This is a magical time of year, when Sunday nights bring new episodes of HBO’s explosive hit fantasy show, Game of Thrones, and the world stands still. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, the cruelest moment of your life is when the credits start rolling. How will you make it to next week, let alone survive the scary ten-month doldrums between seasons? Fortunately, if you love YA fantasy, there are plenty of Game of Thrones-esque novels to tear into while you wait for the next episode or season to arrive. Feast your eyes on these epic go-to fantasies with fearless female protagonists, warring kingdoms, and multiple perspectives.
The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes, is a great novel to start with for YA fantasy similar to Game of Thrones. The characters in Rhodes’ fantasy world compete with rival families for supremacy in the midst of an impending shakeup with magic. There are different class systems, a heavy dose of moral ambiguity, a good deal of romance, ancient mystical foes, and plenty of take-no-prisoners, fierce young women. If your favorite part of Game of Thrones is how it features so many different characters, the Falling Kingdoms novels will be a satisfying read since they alternate points of view.
Kristin Cashore’s Graceling Realm trilogy focuses on powerful young women with each novel featuring a different heroine. Start with Graceling, which details the saga of Katsa, a lethal assassin, and introduces a complex world in which competing powers seek to knock the powers that be off the throne. Cashore’s heroines are remarkably complex, with all the same shades of confidence and doubt as Daenerys from Game of Thrones. Like Daenerys and other heroines, the young women in the Graceling Realm trilogy have to make choices about what to sacrifice: people, ambitions, or the person they love the most.
The Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch takes the seasonal differences from Game of Thrones—“Winter is coming,” etc.—and applies it to a fantasy land where four warring factions based around the seasons fight for power. One young woman, Meira, from the Kingdom of Winter, has the potential to return magic to her land, which has been enslaved for years. In love with her best friend back home and trained as a warrior, Meira is conflicted about her role in the revolution. For those who love the complex politics in Westeros and the worldbuilding among many cultures in the Seven Kingdoms, Snow Like Ashes and its follow-up, Ice Like Fire are awesome picks to feed your Game of Thrones obsession. The third novel will be released in September 2016.
Garth Nix’s Abhorsen all begins when our heroine, Sabriel, leaves the academy where she is training to be a magician and has to go find her father, who has disappeared in the Old Kingdom. Subsequent novels take place in the Old Kingdom, a place where morally ambiguous decisions are made and a growing force of ancient evil (White Walkers!) are about to upend peace. Sounds like we need Jon Snow! These big, epic novels will keep you busy reading while you wait for another Game of Thrones episode or season. The next novel in the series comes out in October 2016.