Game of Thrones is probably the most popular fantasy series of modern times. That’s the reason many people are looking for other books like Game of Thrones.
With its debut, it revolutionized and revitalized an entire genre. While it’s set in a medieval world, magic and magical creatures are mostly a thing of the past.
Instead, it’s a much more realistic series, one that focuses on political intrigues and power struggles. Its world, however, is dark, full of villains and anti-heroes.
That world comprises Westeros, the land of the Seven Kingdoms, and Essos, a continent to the east. The events in the books center on the various ruling families of the Seven Kingdoms.
When the hand of the king is murdered, Eduard Stark is called to King’s Landing to become the new hand of the king. This event sets in motion a variety of plots and ploys for the Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. At the center of these events are the children of Eduard Stark. Over the course of the books, we follow them as they try to survive and find their way in a world that becomes more and more violent.
Even though Game of Thrones was adapted as an HBO series, I highly recommend reading the books. Unfortunately, they remain unfinished to this day.
Game of Thrones is one of the greatest achievements in fantasy and has a reason to be as popular as it is. For this reason, I created a list of 21 other fantasy books and series for fans of books like Game of Thrones.
Table of Contents
- The Dagger and the Coin Series by Daniel Abraham
- The Accursed Kings Series by Maurice Druon
- Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne Series by Brian Staveley
- The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
- The Witcher Saga by Andrzej Sapkowski
- The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind
- The Faithful and the Fallen Series by John Gwynne
- The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett
- The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
- The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Trilogy by Tad Williams
- The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist
- The Black Company by Glen Cook
- The Dark Star Trilogy by Marlon James
- The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
- The Stormlight Archive Series by Brandon Sanderson
- The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
- Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
- The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence
- The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
- The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erikson
The Dagger and the Coin series is a great start for this list of books like Game of Thrones.
It’s set in a world once ruled by dragons. Now, thirteen races exist together in peace.
Trouble stirs when one nation prepares to extend its influence into the Free Cities. Now citizens of both sides have to fight and survive the chaos of war.
The Dragon’s Path, the first book in the series, centers on Marcus Wester, a former hero. He wants nothing more than to leave the battlefield behind and take up another profession. When war starts, however, he’s hired by Cithrin bel Sarcour to help her smuggle her riches not only out of a besieged city, but through a war zone.
This, however, should prove much harder than originally thought, for each army entangled in this war is looking for additional funds. They soon find themselves outmatched and surrounded.
Marcus, however, is only one of many characters in this high fantasy masterpiece.
One I came to enjoy especially, was Geder, the sole remaining heir of a noble house. More interested in philosophy, he makes for a poor soldier, but seems destined for great things.
Each other character is as developed as Marcus and Geder and gives us a unique perspective on the conflict.
What makes The Dagger and Coin series so good are the many political intrigues and military struggles.
It comes with a light and engaging writing style, and a cast of well-developed and interesting characters. It’s a fantastic read for anyone who’s looking for books like Game of Thrones.
The Iron King is the first book in the Accursed King series.
While it’s not a fantasy series, it was named by George R. R. Martin as the prime inspiration for Game of Thrones.
The series follows the succession of various European monarchs that should come to lead to the Hundred Years’ War, a conflict between the House of Plantagenet in England and the House of Valois in France.
The Iron King is a portrayal of King Philip IV of France, also named Philip the Fair, the Iron King. He’s a cold and silent man, but also handsome and unblinking.
While he reigns over France with an iron hand, he can’t seem to rule his own family. His wife’s adulterous, his sons are weak and his daughter Isabella is unhappily married to an English king who prefers the company of men.
Soon enough, a net of scandals, murders and intrigues surrounds the Iron King. His downfall, however, comes from an unexpected direction. When Grand Master Jacques Molay, the last grand master of the Knights Templar, is sentenced to die at the stake, a curse is put on the king that shall destroy his dynasty.
The Accursed King series is full of political intrigues, lies, drama, deception, battles, assassinations and a disputed succession war.
It’s a fantastic series for fans of not only historical fiction but also books like Game of Thrones.
The Emperor’s Blade is the first book in the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne. It’s an epic fantasy series with high-stake intrigues perfect for fans of books like Game of Thrones.
We’re introduced to the Annurian Empire. When the emperor is murdered, the land’s thrown into chaos. His children, Adare, Valyn and Kaden, are scattered across the land.
