We are in the midst of the Golden Age of fantasy literature and people are eagerly looking for more books like the Name of the Wind. There is a rising demand for stylized prose, puns, lengthy tomes offering the reader a long, rich, and deeply immersive experience, and clever, even unreliable narrators.
As a toiling humanist, I find the emergence of this audience to be delightfully refreshing, especially because my books are like the Name of the Wind. Though, to be fair, they are fraught with a little more magic and mayhem, since they are concerned with the destruction of the world.
Patrick Rothfuss, and the publisher that took the risk to print and disseminate his work, are to be enthusiastically thanked for raising the level of awareness for this kind of fantasy novel.
What makes a book like The Name of the Wind?
I combed through thousands of Amazon and Goodreads reviews to see if I could discover the essence of what resonated with the readers of this book, and found the following uniting themes and characteristics.
- A well narrated tale
- Interesting characters
- Amazing descriptions of the world
- A unique and complex magical system
- A first person narrative
Many of these are not surprising, and in fact would conform with what most people would probably want in any story they decided to read.
Who Wants to Read Books Like the Name of the Wind?
The astute consumers of fantasy literature, one presumes. They are often the same who have read books like the Lies of Locke Lamora and books like Game of Thrones. If you are looking for books like The Name of the Wind to read, it is very likely that:
- You own more than one dictionary, and the one that is continually expanding rests between your ears. It also serves as a portal to new and imaginative lands.
- You enjoy slow-burn fantasy.
- You are more likely to say fantasy novel rather than the more quotidian fantasy book.
7 Fantasy Books Similar to The Name of the Wind That You Overlooked
For the sake of comprehensiveness, I’ve included books like the Name of the Wind that are frequently mentioned and recommended across the various localities on the Internet. You probably already know of these, and they might be sitting somewhere in your to read list.
The Farseer Trilogy
These books, penned by Robin Hobb, have a lot in common with Rothfuss’s tome (and she reviewed The Name of the Wind on Amazon, no less). So this would be books such as:
Lies of Locke Lamora
Lynch’s characters are enjoyably snappy and could run circles around any character in Rothfuss’s novel. Readers of the Name of the Wind would enjoy the attention Lynch dedicates to constructing witty observations, conversations that are like an espresso filled fencing match, and well-wrought narration throughout.
The Prince of Nothing & Aspect-Emperor
The Prince of Nothing and the Aspect-Emperor series of books by R. Scott Bakker. Bakker writes on his blog that the only thing he is interested in subverting is simplicity (making him a perfect fit for reader looking for complex and lyrical fantasy books). I think all the readers who enjoyed books like The Name of the Wind will find something to enjoy in the works of R. Scott Bakker. He creates complex fantasy stuffed with equally complex characters and a world “deep enough for archaeological digs.”
First Law Series
Though this is often recommended, to my mind, readers who enjoyed Rothfuss’s novel may or may not really be enthralled by Joe Abercrombie. Abercrombie is pacey, witty, darkly skeptical, and his scenery is barren. Rothfuss is lyrical, demonstrative, and ironic but is not a skeptic, is not witty, and flushes his world with colors that are wholly impossible to create in a rough world (or probably universe at this point) like those found in Abercrombie’s texts. What the two have in common is their modernity, and that is why I think that those readers who enjoyed The Name of the Wind would also enjoy these books.
The Magician & The Magician King
While Lev Grossman’s world isn’t as deeply built as Rothfuss’s (staying true and anchored to its postmodern heritage), it has all the learned gestures one would expect in a modern fantasy text.
Overfull with allusions to literature and pop-culture, this book is like playing AD&D with some grad students from Yale. The characters are flawed, psychologically complex, and all gifted sorcerers and witches. Would Kvothe have gotten into the Physical Kids Club? Possibly, but I think he might have hung out with Penny a lot.
Read All of These?
If you have read all of these books like the name of the wind, then you might consider reading my novel which is beautiful like starlight and wild as summer lightning.