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10 Ingenious Epic Fantasy Reads for Fans of Brandon Sanderson

by  | July 21
Kingdom of Liars book

Today we’re welcoming debut author Nick Martell to Get Lit! His epic fantasy, The Kingdom of Liars, imagines an ingenious fantasy world where memory can be used to create magic. Branded a traitor and reduced to petty crime, Michael has secrets of his past that could lead him to greatness and restore his family’s name, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it back. With its smart crime-drama plot and intriguing premise, this book is drawing comparison to some of our favorite shows and books, from The Wire to Mistborn. So, of course, we can’t wait to dive into his epic fantasy recommendations for fans of Brandon Sanderson. Thanks for joining us, Nick!


I was sixteen and alone in a foreign country when I first came across a Brandon Sanderson novel. I was in a random bookstore in the city of Cambridge, in England, browsing the fantasy section as I looked for something new to read after I had burned through all the novels that I had brought with me. I picked up The Way of Kings, drawn by its captivating cover of a knight holding an elongated sword, only to discover, once I finished reading it, that it was just the first half of the novel. I spent a month scouring every bookstore in Cambridge for the second half but was unsuccessful. Once I got back home, I bought The Way of Kings again and everything else Brandon had written at that point. I’ve been a big fan ever since.

If you—like me—have ever been adrift waiting for the next book in a favorite epic fantasy series—for me, it’s been the Stormlight Archive—here are seven other books that are just as amazing.

The Last Smile in Sunder City

The Last Smile in Sunder City

by Luke Arnold

This book has all the classics of fantasy in it—werewolves, vampires, dragons, gnomes, and more—except for one minor difference. The magic that once gave these fantastical creatures and races their trademark abilities is gone. Elves no longer have long lives, dragons can no longer fly, and sirens no longer have the ability to enthrall their listeners. And that brings us to Fetch Phillips, a former soldier turned PI who has begun to investigate some of the lingering traces of magic left in the world.

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The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by N. K. Jemisin

Honestly, this book needs no introduction, but I still feel compelled to tell the world about it until everyone has read this utterly brilliant, heartbreaking, and poignant novel. It’s a harrowing story of love, sciency-magic, apocalypses, and the fierce relationship between a mother and her child. If you haven’t already, just go read it, as well as the two other books in the Broken Earth trilogy. You won’t regret it.

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City of Lies

City of Lies

by Sam Hawke

I judge books by their first lines, and this book may have one of the absolute best first lines I’ve ever read: “I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me.” It also has two very well done POVs of a brother and sister who have been raised from a young age to identify poisons in food. After the Chancellor is poisoned, the story goes on to include all the wonderful bits of a classic whodunit. And it only gets better from there, especially when the rebellion begins and ancient spirits return.…

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Kings of the Wyld

Kings of the Wyld

by Nicholas Eames

Okay, so first, take mercenaries in a fantasy world filled with monsters. Then make them rock stars. Now combine that with a get-the-band-back-together story line after the main band member’s daughters goes missing, forcing the aging group to set off on one last quest, to save her. That’s essentially what Kings of the Wyld is about, and it’s amazing from start to finish. It’s humorous, dramatic, and heart pounding. And the sequel—Bloody Rose—is even better.

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A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons

by Marie Brennan

This is one of those books that draws you in with its gorgeous cover and then refuses to let you go from the very first page. Rather than explain dragons with magic, it takes a more scientific approach as the main character, Lady Trent, details her experiences, in the form of a memoir, from being a young girl fascinated with dragons to becoming one of the world’s leading experts on the subject. The fantasy is accompanied by wonderfully detailed illustrations, which only enriches the experience.

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The Shadow of What Was Lost

The Shadow of What Was Lost

by James Islington

Take the scope of The Wheel of Time series and combine it with the intricacies of Mistborn and you’ll get the Licanius Trilogy. It’s hard for me to talk about why I love this first book in the series without spoiling things. All I’ll say is that the mystery in it is crafted in such a careful way that, immediately upon finishing it, I wanted to reread it to see things in a different context. To me, there’s no higher compliment than that to pay to a story. It’s complex fantasy at its best.

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We Ride the Storm

We Ride the Storm

by Devin Madson

In an Asian-inspired setting, We Ride the Storm tells the story of three different protagonists as the empire around them crumbles. All three of them are captivating in their own way and I have no doubt everyone will have their own favorite. Do you like stab-happy assassins? If so, Cassandra is for you. Do you like noble warriors and pulse-pounding battles? Then Rah is for you. What about princesses who defy stereotypes and forge their own paths? Then you want Miko. This book is so good, and that’s without even mentioning its jaw-dropping ending. Plus, its sequel is scheduled to release next January.

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The Kingdom of Liars

The Kingdom of Liars

by Nick Martell

Plus, a few additional recommendations from all of us at Get Lit! Because we just couldn't resist...

In this brilliant debut fantasy, a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth.

Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family.

In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia.

What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it.

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The Grace of Kings

The Grace of Kings

by Ken Liu

Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. 

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.

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The Gospel of Loki

The Gospel of Loki

by Joanne M. Harris

This novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods—retold from the point of view of the world’s ultimate trickster, Loki. The Gospel of Loki tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her lifelong passion for the Norse myths, New York Times bestseller Joanne M. Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.

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Nick Martell was born in Ontario, Canada before moving to the United States at age 7. He started writing novels regularly in fifth grade, and his debut novel, The Kingdom of Liars, sold when he was 23 years old. Find Nick on Twitter, @macmartell or at nickmartell.com