At the capital, Adare tries to find her father’s murder, but court politics run rampant and are more than a bit dangerous.
Valyn is training as a soldier, and an ocean away when he hears the news of his father’s death. Yet, he soon realizes that his life, too, is in danger.
The last, Kaden, studies at a remote monastery, set on learning the ancient powers of the disciples of the Blank God. Yet, can he remain alive along to master them?
While each individual path is dangerous, a bigger, even more dangerous conspiracy is at play.
The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne is a series full of magic, moral dilemmas, power struggles and intrigues. It’s a fantastic series for those who are looking for books like Game of Thrones, especially those interested in intrigues and power play.
Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is without a doubt his magnum opus. The series was inspired by nothing other than the Lord of the Rings and is at the center of Stephen King’s vast universe.
The first book in the series, The Gunslinger, introduces us to Roland Deschain. He follows the enigmatic figure of the Man in Black through a decaying fantasy world. This, however, is only part of Roland’s quest for he’s set to reach the Dark Tower itself, a legendary building at the center of all universes.
The Dark Tower series come with a cast of interesting characters, villains, locations and an epic quest.
Yet, the series differs from the other recommendations on this list. While it’s a fantasy series, it can be best described as part spaghetti western, part Arthurian legend brought together by a tolkienesque flavor.
Stephen King is at its absolute best in The Dark Tower series and those who are looking for something different from your typical epic fantasy series should check it out.
Blood of the Elves is the first book in The Witcher Saga.
After multiple video game adaptions and a Netflix series, The Witcher Saga has become massively popular in recent years.
Set in a fictional medieval Poland, it tells the story of Geralt of Rivia. He’s a witcher, a monster hunter with superhuman and magical abilities who lives far longer than normal humans.
His objective is simple: to rid the world of monsters.
Years before the events of Blood of the Elves, the Empire of Nilfgaard attacked the Kingdom of Cintra. This forces Ciri, the Princess of Cintra, to flee. Before long, she comes under the protection of Geralt.
Yet, political trouble causes the onset of a new war, as well as other events which all seem to center on Ciri.
Over the course of the novel, Geralt meets a variety of characters, including his former lover, Yennefer, a powerful sorceress.
The Witcher Saga comprises multiple novels, but also collections of short stories loosely related to the events of the main series. All of those, however, are very much worth reading.
It’s a fantastic series and highly recommended for fans of books like Game of Thrones.
The Sword of Truth is a series of twenty-two epic fantasy novels. Wizard’s First Rules is the first book in the series and was published back in 1994.
Interestingly enough, most of the novels in the series are connected via a general timeline and ongoing events, but can be read as standalone. Only the final three were intended as a trilogy.
The events of Wizard’s First Rule follow Richard Cypher. After his father’s murder, he meets a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell. She turns out to be a confessor sent from the Midlands and appoints Richard the role of ‘Seeker of Truths.’ She hands him a magical sword which amplifies his strength, agility, but also his anger.
From this point onward, the two travel the land. Over the course of the series they meet a variety of unique characters, including Nicci, Cara and Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander. Yet, they also meet various adversaries, defeat oppressors and those who want to unleash evil on the world.
The Sword of Truth is another classic in the realm of fantasy. It’s proven massively popular ever since first published. It’s one of the longest, as well as most influential, fantasy series out there. Those who are looking for a truly long, epic fantasy series and books like Game of Thrones should check it out.
Malice is the first novel in The Faithful and the Fallen series.
Long ago, the Banished Lands were a place of violent Battles. It was there the armies of men and giants fought brutal battles. Yet, while the giant clans were disbanded, their fortresses remain. However, in recent times, the giants began stirring again and giant wyrms are seen roaming the skies.
Those who notice the signs see a greater threat coming, one much more dangerous than the wards of the past.
High King Aquilus summons his fellow leaders, seeking alliances to help fight in the coming conflict. Yet, many are skeptical and have their own troubles.
The novel’s events, however, center on Corban, who wants nothing more than to learn the art of war and use his sword to protect the king’s realm. Before he knows it, however, he’s thrown into the emerging conflict.
Yet, there’s also a dark prophecy who tells of the coming of two champions, one of light, the other of dark.
Malic was first released in 2012, making The Faithful and the Fallen series one of the newest entries on this list.
Yet, since its release, it’s become extremely beloved by many fantasy fans out there.
