Winter may not be coming, but the desire for epic fantasy adventures akin to George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” never fades.
With its sprawling world-building, complex characters, and intricate political intrigue, the series has left an indelible mark on the fantasy genre.
If you’re seeking to immerse yourself in similar tales of power struggles, magic, and betrayal, you’re in luck.
From sprawling epics to gritty political dramas, there’s a plethora of books that capture the essence of “Game of Thrones” and will transport you to fantastical realms where dragons soar and kingdoms clash.
Here’s a curated selection of books that will satisfy your craving for gripping fantasy sagas in the vein of Westeros.
Best Books Like Game of Thrones
1. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time series is an epic fantasy saga that spans fourteen volumes, beginning with “The Eye of the World.” It is renowned for its intricate plotlines, vast world-building, and a diverse cast of characters embroiled in a struggle between light and dark.
The narrative explores themes of destiny, power, and the cyclical nature of time, as it follows the journey of Rand al’Thor, a young villager who is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, the key figure in the battle against the Dark One.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Wheel of Time features a complex political landscape, a wide array of characters with intersecting storylines, and a richly detailed fantasy world. Both series delve into the nuances of power, the cost of leadership, and the impact of prophecy and destiny on personal and political realms.
2. The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
This series is acclaimed for its ambitious scope, complex narrative structure, and extensive cast of characters. Starting with “Gardens of the Moon,” it spans ten books that explore the Malazan Empire’s military exploits and the ancient forces shaping the world.
Erikson’s work is known for its philosophical depth, dark humor, and the way it addresses themes of empire, history, and power.
Major Similarities: Similar to “Game of Thrones,” The Malazan Book of the Fallen presents a vast, epic scale of storytelling with a focus on political intrigue, morally ambiguous characters, and a gritty, realistic approach to fantasy.
Both series challenge traditional fantasy tropes and engage with complex themes of war, power, and human nature.
3. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
The Stormlight Archive is a series of high fantasy novels set on the world of Roshar, a land of fierce storms and strange magics. The series is planned to consist of ten books, with the first being “The Way of Kings.”
It focuses on the lives of multiple characters who are deeply impacted by the emerging conflict in a world where ancient orders of Knights Radiant begin to reawaken. Sanderson’s series is celebrated for its unique magic systems, detailed world-building, and exploration of themes such as leadership, honor, and the struggle to overcome personal demons.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Stormlight Archive is notable for its epic scope, intricate plot, and a complex political landscape. Both series feature a large ensemble cast, each with their own intricate backstories and motivations, set against a backdrop of an impending cataclysmic war.
4. A Crown of Swords by Michael R. Fletcher
A Crown of Swords is not the title of a series but rather the seventh book in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, which was previously mentioned.
Instead, consider “The First Law” series by Joe Abercrombie, starting with “The Blade Itself,” as a more fitting entry for this list.
The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
The First Law series is renowned for subverting fantasy tropes and delivering a gritty, realistic take on the genre. Beginning with “The Blade Itself,” the series introduces readers to a dark world filled with flawed, morally ambiguous characters.
Abercrombie excels in character development, complex political machinations, and vivid, visceral combat scenes, all while weaving a narrative that questions the nature of power, vengeance, and redemption.
Major Similarities: Much like “Game of Thrones,” The First Law series is characterized by its dark tone, complex characters, and a focus on political intrigue and the grim realities of war. Both series revel in the gray areas of morality, challenging the clear-cut notions of good and evil typically found in fantasy narratives.
5. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
The Kingkiller Chronicle, beginning with “The Name of the Wind,” is the story of Kvothe, a gifted young man who grows up to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. Through Rothfuss’s exquisite prose, the series explores themes of love, loss, and the desire to understand the mysteries of the world.
It is celebrated for its deep character exploration, innovative magic system, and the compelling narrative voice of its protagonist.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Kingkiller Chronicle offers a richly detailed world and a complex, character-driven story. While it focuses more on the journey of a single protagonist, it shares the depth of historical backdrop and the exploration of power and identity that are central to both series.
