The Stormlight Archive is the flagship epic fantasy series from renowned author Brandon Sanderson. After the first entry—The Way Of Kings—was released in 2010, the series has grown in popularity.
Set in the vast, rich world of Roshar, where gigantic high storms tirade across the landscape, old magic reawakens alongside an ancient evil.
What first started as a completely standalone series, soon manifested into the most important part of Sanderson’s Cosmere shared universe.
Each entry into the series focuses on a specific character, whose layered backstory intertwines with the present.
Fans love The Stormlight Archive for its expansive world, developed hard magic systems, and tight plotting that resembles an avalanche by the end of each novel.
With four lengthy books already written, 6 more on the way, and a growing selection of supporting novellas, readers are in for a long wait before the entire series is completed.
If you love The Stormlight Archive, then you’re going to be spellbound by exciting series like The Wheel of Time, Malazan: Book Of The Fallen, The Kingkiller Chronicles, The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, and Codex Alera.
Themes In The Stormlight Archive
Leadership & Responsibility
The first noticeable theme in the Stormlight Archive is the idea of leadership and responsibility.
Two of the main characters of the first three novels—Kaladin and Dalinar—are both placed in different positions of leadership, forced to do the best they can under dire circumstances.
Through their journeys, readers are shown what it means to be a leader, and how they can do what is right for the many, even when the world is against them.
Almost all of the characters within The Stormlight Archive are forced to contend with past demons.
Often, the past and present collide, creating character arcs that see them having to overcome their shortcomings and character flaws to grow and develop as people.
Another key theme of The Stormlight Archive is the concept of power, who it should belong to, and the responsibilities that come as a result of that power.
With multiple magic systems throughout the book, as well as hierarchical feudal systems, we see characters contend with an unfair world that forces them into positions they might never have wanted.
The magic systems in Stormlight are seen as both a blessing and a curse, and as you read deeper into the stories you’ll find characters who use this power either to help others or to further their personal goals.
5 Books Like The Stormlight Archive
The Wheel Of Time is the life’s work of epic fantasy legend Robert Jordan. This gigantic series takes place over the course of 14 entries that span the latest cycle of a world that has risen and fallen many times over.
The story should be familiar to anyone interested in epic fantasy, as it follows the work of authors such as J.R.R Tolkien, pitting a group of wide-eyed villagers against an ancient evil.
The Wheel of Time has some incredible entries, and a few that fans don’t like so much, but all can agree that it is one of the most iconic works of fantasy literature ever written.
This series is especially good for fans of the Stormlight Archive, as the final three entries were written by Brandon Sanderson himself, who finished the project after the tragic death of Robert Jordan in 2007.
- Readers enjoy the diverse cast of characters.
- Reminiscent of classic epic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings.
- Some readers believe the series dips around the midpoint.
Themes Similar To The Stomlight Archive: Power, Self Development, Responsibility, Leadership, Good & Evil.
If you’re looking for something even more epic in scale than The Stormlight Archive, then you should check out Malazan, Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson.
This is a series that chronicles not just a cast of characters, but the entire history of an empire.
Malazan is often called a difficult book to get into because of its constant switching of POV characters, and its unwillingness to explicitly explain the magic system, or world history, but most readers find themselves hooked once they break through the first entry of the series.
With some of the richest worldbuilding you’ll ever find, and unforgettable characters with dark, gritty backstories, this is a series that acts as an incredible extension of some of the work Sanderson has done for the genre.
- Includes one of the richest fantasy worlds ever put on paper.
- Features a huge cast of characters of varying backgrounds.
- Tells the story of an empire, not just a set of characters.
- Widely regarded as one of the most challenging fantasy epics to get into.
- Sometimes dense prose can feel challenging if you’re used to Sanderson’s more simplistic style.
Themes Similar To The Stormlight Archive: War, Power, Violence, Self Development, Magic, and Morality.
There are few books more controversial in contemporary fantasy than The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. This controversy is mainly due to two fantastic entries, followed by a third that is yet to be published.
Vivacious readers have waited over 10 years for the next part of the life story of Kvothe—magician, hero, genius, and musical prodigy.
If you’re looking for something that focuses on a single character and tells his story in great depth, then this is going to be a great choice for you.
The first two entries—The Name Of The Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear—chronicle the early life of Kvothe as he works his way through magic school and tries to get vengeance for a terrible event that happened early on in his childhood.
With gorgeous, lyrical prose and subtle worldbuilding, this is a series that has gripped readers and will continue until its completion with the third, currently absent book, The Doors Of Stone.
- Some of the most beautiful prose in the fantasy genre.
- Hard magic systems with scientific rules, similar to Sanderson.
- The third book does not have a publication date, and fans have been waiting for some time.
- Some people don’t like the character of Kvothe, which could break the appeal for you.
Themes Similar To The Stormlight Archive: Self-development, Magic, Secrets, The Past, Talent vs. Hard work.
If you like any of the thief characters in The Stormlight Archive, then we should introduce you to the Gentlemen Bastards.
This series comes from one of the brightest modern voices in fantasy fiction, featuring a dense, renaissance-inspired world, complex characters, and dialogue that’s on par with Sanderson.
This series tells the story of Locke Lamora, a legendary thief who finds himself caught up in a series of heists that intertwine magic with complex plots.
Each entry to the series takes place in a different setting, but they are all bound by a secret at the heart of the main character that keeps readers enthralled throughout.
The only real downside to this series is that the fourth entry is yet to be released and fans have been waiting for quite some time.
- Fast, witty dialogue from relatable characters.
- Cool magic systems that keep you guessing.
- Rich worldbuilding featuring a lost civilization.
- There is not yet a fourth entry which might put some readers off.
Themes Similar To The Stormlight Archive: Friendship, Magic, Self-development, Past/Present.
If you mix pokemon with the lost roman legion, then you get Codex Alera. This is a series that shares the high-fantasy setting of The Stormlight Archive, creating a spell-binding tale of elemental magic and warring armies.
With six entries in the series, this is a much faster one to read, but it doesn’t lack any of the great worldbuilding and complex magic that you’re used to from Sanderson.
- Roman-inspired fantasy which may be appealing to some readers.
- Features a diverse magic system.
- Epic scope, even in 6 books.
- Features a fairly simplistic coming-of-age plot in the first entry.
Themes Similar To The Stormlight Archive: Power, Brotherhood, Friendship, Magic, Violence, and The Military.
So that was our look at 5 great series to read after you’re done with The Stormlight Archive.
Although there is no series that perfectly echoes the unique work of Brandon Sanderson, because he is such a big name in fantasy you can see a lot of similarities in anything contemporary.
We hope that this guide has helped you to select your next read and that you’re now more confident about what the world of fantasy has to offer. Epic fantasy is a diverse genre with lots to discover!
Frequently Asked Questions
When Is Gentlemen Bastards 4 Coming Out?
At the moment there is no known publication date for book 4, The Thorn Of Emberlain. Some readers expect it to be out in the next few years.
What Is The Cosmere?
The Cosmere is the name given to Brandon Sanderson’s shared fantasy and sci-fi universe. Most of his novels, novellas, and short stories take place within this universe.
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