15 brilliant books to read if you're missing Game of Thrones
It's been almost six months since Game of Thrones came to an end.
And while fans are still in the middle of the long winter also known as the wait for The Winds of Winter, the sixth instalment in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice And Fire, there *are* still plenty of brilliant novels to check out if you're missing the world of Westeros.
So, to mark Game of Thrones' eight seasons - and the seven planned A Song of Ice And Fire novels - here are 15 books to read if you're missing Game of Thrones.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Tracker is a hunter, known throughout the thirteen kingdoms as one who has a nose - and he always works alone. But he breaks his own rule when, hired to find a lost child, he finds himself part of a group of hunters all searching for the same boy.
Each of these companions is stranger and more dangerous than the last, from a giant to a witch to a shape-shifting Leopard, and each has secrets of their own. The mismatched gang follow the boy's scent from perfumed citadels to infested rivers to the enchanted darklands and beyond, set upon at every turn by creatures intent on destroying them.
Eventually, Tracker starts to wonder: who really is this mysterious boy? Why do so many people want to stop him being found? And, most important of all, who is telling the truth and who is lying?
Circe by Madeline Miller
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals.
But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens the gods, she is banished to the island of Aiaia where she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs and taming wild beasts.
Yet a woman who stands alone will never be left in peace for long - and among her island's guests is an unexpected visitor: the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything.
Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discontent.
Even its imperial legions yearn for some respite. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners and for Tattersail, sole surviving sorceress of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the dead.
But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, still holds out - and Empress Lasseen's ambition knows no bounds. However, it seems the empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister forces gather as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand...
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
The great Norse myths, which have inspired so much of modern fiction, are dazzlingly retold by Neil Gaiman.
Tales of dwarfs and frost giants, of treasure and magic, and of Asgard, home to the gods: Odin the all-father, highest and oldest of the Aesir; his mighty son Thor, whose hammer Mjollnir makes the mountain giants tremble; Loki, wily and handsome, reliably unreliable in his lusts; and Freya, more beautiful than the sun or the moon, who spurns those who seek to control her.
Shadow And Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold-a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country's magical military elite - and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation. Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory brings the intrigue of The Wars of the Roses to vivid life through the women of the House of Lancaster and the House of York, beginning with the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.
A woman who won the love of a king and ascended to royalty by virtue of her beauty, Elizabeth fought tenaciously for the success of her family -- her daughter who would one day unite the warring dynasties, and her two sons whose eventual fate has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower.
An active player in the power struggles that surrounded her, she made hard and courageous choices, always trying to protect those whom she loved.
Wars of the Roses: Stormbird by Conn Iggulden
King Henry V - the great Lion of England - is long dead. In 1437 his gentle son comes of age and takes the throne. Frail in body and mind, King Henry VI is dependent on his supporters to run his kingdom.
Richard, Duke of York, however, believes that without a strong king England will fall. His fears seem justified as English power comes under threat from France, and discontent and rebellion spread at home.
On the counsel of his advisers, Henry marries the young princess Margaret of Anjou, in order to forge an alliance with France - but is it too late? As the storm clouds gather, King Henry and his queen are besieged abroad and at home. Who can save the throne? Who will save the kingdom?
Dune by Frank Herbert
Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.
Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe. When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert.
On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis' second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands. In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them. And his journey will change the universe.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
'I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in.
'I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.'
So begins the tale of Kvothe - currently known as Kote, the unassuming innkeepter - from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic.
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
On a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the colour of sand.
Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different - special - she names her Onyesonwu, which means 'Who fears death?' in an ancient language. It doesn't take long for Onye to understand that she is physically and socially marked by the circumstances of her conception. She is Ewu - a child of rape who is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by her community. But Onye is not the average Ewu. Even as a child, she manifests the beginnings of a remarkable and unique magic.
As she grows, so do her abilities, and during an inadvertent visit to the spirit realm, she learns something terrifying: someone powerful is trying to kill her. Desperate to elude her would-be murderer and to understand her own nature, she embarks on a journey in which she grapples with nature, tradition, history, true love, and the spiritual mysteries of her culture, and ultimately learns why she was given the name she bears: Who Fears Death.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Darrow is a Helldiver. A pioneer of Mars. Born to slave beneath the earth so that one day, future generations might live above it.
He is a Red - humankind's lowest caste. But he has something the Golds - the ruthless ruling class - will never understand.
He has a wife he worships, a family who give him strength. He has love. And when they take that from him, all that remains is revenge . . .
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty. One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime.
That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again.
Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse. But then her newly hopeful world is threatened. If civilization was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?
The Devourers by Indra Das
On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man's unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion.
So Alok agrees, at the stranger's behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins. From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old.
The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman--and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok's interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent.
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
As a general's daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. Kestrel has other ideas.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in Arin, a young slave up for auction. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him - and for a sensational price that sets the society gossips talking.
It's not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for him is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family's good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever's survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars-they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it's Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.
Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they've never seen.
A good book can do just about anything; from taking you on a wild and fantastical adventure to making you feel like an all-knowing super sleuth (if you figure out the killer twist).
But what's good to read? Each week, #Bookmarked will help you out - with an insight into the best novels hitting shelves right now and other faves that everyone needs to read at least once in their lives.