Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time became one of the most intriguing fantasy phenomena when it started coming out in the 1990s. The series contains a total of 15 books, three of which were written by Brandon Sanderson based on Jordan’s notes, after the latter had died in 2007 with the series unfinished. It came into focus thanks to Amazon’s streaming adaptation.
In this article, we are going to concentrate on the books, as we are going to give you a list of the 20 best books like The Wheel of Time you can enjoy reading. The books are, in one way or the other, similar to The Wheel of Time franchise.
Best Books Like The Wheel of Time
The books are ranked in random order, i.e. the ranking does reflect the quality of the books themselves. We have tried to pick the best fantasy books that reflect either the genre, the style, or the spirit of The Wheel of Time so that you might enjoy them like you did the original one.
1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)
The story begins with the description of the commotion aroused in the County by the announcement of the feast to be held in honor of the 111th birthday of Bilbo Bessac, a Hobbit, and the 33rd birthday of Frodo, the little cousin that Bilbo adopted.
Bilbo’s adventures, unusual for the home and quiet people of the Hobbits, are the subject of all kinds of rumors, and some believe he hides a fabulous treasure in his house. Besides, Bilbo is surprisingly preserved for a hundred-year-old old man. But his great generosity silences the envy that his wealth and his youth might arouse, and everyone looks forward to the party because eating, drinking, and receiving gifts are the favorite occupations of the Hobbits.
Gandalf, magician and old friend of Bilbo, arrives at the Shire and will join the reception as a pyrotechnician…
2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers (1954)
The Two Towers follows the path of characters other than Frodo and Sam. The Uruk-hai seize Merry and Pippin. Boromir, who came to their aid, died under the arrows of the attackers before Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli could join him, the latter two having been distracted by side battles while Aragorn sought to follow Frodo’s trail.
After having entrusted Boromir’s remains to the Anduin river, the three survivors leave to rescue Merry and Pippin, while the Uruk-hai run towards Isengard. The track taken by the Uruk-Hai is easy to follow, but they are fast and have a significant lead…
3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King (1955)
The Return of the King follows the journey of characters other than Frodo and Sam, primarily through the eyes of Merry and Pippin.
At the very beginning of the book, Pippin arrives in Minas Tirith with Gandalf where we discover the once sparkling kingdom of Númenor but is now in decline: Gondor. The White City is preparing to undergo the greatest battle of the Third Age.
At the same time, Aragorn plunges into the Dwimorberg with his faithful friends Legolas and Gimli as well as the Dúnedain and the sons of Elrond to rally the army of the Dead to his cause, reminding his king of the oath he had taken to his ancestor Isildur. Meanwhile, the Rohirrim, with whom we find Merry, prepare to ride to the rescue of Minas Tirith…
4. George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings (1998)
Although officially king, Joffrey Baratheon sees the legitimacy of his reign in doubt as rumors claim he is the son born out of incest between Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Robb Stark declares himself “King of the North”.
Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s older brother, declared himself King of the Seven Crowns and was supported by Melisandre d’Asshai, a priestess of the god R’hllor with strange powers. His brother Renly, much more charismatic and supported by House Tyrell, also proclaims himself king despite being the youngest.
Catelyn Stark, sent by Robb to negotiate an alliance with Renly, tries in vain to reconcile the two brothers who are on the verge of tearing each other apart. But the night before the battle, a mysterious shadow kills Renly in his own tent under the eyes of Catelyn and Brienne de Torth, Renly’s bodyguard…
5. Christopher Paolini, Eragon (2002)
Eragon, a 15-year-old orphan farmer lives near the small village of Carvahall. The latter is located in Alagaësia but more precisely in the Palancar valley, in the northwest of the Empire.
While hunting on the Crest, a mountain range deemed to be evil after the evil King Galbatorix lost half his army there, he discovers in a clearing a mysterious blue stone covered with white veins.
This stone actually turns out to be an egg from which a blue dragon soon emerges. Eragon, a modest peasant, then becomes the first representative of the legendary Dragon Riders who have disappeared for over a hundred years…
6. Michael Ende, Die unendliche Geschichte (1979)
Bastien Balthazar Bux is a ten-year-old boy, short, round, shy, not very handsome, motherless, misunderstood by his father, and suffering from a small group of his class. One morning, pursued by boys from his class, he takes refuge in a bookstore.
