Since premiering in 2011, the HBO hit series Game of Thrones has attracted millions of international viewers and 26 Primetime Emmy Awards. Based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the show has wrapped fantasy drama lovers up in a brutal civil war between noble houses fighting for the Seven Kingdoms’ Iron Throne. Executive producer David Benioff has crafted the storyline to provide plenty of jaw-dropping plot twists, i.e. the Red Wedding. Fans have bonded over their shared hatred of Joffrey, fascination with Khalessi, and adoration for Tyrion Lannister.
If you’re just as obsessed as us, you’re scrambling to find books like Game of Thrones during the long off-season. Luckily, books like Game of Thrones fill the historical fantasy genre to pleasantly torture readers with suspense. Similar books can help provide your fix of kings, dragons, faeries, witches, and magicians in harrowing adventures. Books like Game of Thrones delve into bloody, monarchial conflicts where good faces down evil. Although the Jon Snow-shaped hole in your heart likely won’t be mended until April, below we’ve listed 50 great books like Game of Thrones to tide you over.
Stephen R. Donaldson
From the same author as the Gap series, this set of 10 epic fantasy novels reveals the existence of another Earth called The Land. Thomas Covenant, a nondescript man abandoned by his family after being diagnosed with leprosy, is mystically transported here. Though he believes he’s hallucinating, Thomas realizes The Land is facing mortal crisis. He then joins the Council of Lords to thwart attacks from Lord Foul the Despiser.
#2 – The Warded Man
Peter V. Brett
As the first book in the Demon Cycle series, this fantasy novel introduces the three main protagonists: Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer. Each embarks on their own hero’s journey to stop vicious attacks by demons known as corelings. These demons arise from the Earth’s core every night to feast upon vulnerable humans in the “Dark Age.” Wards, or magical stones, are the only defense for protecting mankind.
#3 – The Way of Kings
Weighing in at 1,007 pages, The Way of Kings is one of the longest books like Game of Thrones for avid readers. The story takes place in Roshar, a storm-swept world where monstrous Voidbringers ravaged human life. The Knights Radiant with their magical Shardplates and Shardblades were unable to counter the threat. Centuries later, Kaladin, Shallan, Szeth, and Dalinar Kholin unite to take back their world.
As winner of the World Fantasy Award, this trilogy centers on Yeine Darr, a young outcast from the barbarian north. After her mother mysteriously dies, Yeine is summoned to the majestic city of Sky and crowned heiress to the King. She’s inadvertently thrust into a cruel power struggle for the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms’ throne. Similar to many books like Game of Thrones, the central theme explored is the abuse of power.
Featuring three heart-stopping novels, the Pattern of Shadow & Light series takes place 300 years after the blessed Adept race perished in war. The dangerous, puzzling Bjorn van Gelderan holds the one secret to reverting their extinction. The Adept Vestal, Raine D’LaCourte, makes it his mission to find what Bjorn is hiding. But, first Raine must venture through the Dannym Kingdom and Nadori Desert to find him.
Sigtrygg Thorgilsson, living on the icy fjords of Greenland, is the orphaned grandson of Viking explorer Leif Eriksson. Despite Leif’s land claim in the New World 50 years prior, Sigtrygg is denied his proper birthright. So, Sigtrygg pairs up with a one-eyed seaman and local ruffian to set sail for the mythical Vinland. The eclectic threesome soon discovers they’re not the only Norsemen vying for the land already inhabited by Skrailings.
#7 – The Curse of Chalion
Lois McMaster Bujold
Knight Lupe Cazaril returns to his home in the Kingdom of Chalion after escaping his 19-month imprisonment as a galley slave. His aging patroness finds him a new assignment as secretary tutor to Princess Iselle, the King’s half-sister. He’s led back into the place he fears most: the Royal Court. Now, Cazaril must employ the darkest magic to protect his charge from the curse hanging over the House of Chalion.
#8 – The Sword of Truth
After his father’s murder, Richard Cypher finds a mysterious young woman named Kahlan Amnell stepping through this secret forest sanctuary. Kahlan turns out to a Confessor sent from the Midlands. She appoints Richard to the role of “Seeker of Truth.” He’s given a sword that amplifies anger, strength, and agility. Richard and Kahlan, whilst falling in love, journey together to find magic trapped in the last Box of Orden.
#9 – The Riftwar Saga
Raymond E. Feist
In the mythical land of Midkemia, a young orphan named Pug is made the apprentice of master magician Kulgan. After magically saving his daughter Princess Carline, Pug becomes a squire of the Duke’s court. A storm sweeps through and a foreign ship wreck is discovered. Duke Borric sets sail for Krondor, the capital, to ask for aid. Their party is attacked by alien invaders, causing war to erupt.
