10 Best George R.R. Martin Books: More Wonders From The Mind Behind Game of Thrones

Dive deeper into A Song of Ice and Fire and other magnificent worlds with the best George R.R. Martin books.

The following list unites the best George R.R. Martin books, offering fans of fantasy and science fiction some truly next-level sagas.

Born in 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey, George R.R. Martin began his writing career young, entertaining neighborhood friends with monster stories. An avid comic book fan, he sold his first story at the age of 21 and encouraged by his early success, continued to write, going on to study journalism at Northwestern University.

Martin’s first book, Dying of the Light, was published in 1977. A few years later, he devoted himself to writing full-time, publishing novels, short stories, and screenplays, and editing countless anthologies and collections.

There was part of me that wanted to see the world and travel to distant places, but I could only do it in my imagination, so I read ferociously and imagined things.”

George R.R. Martin

Martin is best known for his series A Song of Ice and Fire, the first book of which (A Game of Thrones) was published in 1996, and fans eagerly await the next installment due soon (we hope!).

In 2011, Martin gained worldwide recognition with the airing of the first episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, an adaptation of the series A Song of Ice and Fire. The show increased in popularity over time, bolstering the cult following for the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Martin has since been bestowed the title of “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine.

George R.R. Martin
He discovered his passion for writing at an early age by entertaining his neighborhood friends with captivating monster stories

Martin’s writing style has captivated millions of readers worldwide. His ability to fabricate complex stories, execute rapid characterization, and deliver an almost obsessive attention to detail is mesmerizing.

If you are new to this author, you are in for a treat! However, if he is already on your reading list, check out our list of authors like George R.R. Martin for your next literary adventure.

Best George R.R. Martin Books Ranked

1. A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones
The first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series has sold around 90 million copies worldwide as of 2024

No list of George R.R. Martin’s best works could avoid the favored A Song of Ice and Fire series. Published as far back as 1996, A Game of Thrones is the first book of the series and remained under the radar for many years.

Set in a feudal society corresponding to the Medieval era – add dragons, dire wolves, undead armies, and magic casters – the book famously follows the members of House Stark as political machinations unravel a seemingly peaceful realm. The head of the family, Eddard Stark, must travel south to answer the King’s call following the death of his right-hand man.

A Song of Ice and Fire cements Martin’s reputation as on par with Tolkien’s in the fantasy genre, which is a monumental achievement. A Game of Thrones is the first step in a wondrous world that captivated tens of millions worldwide and is a mandatory fantasy for all.

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

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:12 am GMT

2. A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings
The action in the book largely corresponds to the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones

A Clash of Kings, the second part of A Song of Ice and Fire, was the first book in the now-acclaimed series to reach The New York Times bestseller list back in 2000. The novel is a worthy follow-on to A Game of Thrones, where Martin invites the readers to discover Westeros and Essos, the exotic large continent across the Narrow Sea.

The peace of Westeros is broken when the Iron Throne is left vacant by the king’s death. Split into six warring factions, the noble houses of the realm battle for power, and old enmities are revived with a vengeance. Eddard Stark’s children are separated and forced to govern their own survival.

Beautifully written, A Clash of Kings is another magnificent installment in A Song of Ice and Fire, and even those who have religiously watched and rewatched the show will discover exquisite details in a familiar story.

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:11 am GMT

3. A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords
A Storm of Swords is the third part of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

All books from the A Song of Ice and Fire saga are impossible to put down, and the third part of the series does not disappoint. Bloody, intense, and rich in detail, A Storm of Swords is fantasy at its best.

The new king is only a boy, and war still rages in Westeros. The dead king’s brother rises as a new contender for the throne, aided by the Red Witch, while House Stark tightens its grip on the North of the kingdom. Meanwhile, Daenerys of the House Targaryen holds onto the three dragons born out of fire while surrounded by strangers. 

“The gods give each of us our little gifts and talents, and it is meant for us to use them, my aunt always says. Any act can be a prayer, if done as well as we are able.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:11 am GMT

4. A Dance With Dragons

A Dance With Dragons
The book is the latest in the saga until The Winds of Winter finally sees the publication

Book five of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons, sees the Seven Kingdoms left desolate by bloody conflict. Jon Snow, now Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, braces to resist the army of the dead from atop the ice-covered Wall. Meanwhile, Daenerys, still far from Westeros, has to rely on her wit and dragons to survive.

Immeasurably complex and detailed, the world created in A Song of Ice and Fire feels tangible. The characters that populate it shift from killers to heroes and heroes to tyrants. A Dance with Dragons is relentless in storytelling, and you will find yourself awaiting the next installment with feverish anticipation.

“Knowledge is a weapon, Jon. Arm yourself well before you ride forth to battle.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:11 am GMT

5. Fire & Blood

Fire & Blood
Fire & Blood inspired the popular TV show House of the Dragon

Set three hundred years before A Game of Thrones, Fire & Blood tells the history of the House Targaryen, the last dragonlords that became the ruling dynasty of Westeros. The book begins with Aegon the Conqueror and spans roughly 150 years, covering conquests, court plots, civil wars, and incest.

