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Can’t Wait for The Witcher Season 2? Read These 8 Sweeping Fantasy Novels

by  | January 3

Everyone with a Netflix subscription has already been inundated with trailers for The Witcher, a Netflix original starring Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, since it was released at the end of December. But if you’re a fantasy fan and/or a gamer, you probably didn’t need much convincing to check it out. The television series, based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski (which also inspired a series of popular video games), goes back and forth through time, intertwining strings of fate (honestly, if you take a shot every time someone says “destiny,” you’ll be loaded in thirty minutes), magic, and power across a continent lousy with monsters. In the show, select children are trained up to be “Witchers,” monster-hunters with supernatural abilities, sent into the world to hack at baddies for freelance rates that seem, by all accounts, to be pretty much nothing. 

After watching, I’m happy to report…the series is fun! It partially fills the void Game of Thrones left, and also adds in a little bit of Middle-Earth flair with evil forests, reclusive elves, and a whole cadre of mages. Inspired by the cast-strong characters, kickass ladies, medieval fights, sorcery, and Henry Cavill’s muscles (which repeatedly wore through leather clothing), I’ve compiled a list of books to pick up if, after 8 episodes, you need something to tide you over until Season 2.

Where Winter Finds You

Where Winter Finds You

by J.R. Ward

Listen, we all know Henry Cavill is a thirst trap. I know it. You know it. He knows it. The guy’s muscles have muscles. Keeping in line with the general eye-candy that is Geralt of Rivia, I’d recommend Where Winter Finds You, J. R. Ward’s newest action/paranormal romance combo, full of broody boys, reincarnated lovers, and a good dose of betrayal and sword fighting.

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The Lost Queen

The Lost Queen

by Signe Pike

Inspired by Witcher’s Yennefer of Vengerberg and Queen Calanthe of Cintra for absolutely stacking the deck with badass women, I’m also recommending The Lost Queen. Featuring Languoreth, a strong woman who defends her heart and her homeland, Pike’s debut gives us magic, religion, power, and motherhood in spades. If you’re all about women taking control of their lives (especially in medieval fantasy settings), pick up this book!

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Steel Crow Saga

Steel Crow Saga

by Paul Krueger

We can’t get enough of destiny here. We really can’t. If you enjoyed the multiple story lines and timelines taken by the series, you’ll love this multi-character epic from Paul Krueger. Four people from different cultures and walks of life must band together to take down an evil sorcerer in a wild heist/fantasy murder mystery. Steel Crow Saga also sports diverse characters, queer love stories, and trans representation. Ticking all my boxes, this dramatic, heartbreaking, absolutely maddeningly good book is a must-read for any Witcher fan.

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The Wolf and the Watchman

The Wolf and the Watchman

by Niklas Natt och Dag

Perfect for those who love a good mystery and the White Wolf, this book follows a pair of self-appointed detectives as they dive deep into the seedy underbelly of their hometown. Men on the hunt, mutilated bodies, terror and intimidations on all sides, an eroding throne, The Wolf and the Watchman is perfect for those who love The Witcher but maybe favor their nitty-gritty set in real life most.

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Seven Blades in Black

Seven Blades in Black

by Sam Sykes

So you like fantasy, but don’t like how...well, straight it is? Sam Sykes has written the perfect book to get you out of the slump. Meet Sal the Cacophony, the queer lady at the front of Seven Blades in Black, in a book full of memorable villains, an unforgettable magic system, and total revenge. Hunting down the people who wronged her, Sal is a thunderstorm of vengeance, and this blood-soaked book will have you on the edge of a blade the entire way through.

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Master of Sorrows

Master of Sorrows

by Justin Call

If you’re keen on a longer investment, you might be interested in Master of Sorrows, the hefty first book in a new series. We follow teenage Annev, who is trying to outrun his destiny while still in school. Thwarted by bullies, peers, teachers, and even his love interest, Annev is forced to come face-to- face with the dark power lying at the heart of his fate. Grim and melancholic, this book is an epic modern dark fantasy that will have you counting down the days until the next release.

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Cursed

Cursed

by Frank Miller

This retelling of the Arthurian legend of Excalibur gives us Nimue, wielding the badass blade; an adorable-yet-mysterious mercenary named Arthur; and the fate of England resting on one woman’s shoulders. You don’t get more high fantasy than that. Arthurian legends basically invented the knight-errant-quest plot, and Cursed is a beautiful successor to those stories. If you enjoyed, even a little bit, the strings of destiny woven in The Witcher, Cursed will tie you up in knots, not to mention there’s literally a Witcher book titled “Lady of the Lake.” An excellent story helped along by the legendary Frank Miller’s dramatic artwork, this one is not to be missed, not least because it’s also slated to become a Netflix series.

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The Last Wish

The Last Wish

by Andrzej Sapkowski

Finally, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to check out the books that inspired the TV show, including the short story collection that started it all. The Last Wish is the very first appearance of Geralt of Rivia and features 6 adventures that all take place before the events in the main novels, making these stories an excellent introduction to the Witcher and his world.

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