If your reading tastes are anything like my own, you enjoy a meaty, epic fantasy. Like me, you might be wondering what the hell you should read next while you wait (possibly in vain) for the next installment from the Song of Ice and Fire series. To help pass the time, I’m here to recommend a few other epic reads (this is by no means a comprehensive list and I could easily recommend many more!) that might slake your thirst.
Warbeaker by Brandon Sanderson – This is the tale of two sisters and the roles they play in the turmoil that surrounds their country. One sister has been training her whole life to marry the mysterious god-king, but when her younger sister is sent in her stead she’s left reeling. The two girls find themselves entwined in the intrigue and danger surrounding the politics of the gods and those who wish to help and harm them.
I was super late joining the Sanderson fan club, and I admit this is the only Sanderson I’ve read so far. If I never read anything else by him, however, this is all I need! I loved this book from page one and I gave it all the stars. The characters are fantastic, the magic system is deep, yet understandable and like nothing I’ve come across before. The world is rich and when the book ended I was desperate for more. Though it’s a stand-alone (for now, at least), it’s epic enough to feel like a series.
The Deverry Cycle by Katharine Kerr – The series starts out following a powerful and old mage named Nevyn whose been living many lifetimes in order to fulfill his oath to set right a mistake he made in his youth. A pair of young lovers, Rhodry and Jill are wrapped up in Nevyn’s fate and that of their very world. Character’s pasts come have far reaching consequences in the future, as many find themselves reincarnated and dealing with long-standing grudges and problems.
This is a 15-book series and though I’m only halfway through, I can recommend it if you’re the type to enjoy a large cast of characters. I discovered this series in high school when I borrowed books 9-11 from my library and fell in love. Since there are so many books, grouped into sets of 4 (and 3 in one case) it’s hard to talk much about the plot (hence my crappy blurb), but many of the characters are reincarnated and their past lives intertwine with their present. If you’re a little neurotic like me, you might want to print out a chart from the internet that tells you each character’s many names and what timeline they’re living in to help you recall everything. If you’re not a huge stickler for detail, you can take each timeline as its own isolated incident and just forget the past. If you’re used to juggling multiple characters and you’re in for the long haul, this could be the series for you.
City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers – Optimus Yarnspinner sets off on a quest to find out who the author of a mysterious manuscript is and finds himself in Bookholm, nicknamed the City of Dreaming Books. The city lives, breathes, eats and sleeps books; books are everywhere, sold, traded, and used as inspiration for homes and food. But when Optimus is betrayed and finds himself in the labyrinthine catacombs, he will need to find a way to navigate the underworld and its mysterious inhabitants if he has any hope of surviving.
This is a book for book lovers. Moers has created a vast fantasy world and Bookholm is only a small corner of it. If I could only pick one fictional place to visit, it would be Bookholm, hands down. The city is so rich and vibrant and so inundated with books! I’ll pass on the catacombs however, as I don’t think I’d survive. There are all sorts of fantastic and horrifying creatures in the catacombs and throughout the book there are little literary puns and puzzles. As a bonus, the book is illustrated! I am all about adult books being illustrated and Moers’s style is fantastic. I can’t praise this book highly enough and it will probably always be on my underrated lists because not enough people seem to know about it. There’s currently a sequel and I’m hoping we’ll get news about the third book sometime soon, as I’ve already been eagerly awaiting it.
Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind – Richard Cypher’s life is turned upside down after the murder of his father and the appearance of a mysterious woman. He soon discovers a world of magic and the threat of a great evil and the important role he must play in all of it.
Ok, this is another like 11+ books series, so I can’t sum it up succinctly. The books are favorites of my Sweetbeeps and he was the one who suggested I read them. I won’t lie, there’s a lot packed into this series (I think in the past handful of years there are more books, but we haven’t followed that branch) and each book is fairly chunky. But I like Richard and how human he is – if you like a hero who makes huge mistakes and then has to deal with the trouble they cause, this series is for you. The world is vast as well and there’s plenty of magic, creatures and villains.
The Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix – In the first book, Sabriel, Sabriel’s father is the Abhorsen and his job it is to keep the dead and free magic creatures under control. When he disappears, Sabriel must go to the Old Kingdom where magic runs rampant to find him. The series follows Sabriel and her family and those who serve or have served other Abhorsens.
I first read the original trilogy in high school and I’ve revisited it several times since. If you listen to audiobooks, the trilogy is read by Tim Curry and it’s divine. Just saying. Anyway, Sabriel is by far one of my favorite female characters, as well as Lirael, who you meet in the second book. This is another series with a unique magic system, one of Sabriel’s main weapons being a set of seven bells she uses – I won’t go into detail, I think it’s best to discover the world on your own. There’s now a prequel, Clariel, and a continuation of the trilogy, Goldenhand (which I still have to read, omg), as well as a few short stories set in the world.
The Gentleman Bastard Series by Scott Lynch – The Lies of Locke Lamora starts the series in the city of Camorr, a sprawling island city with strange glasslike buildings built by a people long extinct. Locke, an orphan, grew up in a small band of thieves and liars led by a congenial priest. Locke grows to lead The Bastards and is infamously known as the Thorn of Camorr. But Locke finds himself a pawn in a bigger game and must play every angle he can to stay alive.
I was loving this book before the prologue ended. I had no idea what was really going on, but I was already invested in the world and I was so excited I kept telling my friends how great the book was, even though I couldn’t give them more detail than what was contained in the first handful of pages. If you like fantasy, Robin Hood-esque heroes, con artists, thieves and murderers, I think you will like this series. I hate to admit that I haven’t read the third book yet, but that’s only because there’s no fourth book in sight and the prequel hasn’t come out yet – I don’t want to be left with no new material!
See anything you like? Do you have any epic recommendations for me?
*cover pictures from Goodreads