While John Gwynne’s writing style might need some getting used to, the series plot and its characters are fantastically done and are worth reading for any fan of books like Game of Thrones.
Any fantasy fan has heard of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series. Titles like Mort, The Color of Magic, or Guards! Guards! Guards! are probably known even to those who’ve never read a Discworld novel.
It’s a vast series, comprising forty-one books and includes a variety of subgenres.
Yet, The Discworld Series differs from the other entries on this list of books like Game of Thrones.
Most of them are comical and Terry Pratchett uses them to play with and make fun of many tropes established by Tolkien. Yet, he also uses his comedic and fantastic stories to shed light on many real-life issues, and even historical events.
The books in The Discworld Series are an absolute delight to read and lots of fun.
I think any fantasy fan out there should give The Discworld series a try, especially those who are looking for something that’s a little less dark.
Brandon Sanderson is one of the most popular fantasy writers of all time. He’s the man who finished Robert Jordan’s epic The Wheel of Time. Yet, the man’s a literary powerhouse all by himself.
Interestingly, with The Mistborn Series, Sanders set out to go against one of the most common tropes in all of fantasy, that of the epic quest. Instead, he set out to create a world in which the hero failed. This world’s now been stagnant for a millennium under the rule of the Dark Lord.
The plot tells the story of Kelsier who was once a hero and is now reduced to a slave, but also Vin, an orphan who was forced to become a thief.
Kelsier discovers that he’s a Mistborn, someone with great magical powers which are normally reserved for only those of nobility. When Kelsier frees himself, he gets his old crew together, including Vin. Their goal now is nothing short of overthrowing the cruel Lord Ruler.
The books come with an increasingly complex plot that features many gripping turns and twists. The greatest part, however, is Vin. Her tenacity and grit have made her one of the most beloved characters in the series.
Brandon Sanderson is popular for a variety of reasons, and The Mistborn Trilogy is one of them. It’s a fantastic series and just right for people who look for more books like Game of Thrones and even George R. R. Martin cited it as one of his influences.
Tad Williams was one of the first writers I truly came to love. The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy is a fantastic read for any fans of books like Game of Thrones.
It’s set on the continent of Osten Ard, a peaceful land on which humans and non-humans, including the dwarf-like Qanuc and the elf-like Sithi, all live in peace.
When the health of the king, John the Presbyter, fails, this peace is threatened. For Pryrates, the read priest who sets out to accomplish his schemes.
However, an even worse, darker power, the Storm King, stirs and uses this chance to get his realm back.
The plot of the series follows the young kitchen boy Simon, who knows nothing of these events. Before long, however, he gets caught up in them and is forced to go on an adventure like no other.
Simon’s one of the more interesting protagonists on this list. He’s not a grand hero or powerful sorcerer, but merely a normal person who’s forced into events far above anything he could’ve ever imagined. Especially in the first book, The Dragonbone Chair, he feels almost like a bystander who witnesses the events at play.
The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy is a fantastic read, one that might follow many common tropes, but distorts them well enough to make them fresh and unique. It’s a must read for fans of books like Game of Thrones.
The Riftwar Saga is another popular fantasy series comprising four books. It’s, however, part of the greater Riftwar Cycle and comprises the first series in it.
It’s set in the mythical land of Midkemia. There we get to know Pug, who becomes an apprentice to the master magician Kulgan. He proves unusually gifted in magic.
When he safes the daughter of Duke Borric, Princess Carline, Pug becomes a squire at the Duke’s court.
Before long, however, the wreck of a foreign ship is discovered. Realizing the dangers to come, Duke Borric sets out to sail for the capital, Krondor, to ask for aid.
Yet, their party’s attacked by alien invaders and war breaks out. It’s revealed those invaders entered via a rift and are denizens of another world.
Soon enough, it becomes clear that Pug’s strange magic powers might be the key to stop the conflict.
The Riftwar Saga is full of well-established tropes, including elves and dwarfs, yet it still works out fantastically. While the plot, too, pans out in a way that’s expected, it’s very well told.
The greatest thing about this series, however, are the descriptions of magic and the tactics employed during battle. Pug, too, serves to be a fantastic character and has become a favorite amongst fans of not only the Riftwar Saga, but the entire Riftwar Cycle.
While the series might not be the most original or unique on the list, everything it does, it does right. It makes a great read for fans of books like Game of Thrones.
