Whether you’re a new or an old fan, Game of Thrones has a strong pull. If you’re looking for more books like Game of Thrones we’ve got you covered.
Many fans were disheartened with the conclusion to the massively successful TV adaptation. And with the book series unfinished many are feeling a Game of Thrones-sized gap in their lives. Regardless of whether you love the political framework of George R.R. Martin’s books or the epic fantasy battles, we have rounded up 13 books like Game of Thrones that you should read next.
About Game of Thrones
But first let’s briefly touch on the series itself. If you’re looking for more information on Game of Thrones, we have a full article dedicated to that here. That article goes into how to read the books in order, while this will be an overview of George R.R. Martin’s contribution to the fantasy genre.
There are five books currently available in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Martin plans for the series to span seven books, but he hasn’t ruled out the series stretching longer.
The first book in the series is A Game of Thrones and it introduces us to a plethora of characters. Like many high fantasy series, Martin tells his story through multiple perspectives to encompass everything in his overarching plot.
Readers are introduced to Westeros. A land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, with the looming threat that winter is coming. The foreshadowing threat has taken on a life of its own in many fandom circles since Martin first used the phrase.
As cold returns to the land there are supernatural forces gathering beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. And so begins a tale of intrigue, politics, love, and death. Embroiled in the chaos families fight for and against one another to rule the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms.
Books Like Game of Thrones
For our recommendations we’ve looked at some of the key elements that might have first drawn you to Game of Thrones. On our list there are both fantasy and historical fiction books, chunky epic series, gruesome grimdark tales, and fantastical stories. There are books with intrigue, politics, death, love, and so much more.
Keep reading to find out more about our top 13 recommendations for books like Game of Thrones.
1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
For our first recommendation of books like Game of Thrones, we have to start with the fantasy behemoth. A well-loved classic for a reason The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien is the first book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. While it is not nearly as grim a story as Game of Thrones, if you’re looking for an epic fantasy that is complete, this is a must-read for any fantasy fan.
If you’ve somehow not read the books or watched the films, here is a brief summary about the series.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom. There he must destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
2. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Our next recommendation is purposefully included alongside The Lord of the Rings as this is also not a grimdark fantasy series. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan is the first book in an epic 14-book series. It is much more akin to Tolkien’s high fantasy style than the grimdark imaginations of George R.R. Martin, but is another must-read for all fantasy fans.
This series features multiple perspectives, although the first book primarily focuses on one, with brief sections from other characters. While there are multiple protagonists throughout the series, Jordan does this to build up one man in particular.
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist.
When the Two Rivers faces a Trolloc attack — a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts — our group flees into a world they barely imagined. New dangers lurk for them in the shadows and in the light.
The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
3. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
However, if the grimdark element is something you enjoy and that’s what you’re looking for in seeking more books like Game of Thrones, The Poppy War by R.F Kuang is sure to deliver. It is a military fantasy which pulls inspiration from the bloody history of China’s twentieth century. But it is full of magic and treachery.
When Rin aced the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies it was a shock to everyone. To the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating. To Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise.
And to Rin herself. That she got into Sinegard — the most elite military school in Nikan — was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power. She has an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism.
But while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily-advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…
Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity…and that it may already be too late.
4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Our next recommendation for books like Game of Thrones must come with a warning. That is, much like A Song of Ice and Fire, that this series is also unfinished. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicle series, of which two books have become available since its release in 2007.
This is a lyrical tale of a magically-gifted young man who becomes the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.
It follows the intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players. His years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city. His daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic. As well as his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king. Together it forms a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.
While we read the epic from Kvothe’s perspective, the series unfolds as a story being told. This results in dual timelines.
5. The Iron King by Maurice Druon
This is the first recommendation on our list that isn’t fantasy. However, bear with us, as George R.R. Martin hails The Iron King by Maurice Druon as an inspiration for his series. This makes it perfect for readers looking for books like Game of Thrones.
It is the first in The Accursed King series and a grand portrayal of King Philip IV of France. The series was first published in French, and fans have Martin to thank for its re-emergence in print. Martin wrote the new introduction and with its latest reprint the last book in the series is now finally available in English.
The Iron King — Philip the Fair — is as cold and silent, as handsome and unblinking as a statue. He governs his realm with an iron hand, but he cannot rule his own family. His sons are weak and their wives adulterous; while his red-blooded daughter Isabella is unhappily married to an English king who prefers the company of men.
