Whatever your thoughts about the ending of Game of Thrones, there is no question that George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is one of the best and most influential book series’ in all of fantasy. In many ways, these books transformed the fantasy genre, and the continued appeal and influence of the series continues to be felt today, some 20+ years after the first volume was published back in 1996.
Though Martin is a notoriously slow writer, the anticipation for the 6th and 7th books in the series continues to be high. If you are getting withdrawal symptoms from GoT finishing, and you can’t be dealing with waiting for GRRM to actually buck his ideas up and complete the final volumes, you’ll need some books to tide you over. Here are some of the best books you can read if you dug A Song of Ice and Fire.
The Dragonbone Chair – Tad Williams
The first installment in the highly influential Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, Tad Williams’ fantasy classic was one of the biggest direct influences on A Song of Ice and Fire. The story starts with the old fantasy cliche of a lowly kitchen hand plucked from obscurity and handed a destiny. But it evolves into one of the smartest and most engrossing high fantasy novels ever written. Make sure you check this out as your introduction to one of the finest and smartest fantasy trilogies ever.
The First Law Trilogy – Joe Abercrombie
The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie is one of the most brutal and cynical offerings in modern fantasy, and this is what makes it so enticing for ASOIAF fans. This is a series in the same vein as Martin’s epic, where nobody is the hero, everybody is the villain, and there is so much moral ambiguity. Smart, riveting, and very violent, The First Law Trilogy is a great choice to fill that gap, and the first volume is the terrific The Blade Itself.
Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson
And here we have the first installment of a 10 VOLUME high fantasy epic that has actually been completed! Color us shocked! Steven Erikson pushed boundaries and shook up the genre with his epic series Malazan, Book of the Fallen. This is the first volume, and it dives right in, with a rich hotbed of characters, some wonderful world-building, and delightful subversion of many of the classic fantasy tropes. Gardens of the Moon feels epic in every way, and this is the perfect book to start with if you are looking to lose yourself in another universe.
Lens of the World – R. A. MacAvoy
Volume one of The Lens of the World trilogy is one of the great undiscovered fantasy classics, and we definitely recommend checking this bad boy out. Sure, there’s magic, an orphan, and a murky destiny, but this is fantasy! The book gives us some of the most rich and engrossing characters, as well as a dark, treacherous world bereft of hope and order. This is a book you will find yourself thinking about long after you’ve finished it.
These are just a few of the best examples of epic fantasy novels that bear similarities to A Song of Ice and Fire. They are the perfect choice for those looking to be introduced to new worlds and to lose themselves in someone else’s imagination.