What To Read While You Wait For 'Game Of Thrones'

Whether you're a TV fanatic waiting for season seven of Game of Thrones, or a George R.R. Martin purist waiting for Winds of Winter (or some unholy combination of the two), you're running low on patience. You need your next dark fantasy fix, and you need it soon. Lucky for you, George and his TV writer minions are not the only great fantasy authors out there—shocking as that may be. Here are a few epic, twisted, and fantastic books like Game of Thrones to read while you're waiting for more episodes.

Like every other sad fantasy fan, I spend a lot of time staring into space, thinking about Daenerys Targaryen's domestic policy, and the geological implications of a planet with unpredictable seasons (I haven't finished season six of the show yet; no one spoil me if they explain the geological implications of Westeros). There are so many nooks and crannies to explore in Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, and it can be hard to let go of that lovable gang of warmongers and traumatized wolf babies. But there are a lot of other convoluted fantasy worlds out there. If you're only reading Martin, you're missing out. Here are some of the weird, wonderful, and intricately plotted books that GoT fans will love:

1. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

If you think Westeros is a mess, then you should check out Malazan. Oh boy. The Malazan Empire series is ten books long, so you don't have to worry about waiting for the next installment with this one. And Gardens of the Moon is brimming with wars, infighting, subterfuge, citadels, mages, and (of course) the gathering forces of a shadowy evil.

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2. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Petition for N.K. Jemisin to get her own HBO fantasy epic, because The Inheritance Trilogy is just wild. The throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, after all. And Yeine Darr doesn't know what she's getting herself into when she arrives in the mighty city of Sky, and finds herself in the middle of a fierce, otherworldly power struggle.

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3. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

Do you wish that A Song of Ice and Fire was just a little more lighthearted, and just a little more like an old western? Then The Blade Itself is for you. It's the first book in the First Law series, and it follows a wizard, a barbarian, a nobleman, and a torturer—each with their own agenda, and their own point of view on the bloody battles to come.

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4. The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

I see you, Daenerys fans—you're just looking for a good book about a girl and her dragon. Well look no further: The Dragonriders of Pern collects the first three books of Anne McCaffrey's beloved Pern series. It's all dragons all the time in Pern, because only the dragons and their riders can save humanity from the deadly thread that falls from the skies.

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5. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Less about the dragons, more about the court politics? That's fine, too: The White Queen is set during the Wars of the Roses in England. True George R.R. Martin fans already know that Game of Thrones is loosely based on the Wars of the Roses, so this book is essentially a behind-the-scenes look at the treacherous history that inspired A Song of Ice and Fire in the first place.

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6. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Listen up, Jon Snow fans, because the Farseer Trilogy is all about royal bastards. In a far off kingdom, the bastard Fitz is cast out by his family, left to fend for himself. Luckily, Fitz has a magical connection with animals (that's right, he's a regular Bran Stark as well as a Jon Snow). But in order to return to a royal way of life, Fitz will have to learn the ways of the assassins (so he's a Bran Stark, a Jon Snow, and kind of an Arya).

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7. Dune by Frank Herbert

Yes, Dune is set in space. Some people might consider it science fiction rather than fantasy. But everyone can agree that Dune is the best of the best when it comes to unnecessarily complicated epics. It has all the nobility, magic, philosophy, religion, politics, and giant sand worms any fantasy reader could ever ask for.

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8. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time series is about as classic high fantasy as you can get, without submerging yourself in a tank full of Tolkien books. True, The Eye of the World doesn't have quite the political complexity or sexual depravity of Game of Thrones. But if you're looking for a wholesome, high fantasy adventure, you really can't do better than The Wheel of Time books.

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9. Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel is an entirely different sort of book from Game of Thrones. It doesn't have the scope or the laundry list of sexy characters. What is does have is one kick-ass heroine and a lot of deeply dark, wildly inventive magic. The world that Garth Nix has built is unlike any other, and the Abhorsen trilogy is truly captivating fantasy at its finest.

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10. Wild Cards edited by George R.R. Martin

Missing Game of Thrones? Read some of George R.R. Martin's other books! Well... kind of. The Wild Cards books are partially written by Martin, with contributions from a number of other fantasy and sci-fi authors. The result is an expansive, post-apocalyptic world of superhumans and monsters, set in New York City just after World War II. It's quite different from the high fantasy of A Song of Ice and Fire, but it's still well worth a read.

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Images: HBO