Liked Mistborn? Here a few more fantasy books that will keep you hooked.
Brandon Sanderson has created a powerful world of mythical elements where the days are red and the nights are covered with mists – and the adventures of protagonist Vin has made us stay awake many a night turning the next page of the Mistborn series.
The series extends over 7 published books, a sequel tetralogy and at least 2 planned trilogies which are yet to be announced! If you cannot get enough of the fantasy and mystery that Mistborn comes with, here are a few more suggestions that can keep a bookworm hooked until the next trilogy in the canon is released
16 Best Books Like Mistborn in 2021
1. The Eye of the World
One of the stalwarts of the fantasy genre, this book has been written by Robert Jordan and it sets the beginning for his magnum opus series The Wheel of Time. The Eye of the World starts with the journey of 5 villagers – Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene and Nynaeve.
The story progresses as they flee their home village of Emond’s field after it is attacked by Trollocs – a race of half men and half beasts. They band together to follow an epic hero’s journey to destroy an entity called the Dark One. Robert Jordan builds a very intricate world of magic, legends and myths through a story of good’s triumph over evil.
This book has been praised for its similarity to the Lord of the Rings universe. And a little tip for Mistborn fans, Brandon Sanderson actually helped finish writing the last three books in this high fantasy series after the writer’s untimely demise.
2. The Deed of Paksenarrion
If you want to read about fearless heroines like Vin and stories that triumph female protagonists, then this epic fantasy saga by American author Elizabeth Moon should be up your alley.
It follows the story of a sheep farmer’s daughter, Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter also known as Paks in the books. Set in the middle ages, the book follows Paks as she joins a mercenary company, meets dwarves, elves, gnomes and discovers her own identity as a gifted paladin.
The books were published between 1988-1992, and are quite unputdownable as we follow her journey from farmer to someone who owns their life of adventure.
3. The Name of the Wind
One of the most highly recommended reads of recent times, this book forms the first entry in the ongoing series of the Kingkiller Chronicles.
The narrative follows the journey of protagonist Kvothe, a champion swordsman, magician and musician – also rumoured to have killed a king. He meets and rescues a stranger known as the Chronicler and decides to narrate his life story to him over three days.
The first book covers the intimate account of him growing up from a feral urchin to a skilled magician and concludes the first day of his storytelling. Everyone, including George R R Martin, admittedly cannot wait to figure out the identity of the king he is rumoured to have killed.
4. The Magician’s Guild
The Magician’s Guild is the first fantasy novel in The Black Magician series written by Australian author Trudi Canavan. It follows the story of Sonea, a young girl from the “undesirables” of Imargin, the capital city of Kyralia.
Every year, the powerful wizards of the country gather to purge the “dwells” of the city. On one such fateful occasion, a magically gifted girl from the slums hurls a stone through the magical barrier of the Guild and ends up hurting a high-ranking Lord.
What begins is a powerful concoction of witch-hunting, class war and corruption within the ranks. It is shown through the metaphor of a young girl’s journey, burdened with potential, trying to make her presence felt in the world.
5. The Blade Itself
The first book of The First Law trilogy tells the story of four protagonists who blur the line of hero and villain, each of them coming with their shades of grey.
Logan, a down-on-luck barbarian, Glokta, an infamous cripple torturer and Jezal, a glory hungry nobleman form the trio of protagonists. Their fates are controlled by Bayaz – who could either be the First of Magi or a fabulous fraud.
Abercrombie has been praised widely for his character development in this series in addition to giving a western frontier feel to the fantasy set up. Even though it’s painfully violent at certain times, it does not cross the threshold to become gritty or dark.
No character is unilaterally good or bad, and everyone is given the opportunity to be seen through multiple lenses. As a result, even a character who is hated by his previous comrades is seen as “the best man I know” by another character in another time.
In this adult fantasy book, Kristin Cashore’s protagonist is an adolescent female assassin called Katsa. She is struggling to balance the life she’s been given while trying to figure out the irrational, cruel and whimsical adult world of the Graceling realm.
Born to royal lineage, Katsa is gifted with a “grace” that separates her from the rest of the children – her gift being the ability to kill any man with bare hands. Even though she is used as a personal thug by the king, she meets and falls in love with Prince Po, another graceling who can read minds.
Follow their journey as they uncover deadly plots that could ruin the seven kingdoms, take on cruel kings and save lost daughters – while having a moment of a sweet first-time romance for both.
7. The Black Prism
In the first book of the Lightbringer series, we are introduced to Gavin Guile, the Prism – also known as the most powerful man in the entire world.
In addition to being the Emperor, he is also the high priest and helps keep the peace in his kingdom while being aware of his dwindling mortality. However, the hero of this story is not Guile, but his bastard son Kip. Overweight and uneducated, he has no idea of the power that flows through his veins.
Readers gradually figure out that Guile is carrying a secret of his own that could shake the world as he knows it. And amidst everything, the arrival of his vengeful brother Dazen further complicates everything.
8. A Game of Thrones
In a magical universe where summers stretch for months and winters go on for years, trouble starts brewing in Winterfell as internal and external tensions arise.
Undead soldiers on the other side of the magically sealed Wall threaten to make their presence known. A dragon prince plans to use all the means possible to get his throne back. In the meantime, the King of Westeros – the main seat of power in the Kingdom, gets killed by his own family for usurpation of power.
Now a major TV series, George R R Martin has weaved a complex tapestry of characters in A Song of Ice and Fire who reside in moral gray areas.
