With all the success of fantasy fiction recently, we’ve all heard the ‘Game of Thrones for teens’ marketing line applied to YA epic fantasy. But which books really stand up to that marker? The truth is, most books can’t match the complete depth and breadth of A Song of Ice and Fire but many do have elements that will appeal to lovers of GRRM. Here’s my take on the best ‘Game of Thrones for teens’ books and who they’d appeal to:
If you love… Tyrion Lannister. A flawed hero who steals every scene he’s in.
You’ll want to read… HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
If you love… The Westerosi political intrigue. The battle between the houses in a rich and engrossing medieval Europe-esque world.
You’ll want to read… FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering.
If you love… the Khaleesi and the Dothraki. Swords and sorcery in a medieval Mongolian-inspired setting.
When a young warrior is wrongfully accused of treachery against the heir to the khan, he is exiled into the desert where he must learn how to survive – and clear his name.
If you love… Arya Stark. Kick-ass young female assassin on a journey all of her own.
You’ll want to read… THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J Maas
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince.
If you love… beyond the Wall. Icy intrigue and mysterious supernatural creatures lurking in the woods.
You’ll want to read… SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka. A lavish world, with a Russian-inspired setting.
If you love… Brienne. A fiercely talented female warrior trapped in a man’s world, with her own twisted sense of honour
You’ll want to read… GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
If you love… dragons. Just give me more and more dragons.
You’ll want to read… Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
The kingdom of Goredd is populated by humans and by dragons who fold themselves into a human form. Though they live alongside each other, the peace between them is uneasy. But when a member of the royal family is murdered, and the crime appears to have been committed by a dragon the peace and treaty between both worlds is seriously threatened . . .
If you want… George to explore the rest of the world he’s created and learn more about Yi Ti, the Jade Sea and Essos
You’ll want to read… PROPHECY by Ellen Oh
A superb YA epic fantasy inspired by ancient Korea. Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.
If you want… to read a fantasy that tackles a subject even George hasn’t addressed (yet)
You’ll want to read… PANTOMIME by Laura Lam
The heartachingly beautiful tale of intersex youth Micah and his struggle for identity and love, set within the confines of a magical travelling circus.