#10 – The Books of Abarat
Consisting of five young adult novels, The Books of Abarat tell the story of Candy Quackenbush, a small town girl growing up in Chickentown, Minnesota. After being humiliated by a teacher, Candy skips school and heads to the prairie. Here she encounters an eight-headed man called John Mischief. Soon, Candy’s transported to a mysterious archipelago called Arabat. Candy unwittingly becomes a pawn in a heated battle between Mischief and the evil Lord of Midnight.
#11 – A Song of Ice and Fire
George R.R. Martin
When you’re looking for books like Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire is the obvious choice. Written by George R.R. Martin, this epic fantasy series inspired the HBO hit. The novel begins after Robert Baratheon, killer of the last Targaryen ruler, dies. What ensues is a vicious battle for the Iron Throne of Westeros. Readers can watch as the Lannisters, Starks, and beloved Daenerys Targaryen fight for power.
#12 – Lion of Ireland
Published in 1980, Lion of Ireland spans the lifetime of Brian Brou, an Irish 10th century King, from age 8 to 88. Dubbed the greatest “High King,” Brian was a true Celtic hero who built on the achievements of his father, Cennetig mac Lorcain. The author weaves a historical tale of his rise to control. Brian’s war against Mael Morda, marriage to Gormlaith, and battle with Sihtric are just a few adventures included.
Donna Jo Napoli
Melkorka, a 15-year-old princess, is the daughter of a wealthy Irish king. After her younger brother is injured by Norsemen in Dublin, Melkorka and her sister Brigid are forced into hiding as war erupts. The duo is kidnapped by slave traders and transported across Europe. After Brigid escapes, Melkorka finds power in refusing to speak. But, can her vow of silence prevent her from being sold?
#14 – The Acacia Trilogy
David Anthony Durham
This trilogy centers on the four children of Leodan Akaran, the widow ruler of the Known World who resides on the island of Acacia. After a deadly assassin from the Mein race gravely wounds Leodan, he establishes a plan for his children to escape. With the help of chancellor Thaddeus Clegg, the heirs: Aliver, Corinn, Mena, and Dariel, begin a quest to avenge their father’s murder and restore the Acacian Empire.
#15 – The Killing Moon
As the first in the Dreamblood series, this novel introduces Ehiru, a Gatherer sworn to keep the peace in the ancient city-state of Gujaareh. Ehiru, priest of the dream-goddess, harvests magic from the asleep to kill others deemed corrupt. But, a terrifying conspiracy is uncovered as dreamers are murdered. Ehiru must now guard the woman he’s sent to kill and stop Gujaareh from being destroyed by forbidden magic.
#16 – Discworld
Published from 1983 to 2015, Discworld is a series of over 40 self-contained fantasy comic books. The stories depict a fictional world swirling through space on a large disc that stands upon four giant elephants. These mammoths then rest on a huge turtle named Great A’Tuin. Rincewind, the main protagonist, is an inexperienced wizard with no interest in heroics. However, he’s constantly thrown into dangerous quests to save his beloved Discworld. The Color of Magic is the first book in the series.
Starting with Gardens of the Moon, this epic fantasy series portrays the sprawling Malazan Empire at war with its enemies. Empress Lassen begins her deadly siege using her powerful, ninja-like Claw assassins. The Malazans besiege Pale and nearly obliterate its legendary infantry unit, The Bridgeburners. The Empress now focuses on the last remaining free city of Darujhistan, but a few dozen surviving citizens try to thwart her dominion.
#18 – The Dragonriders of Pern
This beloved science fiction series by Anne McCaffrey takes place on the fictional planet of Pern, orbiting the star Rukbat. When the noble family of Ruatha Hold are murdered, the sole daughter Lessa must disguise herself as a drudge to escape. She discovers her telepathic bond with an intelligent, fire-breathing dragon. Along with her new friend and wingleader F’lar, Lessa must learn to fly and fight Thread to save Pern.
#19 – Oathsworn Series
Similar to many historical fantasy books like Game of Thrones, this series is set in the Viking Age starting in 793 AD. Orm Rurikson, a young Norwegian boy, is chosen to brave the seas aboard the Fjord Elk, a Viking longship. His fellow crew, called the Oathsworn, are sent in search of the mystifying “White Christ.” Orm leads the ship on a quest across treacherous waters toward the cursed treasure of Attila the Hun.
