Hooked on to the fantasy genre after reading The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan? Read on to discover more fantasy titles that can further ignite this flame.
The fantasy genre has seldom seen bigger scene-stealers than the 80-million-copy selling volumes, which is set in a time reminiscent of a “Late 17th Century without gunpowder”. It takes us through the past, present and future of a magically intricate world characterized by mythical and political machinations with religious undertones. The naive hero Rand al Thor realizes his destiny as a reincarnated messiah of the world to put down his one true enemy – the Dark One.
17 Books Like The Wheel Of Time
If the journey through the Wheel of Time books has captivated you, here is a list of a few more titles in the genre that is guaranteed to catch your attention:
1. The Poppy War
Written by RF Kuang, this book has given rise to a whole new genre called “Grimdark”. Rin, despite being brilliant, faces allegations of cheating when she tops the test for those talented in the Academies.She is singled out for being a war orphan and for her identity as a dark-skinned peasant girl from the southern district. However, she possesses a darker and higher power that no one else does – the power of Shamanism.
The author creates a setting that meshes together the Chinese military history of the 20th century with mythical elements and class wars.
2. The Gunslinger
Stephen King’s dark saga captures the protagonist, Roland of Gilead in a fantasy world set in the mood of the Old West. He is constantly in search of someone known as The Man in Black, whom he knows as Walter.
In a world that shockingly parallels our own, The Gunslinger Roland is portrayed as a haunting figure – a loner in a desolate world. On his journey of good and evil, he meets a woman called Alice, a child from earth called Jake and numerous magical monstrous creatures.
In the first book of The Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger decides to not give up on his quest and also relives his lost memories. In an eerie dreamscape, this book sets the tone for the rest of the trilogy to follow.
3. The Hobbit
The first book that sets the tone for Tolkien’s fictional universe, The Hobbit is oftentimes the one with which fantasy enthusiasts begin their journey within this genre.
Hobbits are described as close relatives of humans, living barefoot and about half the height of average humans. The story follows the journey of one such hobbit known as Bilbo Baggins, who leaves on a quest to retrieve a share of the treasure stolen by the dragon Smaug.
Fans of Tolkien’s universe are first introduced to Bilbo, Gandalf and Gollum in this book. It is inspired heavily by the England of the Edwardian era – the shires could easily be an idyllic British countryside. Soon enough in the story Bilbo leaves the shires to meet dwarves, goblins, wizards and eagles as he travels through Mirkwood, Rivendell, and the Misty mountains to face off with Smaug in the Lonely Mountains.
4. The Fellowship of the Ring
The first book of Tolkien’s famed trilogy holds a special place in any fantasy lover’s heart. Taking a leap from the pages of The Hobbit, readers get a wider experience with the adventures of Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins.
It is an epic tale of love and friendship that follows the classic trope of a hero’s journey. The Elven smiths of the ancient world forged the Rings of Power, made into One ring by the evil lord Sauron.
In The Hobbit, we find out how it falls into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, and in the Fellowshipof the Ring, we see how a young Frodo and Sam make a perilous journey through the Middle Earth to the Cracks of Doom to foil the plan of Sauron.
5. The Final Empire
Brandon Sanderson weaves a mystical universe where ash fell from the sky for a thousand years without any flowering bloom. In a land where days are red and nights are covered with mists, Vin is a powerful Mistborn who can use the power of an ingested metal through magic.
For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler has established an empire of fear for the Skaa to live in. Amidst the torture, Kelsier, a notorious allomancer realises his powers in the horrific Pits of Hathasar and begins his ploy to destroy the “Sliver of Infinity”.The Mistborn follows as Kelsier recruits Vin, an orphan Skaa with vicious trauma of her own as she realises her true potential as a Mistborn and overthrows the Final Empire.
6. The Priory of the Orange Tree
It is a story of romance, witchcraft, dragons and political warfare, all weaved in what is called a “feminist retelling of the legend of George and the Dragon”. In the Priory universe, the author has created a world where men and women hold equal positions of power.
