If so, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites below.
Readers of Brandon Sanderson’s work are well aware of his affinity for the epic fantasy subgenre. First in the Stormlight Archive, The Way of Kings has been around for a decade. When I hear the names of Shardblades, Voidbringers, and Radiants, I still get a twinkle in my eye.
Epic fantasy novels are often compared to the Wheel of Time series. The Way of Kings is a few thousand miles ahead of that benchmark. Those who enjoy novels set in intricately built fantasy worlds may want to check out the following books, which are all similar to The Way of Kings.
Books like The Way of Kings
The King Must Die, by Mary Renault
The King Must Die isn’t the first book that comes to mind when thinking of The Way of Kings, but you’d be crazy not to read it. History and mythology are used in epic fantasy. All of us have heard of Theseus, the hero who slew the Minotaur in a dark labyrinth on the island of Crete, mythologically speaking.
When it comes to The Theseus Myth and the real-life archaeological discoveries at the palace of Knossos, we know very little. But Renault combines what we do know about history and the Minoan empire to craft a story about The Theseus Myth that feels both authentic and imaginative.
Theseus is a young man in this scene. He has a can-do attitude and is willing to take on any task the Gods assign him. As he travels to Crete, he becomes king of the victims, and the narrative chronicles his journey. The story of a man attempting to make sense of his existence is interspersed with tales of gods and monsters.
It’s important to remind oneself that you’re reading a semi-historical novel, not an epic fantasy, since the story is both memorable and page-turning. It’s hard to put into words how surreal everything about Crete, from the lush countryside to the blood and sweat of Theseus jumping bulls, feels. That’s how wonderful this book is, in my opinion.
Is Greek Mythology your favorite subject? Circe and The Song of Achilles are just a couple of the titles on our recommended reading list.
The Painted Man (Demon Cycle 1), by Peter V. Brett
It’s a fantasy world filled with demons and creatures that terrorizes the characters in books like The Way of Kings. Similarly, but in a different way, The Painted Man (also known as The Warded Man in North America) is structured.
Despite the fact that Arlen is a Luke Skywalker-esque hero, he is more imaginative and down-to-earth than the legendary Jedi knight. There are three persons in the novel besides Arlen: Leesha and Rojer, who don’t meet until they’re adults, and Arlen, the book’s main character.
It is Brett’s world-building that elevates this story to a new level, much like it did in The Stormlight Archive trilogy. During the night, mankind are confined to their magically defended homes or constructions in this planet. After dark, the otherworldly Corelings will pounce on anyone found outside.
Strong characters, an intriguing magic system, and terrible monsters had me riveted from the get-go in this book. If you liked The Way of Kings, you’ll enjoy this book.
The Spirit Thief, by Rachel Aaron
In order for a book like The Way of Kings to be effective, it must at the very least:
Provide the reader with a likable lead character.
Make the protagonist desire something with all of their heart.
Third, make it nearly impossible for them to receive it
To make the world and its magic real to me, you must:
The Spirit Thief meets and exceeds all four of these criteria. Besides being believable, Eli Monpress is also amusing, a thief, and…a magician. Monpress’s rebelliousness is a major factor in this novel’s success. When a man decides to abduct an entire kingdom to raise the death penalty for himself, it’s humorous and epic all at the same time.
As a result of the way the world’s rules are written, you take them as gospel truth. Magicians have a special relationship with the world’s spirits, and they can use that relationship to either maintain harmony or spark conflict.
However, despite the fact that The Spirit Thief has been criticized by certain epic fantasy lovers for being too light-hearted, the tale works. As a bonus, epic fantasy can be a little overly melodramatic.
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle 1), by Patrick Rothfuss
If you like The Stormlight Archive, you’ll love The Name of the Wind, which features a heist and a coming-of-age story. This is a book I’ve talked about before, but it deserves a spot on this list. The Name of the Wind manages the problem of first-person narratives with beauty and grace.
Kvothe, the world’s most notorious wizard, has agreed to tell us his story. You’ll feel like you’re in Kvothe’s shoes as he goes from being a child in a traveling theater to becoming an orphan to his daringly successful quest to enter the top school of magic.