The Black Company is a series of dark fantasy novels comprising ten novels.
It combines elements of epic fantasy with hard and gritty military fiction.
Long ago, a supremely powerful wizard known as The Dominator created an evil empire with his wife, the Lady. Before long, however, a rebellion led by the White Rose takes place and both are imprisoned in the Barrowlands.
Four centuries later, the wizard Bomanz helps the Lady to escape from her prison. She promptly betrays her husband and restores her empire on her own. For this, she employs an elite mercenary unit called the Black Company, the last of the Free Companies of Khatovar.
The hard-bitten men take their pay and do what they must do. Yet, they have doubts and when the White Rose is reborn, they set out to find her.
What makes The Black Company such a great read is the mixture of elements of epic fantasy and military fiction. The best part, however, is the down-to-earth portrayal of the company’s members and their personalities. They are hardened, badass soldiers who talk the way you’d expect people to talk who went through countless battles.
The Black Company is a fantastic series for those who are looking for a grittier, harsher and more brutal series than others. If you’re a fan of military fantasy, it’s definitely a must-read.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is the first book in the Dark Star Trilogy. It’s by some hailed as the ‘African Game of Thrones.’
It follows a man named Tracker. He’s known for his skills as a hunter who’s able to find anything and anyone. Eventually, he’s hired to find a boy from the North Kingdom who went missing over three years ago.
Soon enough, however, he has to break one of his fundamental rules: always work alone. For he meets other people who are searching for the boy as well. They are a rag-tag group of mercenaries with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man known as Leopard.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is a novel full of African history and mysticism. It gives the story not only an inclusive but also an exotic vibe and makes it different from most other fantasy books and series on this list.
It’s a book full of unforgettable characters and a brilliant combination of politics, mythology and history, but also explores such themes as power, its limits, ambition and fundamental truths.
The only downside to the book might be James’s prose, which can fell overloaded and can take some time getting used to.
Still, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is a great choice for those who are looking for a book like Game of Thrones not set in a medieval European world.
Gene Wolfe’s a writer well-known for his science-fantasy.
The Book of the New Sun is an epic series that’s beloved by millions of fans.
The Shadow of the Torturer is the first book in the series. Its events follow Severine, a member of the torturer guild.
His fate changes when he falls in love with Thecla, a young noblewoman. He eventually safes her from her dire fate by helping her to commit suicide.
Because of this, he’s exiled from the torturer’s guild and his home of Nessus. The head of the guild, Master Palamon, sends him to the distant metropolis of Thrax. Thus begins an adventure full of political intrigues.
The story truly starts when Severine comes in possession of a strange gem, one that a variety of people have set their sights on.
The Shadow of the Torturer and the entirety of The Book of the New Sun is a masterpiece of science-fantasy. It’s a great read for fans of books like Game of Thrones, especially for its fleshed-out world and its complex intrigues.
The Stormlight Archive Series is the second entry by Brandon Sanderson on this list. He’s amongst the best and most prolific writers the fantasy genre offers.
The Way of the King is the first book in the series and probably the longest entry on this list with a page count of roughly one-thousand.
The story’s set in Roshar, a storm-swept world. Long ago, this world was ravaged by the monstrous Voidbringers. Even the legendary Knights Radiant, equipped with Shardplates and Shardblades, mystical weapons which transformed men into near-invincible warriors, couldn’t counter the thread.
Centuries later, Shardblades are so thought after, that kingdoms are traded from them and wars are fought for and won by them.
One such war takes place in a ruined landscape known as the Shattered Plains. It’s a war in which ten armies fight separately against a single foe.
Brightlord Dalinar Kohlin is the commander of one such army. He’s fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. When he has strange visions of ancient times and the Knights Radient, he thinks himself going insane.
Yet, there are other characters. Kaladin, who joined the war to protect his brother and has fallen into slavery. Shallan, a young woman who wants to train under the eminent scholar and heretic, Jashna. Her motifs are less than pure, for she plans for a daring theft. Yet, her studies hint at more, a secret related to the Knights Radient and the true cause of the war.
The greatest thing about the Stormlight Archive Series is the world-building. We not only get to know the world but also complex religions, societies, and much more. While only four of the ten planned books have been released so far, they are nothing short of fantastic.
Sanderson proves once more why he’s one of the biggest names in fantasy today and why fans of books like Game of Thrones should check out his work.
