The Stormlight Archive is a truly majestic saga that has captivated millions of readers with its complex characters, immersive world-building, and intricate plot. You’ve journeyed with Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar through their trials, triumphs, and revelations, each page revealing a piece of the rich tapestry of Roshar. But as the dust settles after your epic journey, you might be left with a yearning for more. Fear not, for there are many other literary realms awaiting your exploration.
This blog post will guide you through some fantastic series to explore next, with a focus on high fantasy novels that share similarities with the Stormlight Archive in terms of themes, writing style, character development, and world-building. Each recommendation will come with a brief summary and a discussion of how it connects to Brandon Sanderson’s masterwork.
Here’s to finding your next fantasy epic to fall in love with!
Understanding the Appeal of the Stormlight Archive
The Stormlight Archive thrives on themes such as honor, duty, resilience, and personal growth. The characters grapple with internal and external conflicts, questioning the very nature of morality and purpose. They wrestle with their past, learn from their failures, and strive to rise above their circumstances.
Brandon Sanderson’s writing style is both accessible and profound. The narrative is multifaceted, weaving together different character perspectives to create a comprehensive picture of the world of Roshar. Each book in the series presents its own self-contained story while contributing to the overarching narrative.
One of the series’ strengths lies in its deep and complex character development. The protagonists are flawed, multifaceted individuals who evolve significantly throughout the series. Sanderson’s ability to draw the reader into the minds and hearts of these characters, making us empathize with their struggles and cheer for their victories, is a significant part of the Stormlight Archive’s appeal.
Criteria for Recommended Books
Similarities in Themes
In selecting books for this list, we’ve focused on those that deal with themes echoing those in the Stormlight Archive. Look for stories that explore duty, honor, resilience, personal growth, and the blurred lines of morality, mirroring the thematic richness of Sanderson’s work.
Comparable Writing Style or Narrative Structure
The recommended books share a writing style or narrative structure similar to Sanderson’s. They offer accessible language paired with a depth of storytelling that creates an immersive reading experience. They should also possess multifaceted narratives that weave together various character perspectives, enhancing the richness and complexity of their respective worlds.
Strong, Well-Developed Characters
Books featuring characters that are deeply developed and experience significant growth over time are selected. The protagonists in these books are flawed and complex, similar to those in the Stormlight Archive, and their journey forms the heart of these stories.
Finally, the recommended books are all set in high-fantasy worlds with comprehensive world-building akin to the world of Roshar in the Stormlight Archive. These worlds serve as more than mere backdrops to the narrative; they are integral elements that shape the story and its characters.
“The Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan
“The Wheel of Time” series is an epic fantasy saga spanning fourteen volumes. It’s set in a world where magic exists, but only women are allowed to use it safely. The story revolves around a prophecy about a Chosen One destined to either save the world or doom it.
Just like the Stormlight Archive, this series excels in world-building, offering an expansive universe filled with diverse cultures, intricate politics, and an elaborate magic system. The central theme of balance between male and female power, along with an intricate plot and well-developed characters, mirrors the thematic and character depth of Sanderson’s work.
“The Malazan Book of the Fallen” series by Steven Erikson
“The Malazan Book of the Fallen” is a ten-book series known for its complex plot, intricate world-building, and philosophical undertones. It tells the tale of a conflict spanning continents and races, gods and mortals, set in a world steeped in thousands of years of history.
The series shares with the Stormlight Archive a fondness for intricate plots, philosophical explorations, and character diversity. Its immense depth and complexity in world-building could also satisfy the appetite of those who admired this aspect in Sanderson’s work.
“The Lightbringer” series by Brent Weeks
“The Lightbringer” series presents a unique magic system based on the spectrum of light, in a world on the brink of war. It centers on the journey of Kip, a seemingly ordinary boy, who finds himself in the heart of this conflict.
Fans of the Stormlight Archive might enjoy the moral quandaries, political intrigue, and personal growth of the characters in this series. Its magic system, rooted in color and light, could also be appealing to those who appreciated the innovative system of Stormlight and spren in Sanderson’s universe.
“The Kingkiller Chronicle” series by Patrick Rothfuss
“The Kingkiller Chronicle” is a story about the life of Kvothe, an adventurer and musician, as he recounts his past to a chronicler. The narrative is layered and rich, with a blend of magic, music, and emotion.
This series could captivate Stormlight Archive fans through its character-focused storytelling, with a protagonist who undergoes a significant journey of growth. Additionally, its unique, music-infused magic system might resonate with those who enjoyed the originality of Sanderson’s work.
“A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin
“A Song of Ice and Fire,” best known for its television adaptation, “Game of Thrones,” is a high-fantasy series set in the lands of Westeros and Essos, filled with political intrigue, war, and complex characters.
Although darker and more grim in tone, this series shares with the Stormlight Archive its commitment to intricate world-building, deep character development, and a complex, multilayered plot. Fans of Sanderson might appreciate the depth of realism and moral complexity in Martin’s characters.