After an altercation with the bookseller, a gruff old man who does not like children, and thanks to a moment of inattention, he steals a book that mysteriously attracts him and runs off. Sick at the idea of arriving late for class and being punished, he prefers to take refuge discreetly in an old school shed.
He settles down on a few dusty mattresses and begins reading the stolen book, a novel called The Neverending Story…
7. Neil Gaiman, Stardust (1999)
Next to the peaceful little village of Wall, England, there is a large wall with a single door leading to Fairy Land. Guarded day and night by the villagers, this gate only opens every nine years on the occasion of the Fairy Fair, a magical market, which is held just across and near the wall.
Tristan Thorn, a young villager whose mother comes from precisely this magical land, has fallen in love with a young girl, Victoria Forester. The latter, for the price of a kiss, enjoins him to cross the wall in order to bring back a shooting star that has fallen in the heart of the Land of the Fairies.
Love knowing no bounds, Tristan sets out in search of the star, which is not a mere rock, but a charming maiden also coveted by malicious creatures for its magical properties…
8. C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
During World War II (Battle of Britain), to escape the bombardments of London, four children (Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy Pevensie) are sent by their parents to the vast and ancient mansion of old Professor Kirke.
One afternoon, while the children are exploring the house, Lucy – the youngest – discovers a mysterious cupboard giving access to another world. This cabinet was made by Professor Kirke, in his childhood, with the wood of a magic apple tree from the fairy world of Narnia…
9. George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (1996)
On the continent of Westeros, Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell is the lord of the Northern Province of the Kingdom of the Seven Crowns, heir to a long line of Stark, harsh as the climate of his lands, but just and respected. Fifteen years earlier, he helped his childhood friend Robert Baratheon topple Mad King Aerys II Targaryen.
Since then, Robert has reigned over the Seven Crowns. After the death of Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King (the most important position in the kingdom, after the king himself), King Robert goes to the North to entrust this charge to Eddard.
At first unenthusiastic, he is convinced when his wife Catelyn receives a coded message from his sister Lysa, the widow of Jon Arryn, in which the latter claims that her husband died murdered by the Lannisters, the family of Queen Cersei, wife of the king…
10. Philip Pullman, Northern Lights (1995)
Lyra is an eleven-year-old girl who grew up in Oxford, England. Lyra’s daimon is called Pantalaimon. Lyra is a lively and bright girl who spends her time in the city with Roger Parslow, a college cook assistant, and gyptian children, nomads who live in boats and move on the water.
However, her carefree life changes when she one day spies on a meeting between Jordan’s professors and Lord Asriel, her uncle, about a mysterious entity known as Dust; during the discussion Lord Asriel manages to obtain funding from the College for a scientific expedition to the Arctic region, despite an assassination attempt…
11. Andrzej Sapkowski, Chrzest ognia (1996)
After the dramatic events of the Isle of Thanedd, Triss Merigold took Geralt to the forest of Brokilon, where the healers of the Dryads rescued the witcher, who was seriously injured after his encounter with the wizard Vilgefortz of Roggeveen.
Geralt faces a long hospital stay, during which he meets the archer Maria Barring, known as Milva, who for months has been helping the Scoia’tael commandos to escape the clutches of the men’s militias. Even persuaded by Eithné, the queen of the Dryads, Milva brings the witcher news about the outside world and in particular about the fate of her protégé, Ciri…
12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937)
Hobbit Bilbo Baggins leads a peaceful existence in his Bag End hole until he crosses paths with magician Gandalf. The next day, he was surprised to see not only Gandalf, but also a company of thirteen dwarfs led by Thorin Oakenshield and made up of Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oïn, Gloïn, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur, who come to have tea at his place.
The company is on their way to Lonely Mountain, where they hope to defeat the dragon Smaug, who once dispossessed the dwarves of their kingdom and their treasures. However, to complete their plans, they need an expert burglar, and Gandalf recommended Bilbo to them. He is more than reluctant to go on an adventure but ends up accompanying the troop…
13. George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows (2005)
Utter chaos reigns in the Seven Crowns of Westeros, whose official monarch is now young Tommen Baratheon. In the Iron Islands, the two brothers and the daughter of the late Balon Greyjoy dispute his succession, while in Dorne, only the legendary prudence of Prince Doran Martell allows the country not to go to war against the Lannisters and the Tyrells.