The Name of the Wind is the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles. After its release, it quickly became one of the most popular fantasy books of modern times.
Our story starts in the small town of Newarre at the Waystone Inn. There we meet a man named Kote. As it turns out, he’s the famous sword fight and magician Kvothe who’s presumed dead. A traveling biographer named Chronicler approaches him and asks him to record his life story.
Thus begins the coming-of-age story of a magically gifted child who should become a renowned swordsman and one of the most infamous magicians in the world.
We learn of Kvothe’s childhood with a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as an orphan in a crime riddled city and him entering a legendary school of magic. Eventually, we learn of his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king.
It all comes together as a fantastic and gripping story.
While the Kingkiller Chronicle might not stand out in terms of originality, its two things above all else, extremely immersive and fun.
The most interesting part, however, is the magic system, which is amongst the most original and unique on this entire list.
Another thing to note is Rothfuss’ style of writing. Kvothe himself is telling his story and often features stories within stories. This device is used brilliantly and makes for a unique reading experience.
While only two books in the series have been released so far, they are a great read and highly recommended for fans of books like Game of Thrones.
The Eye of the World is the first book in the Wheel of Time series and was published back in 1990. By now, the series comprises fifteen books in total and has become a classic of the genre.
The Wheel of Time is often praised for its characters and its extensive world-building.
When author Robert Jordan passed away, it was Brandon Sanderson who completed Jordan’s legacy and finished the last three books.
The Wheel of time is set in a fantasy world in which only woman can use magic. Any man who tries to do so as well will be destroyed by the side-effects.
The Eye of the World tells the story of three boys who are swept up in a battle between Light and Dark. One of them, however, is destined to lead the forces of light to victory.
When their small village of The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs, creatures which are half-man and half-beast, they have to flee. The three boys, Rand, Mat and Perin, are rescued by the Aes Sedai Moiraine. She tells them that the Dark One’s set on destroying the world and only they can stop him.
The Wheel of time is one of the longest fantasy series on this list and features a multitude of characters. It’s an epic journey and epic in scope.
Jordan’s writing is easily digestible, but very descriptive, making the books a delight to read.
While The Wheel of Time differs from Game of Thrones, fans of the series should definitely have a look.
The Lord of the Rings is THE fantasy series and served as one inspiration for George R. R. Martin’s epic.
It’s the one book that started it all, has always been massively popular and became even more so after its movie adaptions. By now, few people haven’t heard of Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring.
It established many of the tropes and standards the genres known for, like elves, dwarfs, dragons, and many others. While it’s copied countless times, it remains unsurpassed to this day.
The story itself starts with Frodo Baggins, who lives in the sleepy hobbit village of the Shire. After a grand celebration, his cousin, Bilbo Baggins, leaves the village and passes a certain ring onto Frodo.
Before long, the wizard Gandalf arrives, suspecting it to be a ring of power. It’s soon revealed that it’s the One Ring and when Gandalf doesn’t return in time, Frodo has to set out by himself to destroy it.
Over the course of the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring, we witness the first part of his journey and are introduced to the group of characters who make up the fellowship.
The Lord of the Rings comes with some of the greatest world-building and richest history in all of fantasy and features some unforgettable characters.
While it’s quite different from Game of Thrones and less reliant on a character driven narrative, it’s a series any fantasy fan should read at least once.
The Broken Empire trilogy is by some described as a mixture of Game of Thrones and Assassin’s Creed, and it does not disappoint.
It starts with an interesting diversion of a typical fantasy trope, the hero’s origin. Instead of being born into humble beginnings, our protagonist is quite different.
Jorg Ancrath is a privileged royal child, a crown prince, in fact, raised by a loving mother. When she and his brother are murdered, a nine-year-old Jorg leaves his home and father behind.
He eventually joins a band of bloodthirsty killers, becomes known as the Prince of Thorns, and leads his group in a series of raids and atrocities.
From this point onward, he uses any means possible to get what he wants, which is the throne of the Broken Empire. For this, however, he must return to his father’s castle and confront the horrors of his childhood.
Yet, treachery and intrigues await him and he must use everything he learned if he wants a chance to survive.
The Broken Empire is a series not for the faint of heart. It’s full of intrigues, heavy, shocking violence and abuse.
Yet, it’s also a series that’s well-written and well-constructed and filled with a cast of characters that’s as diverse as fantastic. The best of them all, however, is Jorg himself, who’s not a hero, but an antihero. He’s a character that few people might like, but will still come to root for.