9. The Promise of Blood
The first part of a fantasy trilogy inspired by the French Revolution sees Field Marshal Tamas overthrowing a corrupt monarchy to give back power to the common people.
However, it only gives way for more tensions to build in the Nine Nations. Internal conflicts also arise amidst Tamas’s supposed allies – the Church, the Worker Unions and the Mercenary Forces.
A Powder Mage – who eats and snorts gunpowder to exercise magical abilities, he now only has a handful of his peers to rely on to bring back peace to the land. And it includes reconciling with his estranged son Taniel. Amidst this, arise the peasant legends of Gods waking to walk the Earth.
Read McClellan’s brilliant experimental novel to find out how adeptly he has mixed magic and technology in his fantasy universe.
10. Red Rising
This dystopian science fiction novel made its way into this list because of its strong similarities with Mistborn in terms of the tonality and the struggle of the protagonists.
The first book of the Red Rising Saga follows the journey of Darrow, a member of Red – the lowest class in a color-coded society. Set in a futuristic Mars, it focuses on systemic oppression of the powerless and their inevitable disillusionment.
Armored with the anger and the memory of a lost love, he infiltrates the Institute – a proving ground for the ruling class of Gold. His ultimate mission is to destroy the overlords who have lied and kept his people in the dark for generations.
11. Assassin’s Apprentice
The first novel of the Farseer Trilogy follows the story of the royal bastard Fitz, born on the wrong side of the tracks.
In the Kingdom where the story is set, members of the Royal family are known for the virtues they embody. Our protagonist is born with an ancient power called the Wit, which helps him build special connections with animals. This power, however, is looked down upon by the nobility and if used too often, can be considered dangerous.
We follow Fitz’s journey in the first-person narrative as he begins his training as an assassin in the face of grave fate and how he overcomes perils inside and outside the Royal household.
12. Theft of Swords
A bit different from the usual trope of Hero’s Journey that most fantasy novels follow, this series focuses on an unlikely duo made of a famous thief and his mercenary partner.
It starts with the murder of a king, which is pinned upon Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater – who were only in the area to steal a sword. They keep moving across the land of Melengar, breaking in and out of some very secure locations and making friends in high places.
The twist comes when they realize that clearing their names would mean uncovering an ancient mystery in which the church is involved – before it is too late.
13. Gardens of the Moon
This first instalment in the highly acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen series follows the interconnected political games that take place in the Malazan Empire on Genabackis.
When Emperor Kellenved is killed, Empress Larseen and her “Claw” assassins seek to annex the last free cities of Pale and Darujhistan. But with the presence of a mysterious floating city called Moon’s Spawn over them, it seems impossible.
If you like layered storytelling with a multitude of characters each subject to their own fateful journey – then this series is for you. It deals with the expansionist policies of an imperial empire on one hand while focusing on the struggles of individual characters like Ganoes Paran, Whiskeyjack and the Bridgeburners, Anomander Rake and Tattersail simultaneously.
If you like the writing of Brandon Sanderson, you should pick up his new fantasy science fiction for young adults.
Skyward narrates the story of the last bastion of human civilization and the intertwined dreams of a young girl named Spensa who wants to become a pilot. In this post-apocalyptic universe, the human race is pushed towards oblivion on a trapped planet with aliens constantly attacking them.
It is a coming-of-age journey for Spensa as she longs to save the planet with the help of an ancient ship that she discovered which mysteriously seems to have a soul. In addition to all of these factors, the drama in her pilot school is worth staying up nights to finish.
15. The Lies of Locke Lamora
A seductive con man, a fantasy setting, and a city full of riches to be looted – all these come together to make a crackling blockbuster that you will not be able to put down easily.
In the first book of the “Gentleman Bastards” series, we are introduced to the enigmatic Locke Lamora who is unscrupulously honest about his lying. This book takes you through the canals of the island city Camorr, based on a medieval Venice in an unidentified fantasy world.
After dodging death and slavery as an orphan, Locke Lamora takes on a mysterious villain who threatens to take away everything that he holds important in his mercenary life.
16. The Way of Kings
The first book of the ten-part Stormlight Archives establishes a fantasy universe where ten armies fight one singular foe in a land called Roshar.
Strong tempests have morphed the rocky terrains of this land where cities arise in sheltered corners and animals live hidden in shells. The kingdom mourns the fall of the Knights Radiant, while their all-powerful shard plates and shard blades remain for the rest of humanity to be fought over.
In such a rugged and tumultuous setting, follow the journeys of Kaladin, Dalinar and Shallan as they attempt to make sense of the present world armed with the knowledge of the past. Only four books have been published as of yet in the series – which has taken ten years for the writer to build.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are a fan of Brandon Sanderson and want to continue reading books written by him, you should pick up Skyward. If you want to read something that focuses on a strong female protagonist like in Mistborn, you should pick up Graceling.
No, Mistborn is better than Stormlight in terms of pace and build-up. Stormlight relies heavily on the detailing of the Universe it is set in than a solitary protagonist. Mistborn is also a good introduction to Sanderson’s writing style and offers a much likeable protagonist in Vin.
Some of the best fantasy book series is The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin, The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien and Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson.
The Mistborn series is a testament to Brandon Sanderson’s craft to build magical realms, gripping storylines and epic franchises with strong protagonists that are enjoyed by readers all across the globe.
The aforementioned titles have been suggested keeping in mind these unique features of their narrative, which make them similar in tonality, story-arc structure, protagonist-antagonist characterization and the build-up of the story universe across volumes.