9 Best Fantasy Books Begging to Be Adapted (Instead of The Wheel of Time)

9 Best Fantasy Books Begging to Be Adapted (Instead of The Wheel of Time)
Image credit: Prime Video, DAW Books, Orbit Books, Doubleday, Miramax Books, Tor Fantasy/Keith Berdak, Eos, Harper & Row/Ron Walotsky, Penguin Putnam/Lee MacLeod, Victor Gollancz Ltd, Doubleday/Amelia S. Edwards, Doubleday/Emanuel Schongut

Legendary warriors, parallel worlds, and young magicians.

Books in which fairy tale and mythological motifs are closely intertwined, the epic coexists with the mystical, and the heroes live in an imaginary world have formed the basis of many fantasy films and TV series.

However, some of the real gems of the genre are still unnoticed by filmmakers.

1. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams

For more than two decades, Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings has been the most important fantasy adaptation. Many producers and directors want to repeat its success, and the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy could be the best basis for this.

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It tells the story of a boy named Simon who lives as an ordinary servant at the royal court. By chance, he is drawn into a larger story: the new king has made contact with dark forces and can destroy the entire country. Simon sets out on a journey to prevent this from happening.

Large-scale battles, ancient evil, deep and diverse characters, a bit of realism along with the magical atmosphere. If anything can repeat the success of The Lord of the Rings, it is Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

2. The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

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The First Law is an adult fantasy filled with dark humor, cruelty, ambiguous characters, and gray morality — no good knights and cunning villains.

The plot focuses on the adventures of several characters at once. Logen Ninefingers is a mad barbarian from the north, trying to survive in the brutal civil war of his country. The cynical Inquisitor Glokta hates everyone but still works for the good of the country. The wise and good magician Bayaz is not what he seems. All of them have to protect their homeland from the invasion of the Gurkish Empire from the south.

This story would be perfect for a Guy Ritchie movie: lots of action, charismatic characters, a bit of madness and unusual plot twists — the ideal basis for a movie by this director.

3. Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud

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In this fantasy series, we see an alternate version of England ruled by magicians who wield great power through their ability to summon and control spirits.

The story centers on a boy named Nathaniel, a young magician just learning the craft. At the very beginning of his studies, Nathaniel accidentally succeeds in subduing a powerful spirit — the genie Bartimaeus.

But the genie turns out to have an incredibly bad temper and never misses an opportunity to tease his new master. Together with Bartimaeus, Nathaniel will experience many magical adventures.

This series could easily compete with Harry Potter in terms of story quality and magical atmosphere.

4. The Black Company by Glen Cook

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The Black Company is a group of legendary mercenaries who fight on the side of the cruel Lady — the ruler of the Empire. They destroy rebels and crush any resistance, but are they really that bad?

The Black Company finds itself at the center of a tangle of intrigue woven by powerful sorcerers and military leaders. But even in such circumstances, the members of the Company remain true to their principles and manage to walk the tightrope between the two sides.

The Black Company is a true dark fantasy classic. This series would make an excellent mix of Game of Thrones and Vikings with intrigues, brutal warriors, an atmosphere of hopelessness and gloom.

5. Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb

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The series tells the story of the life of a young nobleman, Nevare Burvelle. He is the second son of his father, and by tradition he is destined for a military career. The boy enters an officer's academy, and there his life begins to change.

At night, the boy begins to have strange dreams, and soon it turns out that he has a connection with the mysterious magical people of Speck, with whom Nevare's country has been at war for a long time. The young man will play a key role in the fate of his people and the Specks, who, it turns out, hold the last vestiges of magic in this world.

The series is characterized by deep psychological insight — in addition to the adventure plot, it explores the problems of the relationship between a father and his children, the peculiarities of a rapidly changing world, the contradiction between progress and loyalty to traditions.

6. Majipoor Chronicles by Robert Silverberg

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A renowned fantasy author, Robert Silverberg has dabbled in several genres in one way or another. The author has written an impressive number of works, a significant part of which were published under one of thirty-odd pseudonyms.

Majipoor Chronicles, combining science fiction with fantasy, belong to the late period of the author's work, the most consistent and profound. The story of an exiled and amnesiac ruler, journeys across a planet of awakened magic, centuries of history — Silverberg's cycle is rich in everything a fan of epic fantasy can hold dear.

7. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

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Jim Butcher and his Dresden Files is a classic of urban fantasy. Harry Dresden, a noir detective and the only wizard listed in the Chicago phone book, comes to the aid of all victims of vampires, fairies, ghosts, and werewolves. In fact, all supernatural beings against whom the police, the mafia and others are powerless.

Each novel in this extensive series is dedicated to one of Harry's mystical cases, and the further they progress, the stranger and more exciting they become.

8. The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan

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British author Richard K. Morgan is best known as the author of Altered Carbon, a science fiction bestseller. The book has been successfully adapted by Netflix, which has added to Morgan's popularity.

After several books in the science fiction genre, the author created a trilogy called A Land Fit for Heroes. It received less attention and completely undeservedly so. Morgan managed to take traditional fantasy and make it relevant, dynamic, and deep.

In the first book, The Steel Remains, Morgan describes a fictional Middle Ages according to all the canons. It has an empire, dynasties, barbarians, magic, dragons. It is a dark and cruel place where intolerance thrives.

But instead of classical types, Morgan places flawed characters in his story. The barbarian has a sensitive and subtle soul, and the sorceress is actually a scientist and drug addict who knows how to use technology.

9. The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

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The author created a philosophical concept about the structure of the entire universe. In his books, there is an unlimited number of parallel planets, including Earth. All of them, to varying degrees, repeat the two original ones — Amber and Chaos.

The main character of the book, Corwin, is a member of the royal family. When the king of Amber, Oberon, disappears, his many sons begin to fight for the throne. As a result of the feud, Corwin loses his memory, but this does not prevent him from taking part in the intrigue.

The rights to film this series were acquired by Skybound Entertainment in 2016, and Robert Kirkman became the executive producer. The project is currently in the early stages of development.