The yet unwed Queen Sabran the Ninth stands at the fag end of a thousand-year of royal legacy. She must produce a female heir if her House’s rule over Inys is to be held furthermore – but she can already sense the footsteps of the assassins nearby.
The narration, done through the developing characters of Ead, Tane, Loth and Niclays is never boring or dull at any point. A lot of the story rests on the threat of the Nameless One returning, and the kingdoms of the eastern and the western world must unite to stop the greater evil.
7. The Name of the Wind
In the first book of the KingKiller Chronicle, the author Patrick Rothfuss has created a delightful protagonist in Kvothe. He is a reclusive and a once-famous wizard, musician, arcanist and adventurer.
The story starts at a time when Kvothe resides in hiding as he ends up rescuing the Chronicler. He decides to retell his story to the Chronicler in three consecutive days – the first book being the compilation of all the adventures he recites on the first day.
The story follows the intimate narrative of his childhood – growing up as a feral orphan in a crime-ridden city to performing as an Eduma Ruh. He ends up being an extraordinary wizard at a school of magic and ends up being meddled in the murder of a King.
8. The Warded Man
Also known as the Painted Man in the UK, this is the first entry in the Demon Cycle trilogy. The author creates a world where demons called corelings arise from the ground in the middle of the night. They hunt and kill any humans they find until they are perished by the dawn.
The narrative follows the story of three characters – Arlen, Leesha and Rojer, as they venture into the journey to eradicate this threat for once and all. They come from different villages, yet their formative years have been defined by their experiences with demons.
The homes of the remaining humans are protected by wards – magical symbols of power acting as a shield against the demons. As fragile as they are, the narrative follows the three characters venturing beyond this unreliable safety as they find age-old answers to defeat the corelings.
9. Sorcerer to the Crown
This delightful book combines magic, mystery, murder and microaggression in the delightful English Regency era. Comedy of Errors meets fantasy when Zacharias Wythe ventures to the borders of Fairyland to understand why England’s magical stocks are drying up.
A freed slave, magician extraordinaire and a fellow of the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, he meets Prunella Gentlewoman. She is endowed with immense power and an enigmatic gift that can alter the course of sorcery of all Britain – if not the entire world. Together they set out to undo hundreds of years of racism and sexism – and prevent the war amongst Malaysian lamiae, racist British thaumaturges, powerful French sorcerers, and mercurial fairies.
10. The Way of Kings
From the house of Brandon Sanderson, comes a narrative that has been 10 years in the making. This is the first book in a projected ten-part series.
In an arid, stony landscape of Roshar, where cities grow in hiding and trees pull in their branches – uncanny tempests control the environment and civilization. A war wages in a part of the country where ten armies fight a single enemy separately. Shardblades of the fallen order of Knights Radiant still remain the currency with which wars can be won and kingdoms can be traded.
Amidst a world like this, follow the adventures of Kaladin, Dalinar and Jasnah as they try to uncover the secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true reason for the wars.
11. The Shadow of What was Lost
The first book of the Licanius trilogy follows the story of Davian, who suffers the consequences of a war fought and lost before his birth.
The premise is of a war where the dictatorial Augurs, once thought to be equal with Gods, lost the battle and were wiped out. The lesser ruling-class with the power known as the Gift survived only by submitting to the Four Tenets.
With laws engraved into the flesh, Davian uses the Gift with utmost care and control- until he realises the forbidden power of the Augurs within him. A long-forgotten enemy begins to stir in the North, and a man in the West wakes up in a forest with no memory of how he got there. With intertwined fates, Davian sets into motion a chain of events that change the world as he knows it.
12. Black Leopard, Red Wolf
This 2019 release is the first book in the Dark Star Trilogy by Jamaican writer Marlon James. In a genre-defining writing style, he introduces Tracker, a man known far and wide for his hunting skills as he is sent to find out a boy who got lost three years ago.
