I currently own and re-read many of my childhood favorite fantasy tales. Some, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, stand the test of time as fantasy, but have taken on a much different meaning as I now understand the heavy religious imagery, which I didn’t at the time I originally read it. I can’t really say if it makes the book better or worse. I’m a different person than I was when I read them the first time around and I still enjoy them.
The Magicians, by Lev Grossman is more than just Harry Potter Goes to College, although that is an apt description. I can’t imagine any current or future novel set in a magical school not being compared to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter in some way. She may not have created the genre, but she wrote such an impactful series of books that Harry Potter will be the touchstone to which all others in the genre are compared. Much like LOTR is generally held as the standard for quest style fantasy fiction.
There are a number of people making suggestions for what you might read to fill the void while George R.R. Martin continues to turn out his Game of Thrones series of books. For the suggestions below, anyone who reads fantasy has probably already encountered these. I did try to go back a few years (to keep with the theme of this blog), to find some possibly forgotten gems. However, if GOT is your first foray into fantasy, then the books below are of a similar genre. I am not going to recommend that you read The Lord of The Rings. That recommendation would be from people who think all fantasy is the same thing. Certainly, LOTR is the master of its genre and I’d encourage you to read it whether or not you are a fan of GOT. Although the movie version has definite parallels to GOT, the books are really of a different mindset and more focused on the development of smaller characters than a larger dynastic succession.
Joe Abercrombie continues the tale of Logen Ninefingers and his quest to be a better man. Although this may look to be a stand alone novel, you truly need to have read The First Law Trilogy (for the history of Logen and Nicomo Cosca) and Best Served Cold for more on Cosca as well as the origins of Caul Shivers.