A chronicler has come hunting for the legend, and Kvothe’s ideas range from sorrowful to philosophical to psychopathic. It’s possible that The Name of the Wind won’t appeal to all fantasy readers, but it excels as a character study.
Is this a series you’ve already read? For more great reads, see our selection of similar titles.
Furies of Calderon, by Jim Butcher
The Way of Kings, for example, frequently pits one race or ethnicity against another in a bloody struggle for supremacy. Butcher’s Codex Alera, while more known for his Harry Dresden urban fantasy series, bears significant resemblances to The Stormlight Archive.
We’ve got a fantastical setting, replete with a young hero embarking on a heroic quest. It’s not just warring races and empires that populate our earth. The largest of these is the Roman Empire.
Even still, the manner Tavi is attempting to form a link with the mystical ‘furies’ of the universe has an almost computer-game-like quality to it. People’s ability to call upon earth, air, fire, water, and metal elements lies at the heart of the magic system.
We end up pulling for Tavi since she can’t seem to get along with any of them. High fantasy meets role-playing adventure when espionage and political intrigue are added to the mix in the game, “Furies of Calderon”.
The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time 1), by Robert Jordan
Jordan’s vast Wheel of Time trilogy must be mentioned when discussing books like The Way of Kings. When Sanderson finished the story after Jordan’s premature death, it illustrates how tightly their work is linked.
Jordan, like Sanderson with The Stormlight Archive, was a fan of fine details. Rand, Mat, and Perrin start out on their voyage in the Eye of the World, which is so rich in detail that you can’t help but follow them. Until the Trollocs (sort of like werewolves) threaten their hamlet, the Trollocs are simply fairy tales to these barely-young lads.
Even though Lord of the Rings is often compared to The Eye of the World, it’s impossible to deny the similarities. Jordan’s infatuation with a magical ring extends well beyond that. It’s possible that one of the main characters in his work is actually the evil guy.
To some readers, it’s easy to figure out who the ‘Dark One’ is early on in the novel, and they’re not kidding. Make up your own mind and read it for yourself, that’s my recommendation.
If so, are you already a fan of this fantastical story? Visit our list of novels that are similar to The Wheel of Time.
The Lens of the World, by R.A. MacAvoy
The Stormlight Archive is an excellent example of high fantasy. Following the orphan Nazhuret, who is sent to a military academy as a minor ward. Nazhuret’s adventure isn’t any less exciting because you can probably predict what will happen next.
While the fantasy setting is rich, it avoids being overly ostentatious. Even though MacAvoy incorporates supernatural elements, the film never feels forced or out of place in the unique world he’s built. The manner of writing is what sets this distinct from previous novels like The Way of Kings.
Nazhuret’s letters to a friend explain his story in the book The Lens of the World. However, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is an excellent example of this type of storytelling, and this work shines as a result.
Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey
Think about not being able to distinguish between pleasure and pain. Carey’s brilliant imagination revolves around this core idea. A piercing from Kushiel’s Dart caused Phèdre nó Delaunay to experience both pain and pleasure at the same time for the rest of her life. She is bought by a nobleman who knows what she is after being sold into service.
Phèdre quickly picks up all the tricks of the trade when it comes to court intrigue, assassination, love triangles, and other types of love triangles. For those who enjoy high-fantasy stories like The Way of Kings, Kushiel’s Dart is a good choice, albeit it may not be for everyone.
Carey, I believe, is making a point about all the sex and morality issues. As a result of Phèdre’s curse/blessing by Hell’s keeper, she is able to experience pleasure and suffering as one and the same.
Many high-fantasy fans seem to be uncomfortable with the harsh and frequently gruesome violence that is presented in works like The Stormlight Archive, but not with the explicit sex scenes in Kushiel’s Dart. You should read it and come to your own conclusions.
Epic fantasy readers will find a plethora of titles like “The Way of Kings” to keep them engaged. Some are lighthearted, while others are dark and melancholy. If you liked The Stormlight Archive, I can confidently recommend any of the aforementioned books as worthy successors. Of course, this is only one person’s view.