Through flashbacks and non-chronological chapters, we get to know the story of his life along with the recounting of his quest to find the boy not once, but twice.
In this unique case, Tracker breaks his own rule of working alone. He finds himself in a group of mercenaries, witches, giants, bowmen and a mysterious shape-shifting man known as the Leopard.
13. Throne of the Crescent Moon
The first part of the Crescent Moon series follows the story of Dr. Adoulla Makhsood, a ghul hunter living in the city of Dhamsawaat. More than three scores and seven years old, he just wants to enjoy his tea and live in quiet retirement.
But his plans go awry when the family of an old friend is murdered. Along with his sidekick Raseed – a holy warrior constantly being tested by ghuls and manjackals, he sets out to seek answers. They meet Zamia, a woman bestowed with the gift of the lion shape, but misunderstood by her village-folks.
At the core of the story is the plot of the power struggle between the Khalif and an entity known as the Falcon Prince.
14. Age of Myth
In the Legends of the First Empire series, this book is the first instalment where we are made aware that humans have worshipped a race called Fhrey as gods since time immemorial.
All hell breaks loose when Raithe, a human, ends up killing a Fhrey – causing a massive change in the power structure that can have its effects beyond the measure of time.
In the time of the rebellion, all rests upon the shoulders of Raithe – the God Killer; Suri – a young seer and Persephone – who has to lead her people by overcoming her personal tragedies.
15. The Fifth Season
The Broken Earth series is another example where sci-fi is blended with fantasy to create the perfect dystopian landscape. It has a lot of apocalyptic elements and has truly reinvented the epic fantasy genre with a wounded mother’s quest to save her daughter at any cost.
Essun, an ordinary mother of two comes to know that her husband has murdered their son and has fled with their daughter. The mighty empire of Sanze falls to the murderous vengeance spree of a madman. And a great rift has been torn through the earth of Stillness, the vast continent on which they reside – with enough ash spewing up to cover up the sky for years.
Amidst the threat of a continent-wide Battle Royale of nations with dwindling survival resources, it is primarily the story of a mother and how far she will go.
16. The Dragonbone Chair
The first book of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series follows a young man named Simon. He is a young kitchen boy and a magician’s apprentice who dreams of being a warrior hero.
His dreams are too shockingly brought to life when his homeland gets embroiled in a horrific civil war. The dark powers of sorcery, hatred flowing through ages and immortal enemies fuelled the fan more.
In a war set rolling by a dying High King of Osten Ard with other monarchs trying to reclaim their lost land, only a small group of people know the answers to the questions old and new. Simon – touched with magic both good and bad, and unwittingly apprenticed to this group, has to take up the mantle of spearheading the clue for salvation.
17. The Black Company
Despite not being a widely known author in the fantasy genre, Glen Cook’s ongoing series enjoys a cult-following amidst fantasy-enthusiasts.
It follows the rollicking adventures of an elite mercenary unit called the Black Company through a rough forty years in its four-hundred-year-old history. The setting is analogous of a European vibe to a middle eastern influence, keeping the tonality humorous despite being a “grimdark” novel.
The characters are diverse in their nature be it Murgen, Croaker, Sleepy or the Voroshk girls. The plot focuses on the Lady, a dark character who stands between humanity and evil, and the prophesied White Rose, who is supposed to embody the virtues of good.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should read The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson after finishing the Wheel of Time series. In addition to having Robert Jordan influences, it also has very intricate mythical world-building and a myriad of strong characters with their own purpose.
Some of the best fantasy book series apart from The Wheel of Time would be – The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, and the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
The Wheel of Time series is known for its ability to hook a reader into a world that seems different, yet very close to them. This list was curated to create a similar appeal in the fantasy reader’s mind with the treatment of the narrative, the journey of the hero with all its allies and villains, and the creation of epic worlds that seem like a parallel version of our own.