A web of scandal, murder, and intrigue is weaving itself around the Iron King; but his downfall will come from an unexpected quarter. Bent on the persecution of the rich and powerful Knights Templar, Philip sentences Grand Master Jacques Molay to die at the stake. Thus drawing down upon himself a curse that will destroy his entire dynasty…
6. A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay
Just like The Iron King, this next recommendation for books like Game of Thrones isn’t fantasy, but historical fiction. However, if you adored the world of Westeros, Essos, and Sothoryos for its political machinations, prophecies, and messy love stories, then you should definitely read A Song for Arbonne.
Based on the troubadour culture that rose in Provence during the High Middle Ages, this panoramic, absorbing novel beautifully creates an alternate version of the medieval world.
The matriarchal, cultured land of Arbonne is rent by a feud between its two most powerful dukes. The noble troubador Bertran de Talair and Urte de Miraval. Both feud over long-dead Aelis, lover of one, wife of the other, and once heir to the country’s throne.
To the north lies militaristic Gorhaut. Where they worship the militant god Corannos and are ruled by corrupt, womanizing King Ademar. His chief advisor, the high priest of Corannos, is determined to eradicate the worship of a female deity in Arbonne.
Into this cauldron of brewing disaster comes the mysterious Gorhaut mercenary Blaise. He takes service with Bertran and averts an attempt on his life. The revelation of Blaise’s lineage and a claim for sanctuary by his sister-in-law sets the stage for a brutal clash between the two cultures.
7. Malice by John Gwynne
However, let’s jump back to the grimdark recommendations for a moment with this next one: Malice by John Gwynne. It is the first book in The Faithful and the Fallen series. Like Game of Thrones it depicts a fierce, violent, and bloody battle for power.
A black sun is rising…
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm, but that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.
The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle. Causing the earth to run dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land.
But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.
High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants.
But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions: The Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both. For if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust.
8. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
This is another non-grimdark recommendation, but The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is an epic fantasy tale. It is the first book in The Stormlight Archive series, in which four books are currently available of a planned 10. This series features multiple perspectives, like Game of Thrones, each more interesting than the last.
It takes place on Roshar, a world of stone and storms.
It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain. Mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.
One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text: The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.
Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.
9. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Another epic fantasy to read in your hunt for books like Game of Thrones is Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. This is the first in The Dark Star trilogy, of which the second book will be published in February 2022. Marlon pulls from African history and mythology to create this captivating story that combines fantasy and history.
Tracker is well-known for his skills as a hunter. Now, he has been employed to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier.
During which Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone. He finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
James has written an adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf explores the fundamentals of truths, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all.
10. The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams
This next recommendation is also accredited by Martin as influencing his A Song of Ice and Fire series. The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams is the first in the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. Martin has said this is one of his favorite fantasy series, which means it should definitely be on your to be read list.
It begins on the precipice of war. A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery, which is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard — for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king.
Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.
Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.
11. The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Our next recommendation for books like Game of Thrones features an empty throne, with a conspiracy behind it.
The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.
His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several “accidents” and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.
Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice.
And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways — which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?
12. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
Another grimdark epic fantasy is The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. This is the first in The First Law series and begins on the cusp of war. It features multiple perspectives with morally gray protagonists galore.
Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian. Leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.
Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.
Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: Cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.
Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud. But whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult.
Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.
13. Daughter of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts
And the final recommendation in our list of books like Game of Thrones is the first in The Empire trilogy. Daughter of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts is an epic tale of adventure and intrigue. It is also part of Feist’s much larger world of the Riftwar Cycle if you’re seeking a plethora of reading material.
Magic and murder engulf the realm of Kelewan. Fierce warlords ignite a bitter blood feud to enslave the empire of Tsuranuanni. While in the opulent Imperial courts, assassination attempts and devious intrigues take place against the rightful heir.
Now Mara, a young, untested Ruling lady, must lead her people in a heroic struggle for survival. But first she must rally an army of rebel warriors, form a pact with the alien cho-ja, and marry the son of a hated enemy. Only then can Mara face her most dangerous foe of all — in his own impregnable stronghold.
Final thoughts on books like Game of Thrones
Have you read any of the titles on our list of books like Game of Thrones? In our recommendations we’ve included both historical fiction and fantasy as all contain similarities with George R.R. Martin’s epic series.
Whether you enjoy reading about political turmoil and upheaval, or fantasy on a much larger scale, there will for sure be a book here that should make it onto your reading list.
Looking for more book recommendations?
Check out this article on The Lord of the Rings books in order.