6. The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence
The Broken Empire series begins with “Prince of Thorns” and follows the story of Jorg Ancrath, a prince who embarks on a dark quest for power and vengeance after experiencing a profound tragedy.
Lawrence’s series is known for its dark themes, complex protagonist, and a world that blends elements of fantasy with a post-apocalyptic setting.
Major Similarities: Similar to “Game of Thrones,” The Broken Empire series is marked by its dark tone, moral ambiguity, and the ruthless pursuit of power by its characters. Both series feature protagonists who are deeply flawed, making choices that challenge the reader’s perceptions of right and wrong.
7. The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams
Starting with “The Dragonbone Chair,” The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series is set in the fictional world of Osten Ard and follows a young kitchen boy, Simon, who is thrust into the complexities of political intrigue, ancient prophecies, and a looming great war.
Williams’ series is acclaimed for its detailed world-building, complex characters, and the way it weaves together various narrative threads into an epic tale of good versus evil.
Major Similarities: Much like “Game of Thrones,” this series offers a sprawling epic fantasy landscape filled with political intrigue, a wide cast of characters, and the looming threat of a supernatural force. Both series draw heavily on history and lore to enrich their narratives, creating a deep and immersive world.
8. The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks
The Lightbringer Series begins with “The Black Prism” and introduces a world where magic is wielded through the manipulation of light. The series is known for its complex magic system, political intrigue, and the moral dilemmas faced by its characters.
Weeks crafts a story that explores themes of power, identity, and redemption, as it follows the lives of Gavin Guile, the Prism, and Kip, a seemingly unremarkable boy with a great destiny.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Lightbringer Series features a richly developed world, a complex system of magic, and a narrative that is heavily driven by political intrigue and the conflicts between nations. Both series also explore the cost of power and the complexities of leadership.
9. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
The Farseer Trilogy starts with “Assassin’s Apprentice” and tells the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, a royal bastard turned assassin, in the kingdom of the Six Duchies.
Hobb’s series is celebrated for its deep character exploration, intricate plotting, and the emotional depth of its narrative. It combines elements of traditional high fantasy with a personal story of growth, loyalty, and the burdens of royal duty.
Major Similarities: Similar to “Game of Thrones,” The Farseer Trilogy is centered around the themes of political intrigue, the complexities of royal lineage, and the personal journey of its protagonist within a vast and richly detailed fantasy world. Both series are known for their deep character development and the exploration of the impact of power on the individual and the realm.
10. The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind
The Sword of Truth series, beginning with “Wizard’s First Rule,” unfolds in a world embroiled in epic conflict, guided by the hands of Richard Cypher, a woods guide who discovers his true destiny as the Seeker of Truth. Goodkind’s series is noted for its philosophical underpinnings, moral dilemmas, and the stark contrast between good and evil.
It explores themes of freedom, truth, and the human spirit through a blend of magical adventure and philosophical inquiry.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Sword of Truth series features an expansive world with a rich backstory, complex political machinations, and a clear delineation of moral conflicts. Both series delve into the nature of power and leadership, with a strong emphasis on the personal growth of their protagonists in the face of world-altering events.
11. The Prince of Nothing series by R. Scott Bakker
The Prince of Nothing series begins with “The Darkness That Comes Before” and is set in a world reminiscent of the Crusades, blending fantasy with a deep philosophical inquiry.
It follows the journey of Anasûrimbor Kellhus, a figure of mysterious origins who rises to power through manipulation and insight into human nature. Bakker’s series is known for its complex characters, intricate plot, and the exploration of themes such as destiny, truth, and the manipulation of belief.
Major Similarities: Similar to “Game of Thrones,” The Prince of Nothing series is characterized by its epic scale, deep philosophical undertones, and a focus on the dark aspects of power and human nature. Both series offer a nuanced view of morality, complex political intrigue, and the impact of legendary figures on the course of history.
