10 Best Authors like Patrick Rothfuss Known for Their Fantasy Worlds

Discover our list of the best authors like Patrick Rothfuss. Each one will take you on a fantasy exploration through their fantastic science-fiction worlds.

Patrick Rothfuss was born in Wisconsin and attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he studied English. While in school, he wrote for The Pointer, the campus newspaper. After graduation, he taught part-time at the school. In 2002, he won the Writers of the Future competition with a short story entitled “The Road to Levenshir.” 

This early success gave him a taste for writing professionally, and he started working on his first novel. In 2007 he published The Name of the Wind, which was listed in Publisher’s Weekly Books of the Year and earned him an Alex Award. Its sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, came out in 2011 and was number one on the New York Times bestseller list.

Though Rothfuss doesn’t yet have a lot of books to his name, those he has published are pretty successful due to his skill at world-building. He has been called the fantasy genre’s next “superstar” and continues to produce new books. If you enjoy the fantastic worlds he creates, check out some of the best science fiction authors.

Best Authors like Patrick Rothfuss Ranked

1. Brandon Sanderson, 1947 –

Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson

Known for his Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive series, Brandon Sanderson writes high fantasy and science fiction novels. Born in Nebraska, Sanderson learned to love high fantasy as a teenager and tried writing his stories in high school. After graduating, he attended Brigham Young University. He majored in biochemistry but took two years off to work as a missionary.

When he returned to college, Sanderson switched his major to English literature. During college, he started writing, but only some of his early novels found publishers. Elantris, his sixth novel, was his first published work. It hit bookshelves in 2005. Just one year later, the first Mistborn book, Mistborn: The Final Empire, was published. In 2007, he published Defending Elysium, which won the UPC Since Fiction Award from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and his abilities as a sci-fi writer were firmly established.

“You should try not to talk so much, friend. You’ll sound far less stupid that way.”

Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: The Final Empire
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Mistborn: The Final Empire
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Sanderson, Brandon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 544 Pages - 07/25/2006 (Publication Date) - Tor Books (Publisher)

2. Katherine Kurtz, 1944 –

Katherine Kurtz
Katherine Kurtz

Katherine Kurtz is an American fantasy writer who lives in Virginia. Born in Florida, she earned a scholarship to attend the University of Miami, where she majored in chemistry. She moved to UCLA for graduate school, where she studied medieval history. Kurtz debuted her writing career with Deryni Rising in 1970. This was the first book of a 16-book series of fantasy books written like historical fiction but within a fantasy world. While the Deryni series was her most famous, Kurtz also wrote the Templar and Adept series.

The author spent over 20 years living in Ireland and has dual citizenship, but she eventually moved back to the United States. If you like to read more sci-fi books, you might be interested in exploring the best Edgar Rice Burroughs books.

“If fine words could not convince, often the persuasion of cold steel could.”

Katherine Kurtz, Deryni Rising
Deryni Rising (A Novel of the Deryni)
  • Kurtz, Katherine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 10/28/2008 (Publication Date) - Ace (Publisher)

3. Steven Erikson, 1959 –

Steven Erikson
Steven Erikson

Steven Erikson is the pen name of Steve Rune Lundin, a Canadian author famous for the epic fantasy series entitled Malazan Book of the Fallen. The author grew up in Manitoba and lived in the UK as an adult, but now resides in Canada. He learned archaeology and anthropology as a young man but then attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

At the workshop, he wrote a thesis of short stories that earned him a grant to build the work into a novel for publication. This work was published in 1991. In 1999, he released Gardens of the Moon, the first book in the Malazan series. The book’s setting and plot came from a world created as a backdrop for a role-playing board game which turned into a movie script. When those didn’t sell, Erickson reworked the ideas into a book. It took a decade to find a publisher, but the book was a huge success. Over 3 million copies of the series have been sold since its introduction.

“Too many regrets. Lost chances—and with each one passing, the less human we all became, and the deeper into the nightmare of power we all sank.”

Steven Erikson, Gardens of the Moon
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Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1)
  • Erikson, Steven (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 666 Pages - 01/10/2005 (Publication Date) - Tor Fantasy (Publisher)

4. George R.R. Martin, 1948 –

George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin wrote the A Song of Ice and Fire series, which became the subject of Game of Thrones, the Emmy Award-winning HBO fantasy series. Martin was born in New Jersey and became an avid fan of Marvel comic books as a teen. After high school, Martin attended Northwestern University and majored in journalism. This reading greatly influenced his later writing.

As his love for comics grew, Martin became part of the earliest days of comic fandom, attending the world’s first Comic-Con in 1964. In 1965, he won an Alley Award for Best Fan Fiction for a superhero short story. In 1970 he started selling short stories professionally and won Hugo and Nebula awards for them. Later on, in 1977, he started writing full-time and published Dying of the Light, his first novel. A Game of Thrones, the first book in A Song of Fire and Ice, was published in 1996. This work made him a household name among fantasy book lovers. For more, see our guide on authors like George R.R. Martin.

“Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word.”

George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • George R. R. Martin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 835 Pages - 02/10/2024 (Publication Date) - Bantam Books (Publisher)

5. Scott Lynch, 1978 –

Scott Lynch
Scott Lynch

Scott Lynch writes award-winning fantasy books. Born in Minnesota to an all-boy family, he grew up in Minneapolis. Lynch doesn’t share much about his childhood, but he became known as a fantasy writer after publishing The Lies of Locke Lamora, his first novel, in 2006. Before that, he worked many odd jobs, including working as a prep cook and dishwasher.