It’s a fantastic trilogy, one I highly recommend for fans of books like Game of Thrones, especially those who liked the storyline of Arya Stark.
The First Law trilogy comprises three novels and three other standalone novels set in the same world. It’s another grimdark fantasy epic featuring a cast of morally gray characters.
The story’s set in The Union, a mystical world reminiscent of Medieval Europe.
It follows a cast of characters amid war. These characters, however, aren’t your typical heroes. They are nothing short of disturbing and antagonistic, but Abercrombie makes them into true antiheroes.
Logen Ninefingers is an infamous barbarian. After his newest feud went too far, he’s in genuine danger. Eventually, he leaves nothing but dead friends and happy enemies behind.
Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar is a dashing and selfish officer. He’s got nothing more on his mind than to beat his friends at cards and dreams of glory in the fencing circles. Yet, war is coming, and he’s soon set out to the battlefields of the frozen North.
Inquisitor Glokta is a crippled torturer who wants nothing more than to see Jezal return in a box. Yet, he hates everyone equally and is bent on cutting treason from The Union one confession at a time. His last trail, however, might lead him to the rotten heart of the government, but only if he can stay alive long enough.
The last is the wizard Bayaz, an old man with a terrible temper. He might very well be the First of the Magi or nothing but a fraud. Yet, he’s the one who shall make the lives of our protagonists a lot more difficult.
Yet, there are no winners in this world. There’s only survival. At the end of the day, it might be luck which trumps over all.
The First Law trilogy is a series full of murderous conspiracies, old scores to be settled and antiheroes. It’s a series that comes with great, brutal fights, but also lots of graphical violence.
Overall, it’s a series that features a cast of fantastic characters and a clever plot that might be just right for those who like books like Game of Thrones.
The Malazan Book of the Fallen is my favorite fantasy series of all times. It’s raw, gritty, brutal and full of war. Yet, it’s also one of the most complex fantasy series out there.
It’s another series that mixes epic fantasy with hard and gritty military fiction.
Yet, it’s quite different from George R. R. Martin’s epic. While Game of Thrones is set in a realistic world, Malazan’s is full of magic, gods, different races and magical creatures.
The story centers on the Malazan Empire, which is bent on conquering the last of the free cities on the continent of Genabackis.
It’s here we’re introduced to Whiskeyjack and the remains of the Bridgeburners, an elite group of soldiers. They are sent to Darujhistan to pave the way for the incoming conquest. Unbeknownst to them, however, other powers are slowly gathering in the city.
This, however, is only the start of the first book in this epic series.
Over the course of the next books, we’re introduced to a multitude of fantastic characters, but also dangers, and, of course, The Crippled God, the series’ major antagonist.
The Malazan Book of the Fallen is a fantastic series for a variety of reasons. Its world-building is one of the most detailed and complex in all of fantasy. Malazan’s magic system, too, is entirely unique and works via magicians taping into other dimensions, so-called Warrens, to use their powers.
The most outstanding part in the series, however, are its characters. The books are populated with a cast that’s as vast as it’s fantastic. There’s Whiskeyjack, Fiddler, Kalam and Quick Ben, Anomander Rake, Duiker, Kruppe and Iskara Pust and so many more.
Even better, many of these characters are hardened soldiers or recruits bent on becoming so. Thus, they swear and joke in the sardonic way only soldiers do.
The books, however, are brutal and unforgiving. They are set in a world at war, full of monstrous creatures and ambiguous gods. No one’s safe and if you thought Martin was relentless, you’ve not read The Malazan Book of the Fallen.
The only criticism of this fantastic series is that one can get easily lost in it. There’s so much going on, there are so many characters, location and continents it can be overwhelming. This is most true for the first book in the series Gardens of the Moon, which is arguably the worst in the series. There’s no real prologue and no slow intro. Instead, we’re almost immediately thrown into the middle of a war without knowing what’s going on.
Overall, though, The Malazan Book of the Fallen is one of the greatest fantasy series ever written. While the writing can be weak in the first book, it develops tremendously in book two, which is amongst the best in the series.
If you’re looking for a series full of war, brutal battles and a cast of unforgettable characters, read Malazan.
It’s one of the greatest accomplishments in modern, epic fantasy and definitely worth reading for fans of books like Game of Thrones.