12. The Liveship Traders Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Set in the same world as The Farseer Trilogy but focusing on a different set of characters and locations, The Liveship Traders Trilogy begins with “Ship of Magic.” This series explores the lives of the trader families of Bingtown, who own magical ships that come to life when three generations of the ship’s owners die upon their decks.
Hobb weaves a tale of adventure, piracy, and the struggle for independence, focusing on themes of family, identity, and the cost of ambition.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Liveship Traders Trilogy is set in a richly detailed world filled with complex political intrigue, familial dynamics, and the quest for power. Both series are notable for their exploration of the consequences of ambition, the complexity of characters’ motivations, and the depth of the worlds they inhabit.
13. The Black Company by Glen Cook
The Black Company series, starting with the book of the same name, chronicles the exploits of an elite mercenary unit through dark and gritty tales of their battles, struggles, and survival in a world full of magic and conflict.
Cook’s narrative is noted for its focus on the camaraderie among the soldiers, the moral ambiguities of their actions, and a realistic portrayal of warfare in a fantasy setting.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Black Company series offers a darker, more realistic look at the fantasy genre, focusing on the grim realities of war and the complexity of moral decisions in times of conflict.
Both series challenge traditional hero narratives and delve into the psychology of their characters, set against a backdrop of vast political and magical landscapes.
14. The Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne
Starting with “Malice,” The Faithful and the Fallen series is a gripping tale of good versus evil, set in the banished lands where giants, humans, and other races vie for power and survival.
Gwynne’s series is celebrated for its dynamic characters, epic battles, and the intricate interplay of prophecy and choice. It explores themes of heroism, betrayal, and the complexities of moral judgment in a world teetering on the edge of war.
Major Similarities: Similar to “Game of Thrones,” this series is known for its vast scope, complex character dynamics, and the depth of its world-building.
Both narratives are driven by the tensions between competing factions and the looming threat of a greater evil, blending political intrigue with the personal journeys of its characters.
15. The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
The Empire Trilogy, beginning with “Daughter of the Empire,” is set in the world of Kelewan. It tells the story of Mara of the Acoma, a young woman who rises to power within the rigid, patriarchal society of the Tsurani.
Through strategic marriages, military alliances, and cunning, Mara navigates the complex political landscape to secure her family’s position and survival. The series is noted for its exploration of cultural differences, political intrigue, and the strength of its female protagonist.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Empire Trilogy focuses on political strategy, the pursuit of power, and the complexities of leadership within a vast and culturally rich fantasy world. Both series highlight the role of strong, complex characters who must navigate a deadly landscape of alliances and enmities to secure their place and protect their loved ones.
16. The Dagger and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham
Beginning with “The Dragon’s Path,” The Dagger and the Coin series explores a world fractured by war, where ancient dragons once ruled. It follows a diverse group of characters, including a banker, a mercenary captain, and a high priest, as they navigate the shifting tides of power.
Abraham weaves a narrative that examines the nature of conflict, the power of economics, and the human capacity for empathy and cruelty.
Major Similarities: Like “Game of Thrones,” The Dagger and the Coin series delves into political intrigue and the complexities of power, but with a unique emphasis on economics and finance as tools of empire. Both series feature a richly developed world, a complex cast of characters, and the exploration of themes related to leadership, loyalty, and the consequences of ambition.
17. The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
The Grace of Kings is the first book in the Dandelion Dynasty series, which blends elements of epic fantasy with historical and cultural inspirations from ancient China.
The story revolves around two unlikely friends, Kuni Garu and Mata Zyndu, who become leaders of a rebellion against tyranny, only to find themselves on opposing sides of a new struggle for the future of the empire. Liu’s narrative is celebrated for its intricate plot, complex characters, and the exploration of themes such as friendship, power, and the cost of revolution.
Major Similarities: Similar to “Game of Thrones,” The Grace of Kings features a detailed world filled with political intrigue, complex alliances, and the tension between different visions for society. Both series are epic in scope, exploring the rise and fall of empires and the individuals who shape their worlds through cunning, strength, and vision.