#20 – First Law Trilogy
Ideal for Game of Thrones fans, this trilogy takes place in The Union, a mythical world reminiscent of Medieval Europe. Flashy nobleman and military officer, Captain Jezal dan Luthar, prepares for a brewing war on the frozen North. Notorious inquisitor Glokta wants nothing more than to kill Jezal. Under the spell of a tempered wizard Bayaz, The Union is thrust into uproar with scores of murderous conspiracies.
#21 – The Black Company
The Dominator, a supremely powerful wizard, creates an evil magical empire with his wife, the Lady. When a rebellion is launched by the White Rose, both are imprisoned in the Barrowland. Nearly four centuries later, the wizard Bomanz awakens the Lady and aids in her release. The Lady betrays her husband and proceeds to resurrect her empire alone. That’s when she employs the service of an elite mercenary unit called The Black Company.
#22 – Shadow Magic
Patricia C. Wrede
Trouble is on the horizon for the Alkyra kingdom. Their ancient enemy, the Lithmern, are raising an army and invading their borders. On her 20th birthday, Princess Alethia of the House of Brenn is kidnapped from the shadows. She awakens as she’s carried through an enchanted forest by an evil Lithmern. Princess Alethia must learn to trust the magical legends to escape the eneRobin Inglemy’s clutches and save Alkyra.
#23 – Tyrker’s Tale
First in the World’s Edge series, this short, 19-page story takes place in 19th century Iceland. Tyrker is a young slave owned by the famous Viking chieftain Erik the Red. He’s assigned to teach Erik’s sons, Leif and Tosti, about weaponry. Forbidden to marry, Tyrker longs for building his own family rather than serve in imprisonment. That’s until one day Tyrker’s life is magically changed forever.
#24 – The Witcher Saga
Known for being adapted into video games, The Witcher series shares the story of Geralt of Rivia, a cunning witcher and cold-blooded sorcerer. His sole purpose has always been condemning the monsters plaguing the world. Ciri, the Princess of Cintra, starts training under the watchful eye of Geralt. After a whirlwind of heart-stopping events, Geralt finds his true loyalty lies in protecting Ciri from harm.
#25 – The Silmarillion
Written by J.R.R. Tolkine, this 480-page tome is comprised of five books like Game of Thrones that describe the universe of Eä. The book was meant to have been a translation from the book Bilbo Baggins wrote while at Rivendell. Readers are treated to an operatic history of the First Age of Middle Earth. Starting with the Music of the Ainur, inside glimpses are given into the events that shaped elven life before Frodo’s quest.
#26 – The Mists of Avalon
Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Mists of Avalon gives a unique twist on the traditional male-centered Arthurian legends by following four women: Viviane, Morgaine, Igraine, and Gwenhwyfar. Morgaine, the half-sister of King Arthur, is waging a war the save her matriarchal homeland, Avalon, from patriarchal Christianity. Gwenhwyfar, Arthur’s unhappy wife and fanatical Christian, is Morgaine’s polar opposite. Viviane, the High Priestess, will use anyone to defend Avalon without thinking of the mortal consequences.
#27 – The Name of the Wind
Beginning The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy, this novel takes readers to the rural town of Newarre where the proprietor, Kote, of Waystone Inn is more than he seems. He’s actually Kvothe, the famous sword-fighting hero who’s presumed dead. A traveling biographer named Chronicler uncovers Kvothe’s true identity and asks him to record it. From growing up with a troupe of magicians to battling the demons of Chandrian, Kvothe’s tale is riveting.
#28 – Guardians of the Flame
As Rosenberg’s first fantasy trilogy, Guardians of the Flame is about seven college-age students who participate in a role-playing game with philosophy professor, Arthur Simpson Deighton. The group ends up teleporting to an alternate reality called Pandathaway. Fueled by his own corruption, Deighton launches the students’ dangerous quest to find a magical talisman with unlimited power. Meanwhile, the students strive to rid Pandathaway from tyrant rule under the Slaver’s Guild.
#29 – The Codex Alera
Featuring six tales, The Codex Alera series is about a young man named Tavi who lives in a magical realm called Alera, similar to the Roman Empire. Furies inhabit Alera and use their elemental spirits to defend it. At only 15, Tavi is struggling to master his craft. He befriends a young woman, Amara, who is training to join the Cursori spies for Gaius Sextus. The two must unite their power to stop the invasion of Marat into the Calderon Valley.