In 2007, his second book, Red Seas Under Red Skies, came out, followed by The Republic of Thieves six years later. This collection became the Gentleman Bastard Sequence series. Interestingly, in addition to writing, Lynch is a trained and certified firefighter who worked for 11 years as an on-call firefighter. Are you looking for more fiction books to add to your reading list? You might want to check out our round-up of the best James Michener books!

“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”

Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Lynch, Scott (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 752 Pages - 06/27/2006 (Publication Date) - Spectra (Publisher)

6. Orson Scott Card, 1951 –

Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card has written thrillers, horror books, fantasy, Biblical fiction, and historical fiction books, but it is his science fiction that he is best known for. Ender’s Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making him the only author to win both awards two years in a row. Card attended the University of Utah and Brigham Young University and started writing science fiction novels in the 1980s. He has over 50 novels to his name and continues to write more.

In addition, he teaches English at Southern Virginia University and works as a judge of the Writers of the Future contest. Card’s first book, “Listen Mom and Dad,” Young Adults Look Back on Their Upbringing, is not a novel but rather a non-fiction book about raising children. Hot Sleep and A Planet Called Treason, both published in 1979, were his first novels, but he never appreciated them and called them the work of an amateur. Ender’s Game allowed him to make a name for himself as an author.

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.”

Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet)
  • Card, Orson Scott (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 07/15/1994 (Publication Date) - Tor Science Fiction (Publisher)

7. Lemony Snicket, 1970 –

Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is the pen name of Daniel Handler, an American author best known for the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. From a young age, he showed abilities at writing, winning the Connecticut Student Poet Prize in 1992. Under his own name, he published six works, including The Basic Eight and We Are Pirates.

In 1999 he started the A Series of Unfortunate Events with The Bad Beginning. It is a 13-book series, all published under the Lemony Snicket name. The books have sold over 65 million copies and served as the source material for a movie in 2004 and a television series from 2017 to 2019. Snicket serves as a character and the narrator in the story. After creating the character, Handler decided publishing the books under the narrator’s name would be fun, and Lemony Snicket’s legacy was born. Under the name, Snicket also published several follow-ups to the A Series of Unfortunate Events books and the four-book series All the Wrong Questions.

“In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.”

Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning
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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
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  • Lemony Snicket (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 162 Pages - 08/25/1999 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

8. Laura Gallego Garcia, 1977 –

 Laura Gallego Garcia
Laura Gallego Garcia

Laura Gallego Garcia is a Spanish author who writes fantasy novels for young adults. A resident of Valencia, she holds a degree in Hispanic Philology from the University of Valencia. Her writing abilities showed up at an early age. Garcia started writing at age 11 with the lofty goal of writing a novel. The budding author ended up writing 13 books that never found a publisher. Garcia was tenacious, however, and in 1999 she published Finis Mundi, which won the El Barco de Vapor Prize. 

The Legend of the Wandering King won the award again three years later. Today, she has 27 young adult novels and several children’s stories. These works have been translated into 16 languages, including English, German, and French. 2012 she was awarded the National Children’s and Youth Literature Award.

“You cannot submit to the desert wind. You also can’t stop a woman who has already chosen a man.”

Laura Gallego Garcia, The Legend of the Wandering King
The Legend Of The Wandering King
  • Hardcover Book
  • Garcia, Laura Gallego (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 08/01/2005 (Publication Date) - Arthur A. Levine Books (Publisher)

9. Anthony Ryan, 1970 –

Anthony Ryan
Anthony Ryan

Anthony Ryan is a Scottish writer best known for the Raven’s Shadow and Raven’s Blade books. The first, Blood Song, was published in 2013. Initially a self-published work, he moved it to Penguin Books when they offered him a three-book deal. Tower Lord and Queen of Fire came next to finish the trilogy. Ryan also wrote the Slab City Blues, Draconis Memoria, and Seven Swords series.

His most recent projects are the Covenant of Steel books, which include the 2021 novel The Pariah and the 2022 novel The Martyr. Before he started writing, Ryan worked as a researcher full-time and studied Medieval History in college. These two combined skills help him create realistic worlds in his fantasy novels. Ryan also spent some time working for the British Civil Service.

“War is always an adventure to those who’ve never seen it.”

Anthony Ryan, Blood Song
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Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, 1)
  • Ryan, Anthony (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 592 Pages - 02/03/2015 (Publication Date) - Ace (Publisher)

10. Tad Williams, 1957 –

Tad Williams
Tad Williams

Tad Williams, born Robert Paul Tad Williams, writes fantasy and science fiction books. This California native never went to college and had many interesting jobs before becoming an author. These included working for Apple, founding his multi-media company, and selling shoes.

Williams started writing in his mid-20s. He told the publishers that he needed a replacement after his original copy was destroyed to get the publishers to look at his first manuscript. That book became Tailchaser’s Song, his first novel published in 1985. In 1992 he published Child of an Ancient City, and then in 1994, Caliban’s Hour. After these books, he started writing series. Otherland is the most famous of his series, published between 1996 and 2001, beginning with City of Golden Shadow. Williams’s books are known for their complex and detailed fantasy worlds.

“But our own selves are like pearls, created by layer after layer of present laid over past until the original thing is completely hidden.”

Tad Williams, Tailchaser’s Song
Tailchaser's Song
  • Williams, Tad (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 12/01/2000 (Publication Date) - DAW (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of authors like Iain M Banks!

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