Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind transfixed the Four Corners of the fantasy world when it was released in 2007. The award-winning narrative is the first in the author’s bestselling Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy. It tells the tale of Kvothe, a roughish magician and musician living under an assumed name who unspools his legendary life story of song and adventure and his search for the sinister entities that killed his family many years ago.
Rothfuss interweaves ancient magic and world-building lore with character-driven drama in The Name of the Wind—an intentional move, as the author has stated that his stories "live on their characters" rather than scenes of sword-clashing action. His ever-growing fanbase includes genre titans like Robin Hobb, Terry Brooks, and George R.R. Martin. And with Lin-Manuel Miranda executive producing a film and TV adaptation of The Kingkiller Chronicle, it’s clear the future looks bright for Rothfuss’s high fantasy saga.
To date, Rothfuss has published two full-length Kingkiller Chronicle books, 2007’s The Name of the Wind and 2011’s The Wise Man’s Fear. He’s also released a set of novella-length companion tales. The author is currently at work on the final book in the trilogy, tentatively titled The Doors of Stone. Alas, no release date has yet been announced...
Searching for an epic quest while you wait? These books like The Name of the Wind will sweep you away just like Kvothe’s adventures.
Portal of a Thousand Worlds
Sword-and-sorcery master Dave Duncan transports readers to an Imperial China of dark magic and rebellion in this alternate history fantasy. Centuries ago, the Portal of a Thousand Worlds opened, ushering in an era of chaos and revolt. Omens suggest the gateway is about to crack open once again. The impending magical cataclysm sparks a fight for power that threatens to consume the land. Duncan crafts a sprawling fictional kingdom filled with royals, warriors, dragons, thieves, and mages in Portal of a Thousand Worlds—perfect for fans of Rothfuss’s detailed fictional setting in The Name of the Wind.
Camber of Culdi
New York Times bestselling author Katherine Kurtz conjures a tale of magic and mysticism in this sweeping medieval fantasy, the first in the author’s Legends of Camber of Culdi saga. Camber hails from an extraordinary magical race in the kingdom of Gwynedd. For years his people have felt compelled to bow before the ruling Festils, dark magic practitioners and usurpers of the throne who rule with a cruel hand. When a tyrant king causes the death of Camber’s son, the sorcerer sets out for revenge. His quest takes him far from his homeland as he seeks out the rightful heir and fights to restore balance in the kingdom. Like Rothfuss, Kurtz excels at world building and writing lively, fully-formed characters. In Camber of Culdi, she summons a bewitching realm rich with human drama.
Swords and Deviltry
SFWA Grand Master Fritz Leiber is viewed as a progenitor of sword and sorcery fantasy—in fact, he coined the phrase. The author’s beloved Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story cycle, written over the course of some fifty years beginning in 1939, laid the groundwork for the genre. It stands today as one of Leiber’s most famous literary creations. Swords and Deviltry collects four marvelous adventures of the barbarian Fafhrd and his magician thief sidekick the Gray Mouser. Like Rothfuss, Leiber focuses on his protagonists’ evolving interior lives, tracking their growth through the years as the valiant pair mature and settle down.
The Sentinel Mage
Entranced by the evil Chandrian and other supernatural elements coursing through The Name of the Wind? Emily Gee’s enthralling Cursed Kingdoms trilogy is sure to spark a blue flame in your heart. The Sentinel Mage kicks off the saga. In it, an ancient curse threatens the Seven Kingdoms, laying waste to anything and everyone that it poisons. Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with magical abilities, possesses the power to stop the scourge, but assassins track his every step. Shapeshifter Innis transforms herself into an armsman to shepherd the prince across the windswept deserts of Masse and save the Seven Kingdoms. But deadly creatures lurk in the creeping darkness, and they threaten to destroy Innis and the mage-prince.
Agent of Byzantium
Hugo Award-winning author Harry Turtledove draws on a variety of genres to construct his sprawling fictional worlds, from sci-fi and fantasy to deeply researched alternate history. In Agent of Byzantium he imagines an alternate timeline wherein the Byzantine Empire thrives well into the fourteenth century, generating weaponry and technologies that place it at the forefront of the medieval world. Basil Argyros is a Byzantine warrior and superspy, defusing political conspiracies and neutralizing threats from the western and eastern lands. But danger is ever-present in Byzantium, and Argyros must stand ready for battle if he hopes to survive. Readers charmed by Rothfuss’s artful prose and boundless imagination in The Name of the Wind will find much to love in Turtledove’s masterful world building.