A Song of Ice and Fire gets down and dirty in the streets of King’s Landing, among pleasure houses, battlefields, and up to the Iron Throne. Fire & Blood remains up on high, surveying the history of Westeros as we would that of medieval kingdoms. The reader is allowed to traverse the decades quickly, watching kings take up their place on the Iron Throne and bloody battles follow one another.

Intoxicating and wonderfully written, Fire & Blood makes George R.R. Martin’s world complete, but can also be read by those wholly ignorant of A Song of Ice and Fire.

“Of the five dragons who had flown with Aenar the Exile from Valyria, only one survived to Aegon’s day: the great beast called Balerion, the Black Dread.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:12 am GMT

6. Hunter’s Run

Hunter’s Run
In January 2023, it was announced that a film adaptation of the novel was in the works

Aside from his achievements in fantasy, George R.R. Martin is also an established name in science fiction. In Hunter’s Run, written with Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham and published in 2008, he tells the story of a murder.

For reasons that escape his memory, Ramon Espejo kills a diplomat during a bar brawl and is forced to run to evade capture. One day, however, an accidental discovery sets him on a strange path that will shape the universe.

Written by three veterans of science fiction, Hunter’s Run was unlikely to disappoint. Centered on a down-on-his-luck, flawed main character, the story is surprisingly amusing and keeps readers on edge. The voices of the three authors blend well, creating something different from the typical prose of each of them and earning Hunter’s Run a place on our list.

“For a moment, he was relaxed and mindless, drifting peacefully, and then his identity returned to him lazily, like an unwanted afterthought.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:07 am GMT

7. Windhaven

There is also a graphic novel adaptation of the book

Windhaven, co-written with Lisa Tuttle, offers a world of remote islands connected by brave flyers who cross the oceans and the storms to bring news. Maris, the daughter of a fisherman, wants to be one of the flyers, but the positions are inherited and not earned. After many struggles, Maris succeeds – but finds herself witnessing the sparks of a revolution.

Strong characters are central to Martin’s stories, and Maris is certainly a perfect example of this. Believable, relatable, and brave, she becomes the embodiment of the fact that change is inevitable and you can’t keep a determined soul down.

“For as long as this song is sung they’ll know about you – the girl who wanted wings so much she changed the world.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:10 am GMT

8. Fevre Dream

Fevre Dream
The book can be best described as a vampire novel

The year is 1857. Riverboat captain Abner Marsh is hired by a European pale aristocrat to cross the Mississippi River on the Fevre Dream ship. In dire need of money, he accepts but soon realizes that the journey is not what he expected.

Martin set out to combine Bram Stoker and Mark Twain in Fevre Dream. Even when most of the action takes place on a ship, Martin’s worldbuilding is unparalleled. Life on a steamer ship is portrayed in great detail, and its luxury is tangible through the pages.

Atmospheric and beautifully written, Fevre Dream is an unexpected vampire story from the creator of A Song of Ice and Fire.

“Beneath it his skin was milky white, serene and unlined, ready to begin anew, ready for the world to write upon it.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:11 am GMT

9. Dying of the Light 

Dying of the Light
The Los Angeles Times called the book “Wild West in outer space”

Dirk t’Larien comes to Worlorn in search of a lost love, but he finds her claimed by another man, on a dying, dark planet, in need of protection. The hidden plots and secrets of this elaborate society prevent him from having a clear picture, and his choices are anything but easy.

Love, revenge, and honor are themes in Martin’s Dying of the Light. You will find yourself unable to put the book down, eager to see the entire story to its conclusion. In Martin’s trademark style, the characters are neither your standard do-gooders nor simplistic antagonists set on mindless destruction.

The creatively built environments, convincing characters, and adventure make Dying of the Light a worthy read. Moreover, you do not need to have read any of Martin’s past work to enjoy it.

“Give a thing a name and it will somehow come to be.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:11 am GMT

10. Tuf Voyaging: A Novel

Tuf Voyaging: A Novel
The novel contains seven separate stories featuring space trader Haviland Tuf

Tuf Voyaging, published in 2013, is a collection of short stories reunited by their main character, unsuccessful trader Haviland Tuf. Through a series of events, Tuf becomes the pilot of one of the most powerful ships that ever existed, with the resources to destroy entire planets – or endow them with thriving life.

Uniquely equipped and given almost godlike powers, Tuf cruises the galaxy, intent on helping humanity’s failing colonies. Overpopulation, dictatorial leaders, and waves of alien monsters are only some of the issues that Martin’s likable hero has to deal with.

Tuf Voyaging is good, accessible sci-fi, plain and simple, and can be read off and on, given its structure consisting of short stories. It also showcases Martin’s extraordinary ability as a writer to give life to credible characters and place them at the center of stories with unexpected bends and twists.

“Monsters are entirely mythological, sir, like spirits, werebeasts, and competent bureaucrats.”

George R.R. Martin
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02/19/2024 04:11 am GMT

We have several other listicles you may like to read. Check out our roundups of the best fantasy authors and the best science fiction authors next.


  • Radu has been writing for a decade as a copywriter, journalist, and academic writer. He was nominated for the European Press Prize in 2019 and authored a book on campaign finance and corporate personhood in the United States. Books are Radu’s passion, particularly science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction. Check out his YouTube channel.