was the real-life advisor of King Henry VIII. In case you don’t remember, that’s the monarch best known for cutting off his wives’ heads. History is most enamored with the romance between Henry and Anne Boleyn, a drama that pitted England against the church.
The Wolf Hall trilogy is historical fiction rather than fantasy. Through Hilary Mantel, the story is reinterpreted from the perspective of a literary Thomas Cromwell. Still, fans of Game of Thrones will enjoy the layers of courtly intrigue offered in each book. Secrets are traded for power, religion intersects with politics, and public executions abound.
12. The Faithful and the Fallen Series by John Gwynne
In the Banished Lands, a prophecy claims that opposing sides must unite to prevent a cataclysmic event. If this sounds like every other fantasy story, it is.
Thanks to John Gwynne’s mastery of the fantasy genre, it’s still worth reading. The author is exceptionally skilled at delivering a character-driven rather than a world-driven plot. The series provides all the tropes fantasy readers are looking for, starting with the first book, Malice.
13. The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Everybody knows that political tensions tend to rise after the death of a king. The kingdom of Annuria in The Emperor’s Blade is no exception. The lives of the emperor’s offspring are thrown into chaos when their father is murdered.
Known as the “Emperor’s Blades,” the daughter and two sons must use their limited knowledge to unveil a conspiracy. Once they do, they’ll be in danger of becoming targets themselves.
14. Dune by Frank Herbert
Partly inspired by the European colonization of the Americas, Dune brings the reader to the harsh desert planet of Arrakis. The planet is nearly inhospitable, but it’s also the galaxy’s only source of spice.
Leto Atreides, the planet’s steward, is thus attacked by jealous rivals over his control of the spice trade. The Dune saga begins from the point of view of Paul, Leto’s son. After fleeing into the dunes to escape Harkonnen forces, Paul is adopted by the native Fremen. From there, the narrative unfolds into a journey where each step brings Paul closer to his ultimate destiny.
Already read this book? Check our recommendations of books like Dune.
Winter is Coming
When temperatures drop, people tend to stay indoors. That doesn’t mean you have to stop going on adventures. Books like Game of Thrones are complex and exciting enough to get lost in. Try one of the above highly-recommended stories to take flight on your next fantastical odyssey.
Prices last updated on 2022-09-10