#30 – Shannara
Set in the Four Lands, this series takes place on Earth centuries after civilization is annihilated during a chemical and nuclear holocaust called the Great Wars. Shea Ohmsford lives sheltered in the peaceful, pre-industrial town of Shady Vale. One day a forbidding giant named Allanon appears and warns her of the Warlock Lord’s plot to destroy Earth. As the last of the bloodline, Shea must wield the Sword of Shannara to stop the Power of Darkness.
#31 – The Belgariad
Garion, the main protagonist, is a simple young boy growing up on a large, prosperous farm with his Aunt Pol. Belgarath, a wandering storyteller called Mister Wolf, arrives and announces the theft of a sacred stone. He and Garion begin a picaresque journey to recover the Orb of Aldur. Along the way, they’re joined by a Drasnian prince and Cherek Earl. The group must race to find the Orb and defeat the evil Kal Torak.
#32 – The Sundering Duology
With the novels Banewreaker and Godslayer, this duology begins after the first god, Uru-Alat, dies and Shapers sprang from each part of his body. Haomane, god of thought, claims leadership over the Shapers. In love with Arahila, Satoris refuses Haomane’s command to remove his gift of reproduction from the race. The two fight and Uru-Alat’s mystic jewel is shattered. As the world sunders in two, readers experience a battle between light versus dark.
As elite masters of deception and disguise, the Gentlemen Bastards have amassed a sizeable fortune by pillaging the rich of Camorr. Father Chains, their leader, is a priest of the Crooked Warden. The Gentlemen Bastards lurk secretly in the shadows to avoid the iron fist of ruler Capa Barsavi. But, soon Barsavi’s garristas are killed by the mysterious Gray King. The Gentlemen Bastards must fight to prevent the Gray King’s takeover of the criminal underworld.
#34 – Dark Tower Series
Inspired by The Lord of the Kings, this series tells the story of Roland Deschain, the last surviving member of a knightly order called the Gunslingers. Roland’s quest is to locate the Dark Tower, a legendary building believed to be the nexus of all universes. Roland bonds with the Ka-tet of the Nineteen and Ninety-nine along the way. He also encounters dire threats from enemies like The Man in Black and The Crimson King.
#35 – The Sarantine Mosaic
Guy Gavriel Kay
The Sarantine Mosaic is a historical fantasy duology set in the 6th century Eastern Roman Empire. Artist Caius Crispus is summoned to Sarantium to create a mosaic for Emperor Valerius II. The story follows his journey through the wild region of Sauradia and encounters with supernatural creatures called aurochs. At his arrival in Sarantium, Caius finds himself entangled in political intrigue and struggles to remember the importance of art.
#36 – The Hero and the Crown
Aerin, the only child of King Arlbeth, isn’t like other Damarians. He inherited her mother’s pale skin and blazing red hair. Aerin also failed to develop the Gift to use magic like other royal family members. In a book about Damar’s history, Aerin finds a recipe for kenet, an ointment to protect against fire. And so begins the tale of “Aerin the Dragon Killer” and her quest to thwart civil war.
#37 – The Fionavar Tapestry
Guy Gavriel Kay
Another of Guy Gavriel Kay’s books like Game of Thrones, this trilogy centers on five senior law and medical students studying at the University of Toronto. Kevin, Paul, Dave, Kimberly, and Jennifer are drawn into the fictional world of Fionavar by the mage Loren Silvercloak. Once there, all five discover their own role in the Tapestry’s destiny. Together they’re the only hope of protecting Fionavar from the wrath of the Unraveller.
#38 – The Magicians
Quentin Coldwater is a senior attending a Brooklyn high school with best friends James and Julia. On the day of his Princeton interview, Quentin instead interviews for the Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. He’s one of 20 students admitted at North America’s only school for magic. Quentin discovers that a magical realm is posing a danger to humanity. Like many books like Game of Thrones, The Magicians has been adapted as a TV series on Syfy.
#39 – The Hunt
Following Tyrker’s Tale, this short 19-page story revolves around the teenage sons of Viking Erik the Red: Leif and Tosti. During 8th century Greenland, the two boys become enamored with a neighbor girl who trains falcons. But when she rejects Leif, events begin spiraling out of control. Even though he looks up to his brother, Tosti can’t help but suspect Leif of committing a crime.
#40 – Song of the Lioness
Alanna of Trebond, a young, headstrong lady knight, disguises herself as a boy named “Alan” to fight much like Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. She trades places with her twin Thom for knighthood training in Corus. Throughout the quartet of novels, Alanna befriends eccentric characters like thief king George, scholar Sir Myles, and Princess Thayet of Sarain. Readers will get a heavy dose of girl power as Alanna takes on the evil kinsman Duke Roger.