The Great Alta Saga
Myth and music play an integral role in The Name of the Wind—and will feature prominently in the upcoming Kingkiller adaptations thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda. Multiple award-winning author Jane Yolen also blends lyric and legend into her acclaimed Great Alta trilogy, building out her expansive world through the realm’s many songs, ballads, poems, and mythologies. A heroic saga of magic and prophecy, the Great Alta trilogy tells the tale of young female warrior Jenna and her mirror twin Skada, who emerges only in darkness. Together, the pair must face their shared fate and reshape their embattled world.
RELATED: 10 Must-Read Jane Yolen Books
Witch World: High Hallack Cycle
For all those who were happily lost in Rothfuss’s layered narrative, a grand literary universe awaits in Andre Norton’s Witch World saga. Norton’s groundbreaking multi-book series blends sword and sorcery, sci-fi, and high fantasy to extraordinary effect and is comprised of multiple cycles—including the High Hallack cycle. This box sets collects five of the cycle’s eleven books, inviting readers on a journey to the western continent of High Hallack and a parallel world of heroines and heroes where magic is real.
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Book 1)
Rothfuss spins an intricate history with multiple timelines in The Name of the Wind. Fantasy author Scott Lynch also employs multiple timelines in The Lies of Locke Lamora, his "gorgeously realized" (George R.R. Martin) 2006 debut that kicks off the Gentleman Bastard series. The fantasy narrative follows young Locke Lamora, an orphan and thief in the mystical island city of Camorr who ascends the ranks of the criminal underworld to lead a band of thieves known as the Gentleman Bastards. Enhancing Lamora’s rise and fight for domination are interludes that describe the history of Camorr and how the Gentleman Bastards came to be.
A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle Series Book 1)
Ursula K. Le Guin charted new and wondrous territory in her award-winning Earthsea cycle, spiriting readers away from the medieval patriarchal lands of conventional fantasy to an archipelago surrounded by a vast ocean and inhabited by diverse cultures and races. A Wizard of Earthsea kicks off the cycle, and follows young mage Ged as he seeks to master his growing powers and vanquish the malevolent force he inadvertently unleashed upon the world. Readers charmed by Rothfuss’s magic setting, his large cast of characters and the attention he pays to their inner lives will adore Le Guin’s stunning Earthsea cycle. Not to be missed.
The Last Unicorn
Ranked by Locus as one of the best fantasy novels of all time, Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn is also one of Rothfuss’s favorite books. The author champions the 1968 tale as "the best book I have ever read. You need to read it. If you’ve already read it, you need to read it again." An enchanting account of a unicorn’s search for others of her kind and her place in the world, The Last Unicorn is a must read for fantasy fans—and the animated adaptation from 1982 is worth a watch as well.
Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1)
This high fantasy series by bestselling author Jim Butcher takes place in the land of Alera, where magic crackles through the air and darkness looms on the horizon. To protect their territory, the people of Alera rely on the furies, supernatural entities of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal. Young Tavi, unable to harness this ancient force and command the elementals, struggles to fit in. But when advancing enemies threaten his homeland, Tavi must search deep within himself for the power to stem the tide of war and save his people. Furies of Calderon is the first book in Butcher’s six-part series. Its engrossing setting and coming-of-age-style narrative will appeal to fans of The Name of the Wind.
World Fantasy Award-winner Patricia A. McKillip imagines a mythic world of riddles, wizards, shapechangers, and everlasting magic in her beloved Riddle-Master trilogy. Morgon is a prince of the island farmers of Hed, born with three stars on his forehead. After outsmarting the wraith of Peven, Lord of Aum in a riddle-game, Morgon acquires a crown—a prize that brings with it both promise and peril. Soon Morgon embarks on an epic adventure in search of his ultimate destiny. This edition collects all three books in the Riddle-Master series—1976’s The Riddle-Master of Hed, 1977’s Heir of Sea and Fire, and 1979’s Harpist in the Wind. A lyrical fantasy that calls to mind the legends of yore, McKillip’s trilogy will draw you in just like Rothfuss’s expansive tale.
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