Of the five proclaimed kings who contested for the Throne at the start of the war, namely Joffrey, Renly and Stannis Baratheon, Robb Stark (“King of the North”) and Balon Greyjoy (“King of the Iron Islands”), only one, Stannis Baratheon, is still alive but has chosen to join the Wall at the head of his reduced forces…
14. Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife (1997)
Will Parry, a young boy living in contemporary Oxford, is only 12 years old, but he already has the responsibilities of an adult, as he has to take care of his mother, unstable of mind following the disappearance of her husband, John Parry, who disappeared during an expedition to the North. To protect his mother, however, Will accidentally kills a man, who sneaks into the house to steal some letters from his father.
Will makes an astonishing discovery as he walks through his city: a window in the air, almost invisible to the eye, opening onto a world totally different from his. Will goes through the window and finds himself in Cittagazze, where he meets Lyra Belacqua and Pantalaimon, who ended up in that same world from yet another world, across the bridge built by Lord Asriel while investigating the Dust…
15. Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic (1983)
Twoflower, an Agatean citizen, disembarks in Ankh-Morpork for sightseeing. He takes the failed mage Rincewind as his guide. The Agatean Empire conceals large quantities of gold, which is only of very low value.
Twoflower carries on him and in his Magic Baggage all the gold he has been able to save during his life, to pay the expenses of his journey, but all this gold arouses the envy of the “enterprising” citizens of Ankh-Morpork (thieves, murderers).
Twoflower indirectly causes the fire in the city, which the two accomplices are forced to flee. But they are also unknowingly the pawns of a board game against which the gods of the Discworld face each other, in particular the Lady (representing luck in a million) and Fate…
16. Andrzej Sapkowski, Krew elfów (1994)
Young Princess Ciri is the sole survivor of the Kingdom of Cintra. As she tries to flee the capital, she crosses paths with Geralt of Rivia, who takes her under his wing and leads her to Kaer Morhen, the Witcher’s lair. Initiated in the magical arts, Ciri reveals her true nature and the extent of her powers, which attract much envy: a mysterious mage is ready to face the Witcher in order to reach his protégé
17. Stephen King, The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)
At the beginning of the story, Roland of Gilead, the last gunslinger in a changing world, walks through a blinding wasteland. He follows in the footsteps of a mysterious man in black, who appears to be a miracle worker.
Roland’s world, similar to the American West, is located in a parallel Universe, which seems to have suffered a great catastrophe. There are some cultural vestiges of our world, such as the song Hey Jude, a nursery rhyme, bible excerpts, as well as technological vestiges.
The hunt has been going on for years, maybe twenty years … but the real object of Roland’s quest is the Dark Tower, the center of all universes and the target of the Crimson King’s ire…
18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion (1977)
After a cosmogonic introduction (“Ainulindalë”) then a presentation of the Valar, the powers which govern the world (“Valaquenta”), the heart of the work is constituted by the “Quenta Silmarillion”, a long account of the misfortunes and exploits of the Elves until ‘at the fall of Morgoth, the first Dark Lord.
The title of this section, and of the entire book, comes from the Silmarils, three gems with fabulous powers that are the catalyst of history. The remainder of the book focuses on the glory and fall of the Men of the Isle of Númenor in the Second Age (“Akallabêth”), and the history of Middle Earth up to the War of the Ring and after (“Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age”).
19. Terry Pratchett, Pyramids (1989)
Teppic graduated from the Assassins Guild of Ankh-Morpork and returned to his country, the kingdom of Jolhimome, to succeed his father, the late Pharaoh.
The ghost of his father tries to make him understand that it is necessary to stop the construction of the pyramids, which are ruining the country, but under the influence of the high priest Dios, Teppic has the largest pyramid ever built, which destabilizes time and the dimensions…
20. Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass (2000)
Lyra Belacqua is kept asleep in a cave by her mother Marisa Coulter, to protect her from the Magisterum, who, knowing the crucial role of the girl for the destiny of humanity, hires Father Gomez to find and kill her. Meanwhile Mary Malone, the scientist, follows the order given to her by the Shadows, which is to leave her world; through a window, therefore, Mary too begins to travel to the various worlds, and she knows the mulefa. Mary stays with them and then builds the amber telescope of the title, an instrument with which it is possible to observe the particles of Dust…