Exploring Further: Other Authors to Consider
While the previous book recommendations are fantastic starting points, there are other authors in the high-fantasy genre worth exploring. Their works may not align perfectly with all the criteria laid out but still offer excellent narratives that Stormlight Archive fans might enjoy.
Robin Hobb’s works, particularly “The Farseer Trilogy,” are known for their emotional depth and strong character development. While the pacing and magic system differ from the Stormlight Archive, Hobb’s meticulous attention to character-driven stories might appeal to Sanderson’s fans.
N.K. Jemisin’s “The Broken Earth Trilogy” presents a unique, post-apocalyptic fantasy world with innovative narrative techniques and a thought-provoking magic system. While the tone is darker and more mature than the Stormlight Archive, her unique approach to storytelling might resonate with fans looking for something different.
For fans who enjoy the humor found in Sanderson’s work, Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” series offers a witty and satirical take on the fantasy genre. Pratchett’s books are generally lighter in tone, but they still provide an immersive world filled with eccentric characters.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Earthsea Cycle” is renowned for its poetic writing style and philosophical themes. While her books are less action-driven than the Stormlight Archive, fans might appreciate her nuanced world-building and exploration of themes like balance and identity.
Remember, the magic of fantasy lies in its diversity and its ability to transport us to new worlds. So, don’t hesitate to branch out and try something a little different. You never know what you might discover.
“The First Law Trilogy” by Joe Abercrombie
“The First Law Trilogy” is a grimdark fantasy that introduces us to a cynical world rife with intricate political schemes and battles. The series is chosen for its complex characters, dark humor, and an engaging plot, which might appeal to those who enjoy the multi-faceted characters of the Stormlight Archive.
“Mistborn Trilogy” by Brandon Sanderson
“Mistborn” takes place in a dark world where a tyrant reigns supreme. It features an innovative magic system based on metals and intriguing characters. Fans of Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive will enjoy this series due to the similar writing style and intricate world-building.
“The Broken Empire Trilogy” by Mark Lawrence
“The Broken Empire Trilogy” follows a ruthless anti-hero in his quest for power. Its dark tone, coupled with an unpredictable protagonist and well-executed plot twists, offers a different perspective on the fantasy genre that might intrigue Stormlight Archive fans seeking a darker narrative.
“The Inheritance Trilogy” by N.K. Jemisin
“The Inheritance Trilogy” tells a tale of gods and mortals in a multi-cultural world. It features a strong narrative voice, well-developed characters, and explores themes of power and oppression. This series is chosen for its thematic depth and innovative narrative, offering a fresh take on high fantasy.
“The Licanius Trilogy” by James Islington
“The Licanius Trilogy” is a complex time-travel fantasy saga filled with intricate plots and a wide cast of characters. Its meticulously plotted narrative and character development make it a great pick for fans of the Stormlight Archive.
“The Riyria Revelations” by Michael J. Sullivan
“The Riyria Revelations” series follows the adventures of two unlikely heroes. Known for its witty dialogue, engaging characters, and intricate plots, this series could appeal to those who appreciate the camaraderie and character dynamics in the Stormlight Archive.
“Powder Mage Trilogy” by Brian McClellan
The “Powder Mage Trilogy” features a unique magic system based on gunpowder. It offers a blend of epic and military fantasy, with complex characters and political intrigue. Fans of Sanderson might enjoy this series due to its unique magic system and plot-driven narrative.
“The Books of Babel” by Josiah Bancroft
“The Books of Babel” series follows a schoolteacher’s search for his lost wife in a towering structure known as the Tower of Babel. Its blend of fantasy and steampunk elements, coupled with a strong narrative voice, may intrigue fans of Sanderson looking for a unique fantasy setting.
“The Dagger and the Coin” series by Daniel Abraham
“The Dagger and the Coin” series, noted for its political intrigue and unique approach to high fantasy, revolves around war, politics, and economics. Fans of the Stormlight Archive might appreciate the nuanced character development and the intricate plot.
“Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” by Tad Williams
“Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” is a high fantasy series about a young kitchen boy drawn into a world of ancient magic. Its intricate world-building, in-depth characters, and blend of myth and reality may appeal to those who enjoyed similar elements in the Stormlight Archive.
In this exploration of high-fantasy literature, we’ve journeyed through various worlds that echo elements from the Stormlight Archive in their thematic depth, complex characters, intricate plotlines, and immersive settings. From the time-worn lands of Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” to the innovative, light-driven world of Brent Weeks’ “The Lightbringer” series, these stories offer their own unique takes on fantasy while retaining some of the magic that made us fall in love with Sanderson’s work.
Whether you’re drawn to the philosophical undertones of “The Malazan Book of the Fallen,” the character-driven narrative of “The Kingkiller Chronicle,” or the grim realism and political intrigue of “A Song of Ice and Fire,” there’s a narrative waiting to whisk you away on a new adventure.
Remember, each book is a doorway to a new world. Don’t hesitate to step through and explore what lies beyond. After all, the next great story is just a page-turn away. Happy reading!