#41 – The Saxon Tales
Set in 9th century Britain, this is a nine-book series showing the making of England like a real-life Game of Thrones. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, son of a Saxon lord, is captured by the Danish and raised by them. King Alfred the Great begins his assault to occupy three of England’s four kingdoms. Uhtred views himself as Dane and considers Alfred a pious weakling. Yet, when Alfred shockingly defeats the Danes, Uhtred is forced to choose sides.
#42 – Deryni Novels
Consisting of five trilogies, this historical fantasy series takes place in medieval Gwynedd, one of the fictional Eleven Kingdoms. Gwynedd has a commanding Holy Church with a feudal government and hereditary monarchy like 12th century England. Among the humans are Deryni, a special race with inherit psychic and magical powers. Most books focus on young Prince Kelson Haldane’s struggle to protect his throne from Deryni usurpers.
#43 – The White Queen
When you’re yearning for more Sansa, try this first book in Gregory’s Cousins’ War series set during the War of the Roses. Elizabeth Woodville’s husband Sir John Grey, a Lancastrian knight, has been killed in the Battle of St. Albans. She’s left raising two young boys, but soon falls for King Edward IV. With help from her mother, Elizabeth secretly weds Edward. The remainder of the novel reveals around the mysterious “Princes in the Tower” tale.
#44 – Graceling
Fans of Game of Thrones will be drawn into Katsa’s realm where all Gracelings are given special talents. Katsa, a beautiful teenage warrior, has the Grace of fighting. Under the thumb of manipulative King Randa, Katsa is used to torture and dispose of enemies. To handle her guilt, Katsa creates a secret council for carrying out missions that promote justice. That’s when she meets the dazzling Prince Po and endeavors to locate his grandfather’s kidnappers.
#45 – The Powder Mage Series
This action-packed series begins with Field Marshal Tamas leading a cruel coup against the monarchy and provoking war in the Nine Nations. When every member of the Royal Cabal is dying, their last words are “You can’t break Kresimir’s promise.” Tamas asks Adamat, a police inspector, to solve this mystery phrase. Tamas’ estranged son and powder mage, Taniel, is then summoned to find the Royal Cabal member who managed to escape.
#46 – The Temeraire Series
Captain William Laurence, a British Royal Navy officer, is in combat with the French when he discovers a dragon egg. The egg hatches and Temeraire, a Chinese dragon, emerges. Immediately, the dragon forms a strong psychological bond similar to filial imprinting with Laurence. To stay with his dearest friend, the Captain switches to the less desirable Royal Aerial Corps – an air force of dragons. The nine-book series shares the duo’s resulting battles against Napoleon Bonaparte.
#47 – Dark Lord of Derkholm
Diana Wynne Jones
Derkholm, the Dark Lord’s capital , has been dominated by tourists. Mr. Chesney has created the “Pilgrim Parties” to bring paying participants into the realm for hair-rising adventures. Wise Wizard Guides take tourists to meet the Enchantress, defy the leather-winged Avians, and face the evil Dark Lord. Querida, the head of Wizards University, is sick of watching locals being bullied. From there begins his master plan to end Mr. Chesney’s domination.
#48 – The Book of the New Sun
Since 1998, The Book of the New Sun has been an epic science fiction series drawing readers into tales set millions of years in the future. Severian, a dishonorable journeyman and torturer, is exiled from his home city of Nessus. Master Palaemon, head of the guild, sends Severian to Thrax. Armed with an ancient executioner’s sword called Terminus Est, he begins his journey to the distant city.
#49 – God’s Daughter
Heather Day Gilbert
First book of the Vikings of the New World series, this story portrays Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir, the daughter-in-law of Erik the Red. Pagan holy women rule the Viking lands in 10th century Greenland, but Gudrid chooses a different path. She stops training as a seeress to embrace Christianity and journey to North America with her husband, Finn. Gudrid faces raging illness, hostile natives, and raging crewmen, but her greatest enemy is herself.
#50 – Lionheart
Sharon Kay Penman
In the year 1189, Richard is crowned King of England after his father, Henry II, and two brothers are killed. Immediately, Richard journeys for the Holy Land to begin the Third Crusade and battle against the Saracens. At home, Richard’s younger brother John is conspiring with the French king to steal the throne. Only their newly freed mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, is capable of protecting beloved Richard’s best interests.
While you’re patiently waiting for next season’s premiere, get tangled up in the magical escapades of these great books like Game of Thrones.