Do you enjoy watching Henry Cavill swing his sword as well as his long, snowy locks? Me too! Based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski, which also inspired the video game, Netflix’s The Witcher has been grabbing a lot of attention lately. And it made me think about other fantasy book series I’d love to see on the TV screen.
A new TV show involving J.R.R. Tolkien’s works is in progress, but while we wait for that (and I admit, I can barely wait), here are more marvelous books that should be considered for the small-screen treatment.
Seth Dickinson’s Masquerade series
Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant out-Martins George R. R. Martin with its political turmoil and devious backstabbings. In it, young Baru Cormorant plays a long, long game in her desire to wreak vengeance against the empire that conquered and assimilated her island home. Book 1 is mostly Baru, while book 2 brings in more characters and widens the horizon as the geopolitical stakes rise. The right showrunner will keep the pressure on as viewers try to figure out who, if anyone, is to be trusted.
Christina Henry’s Chronicles of Alice
These dark books give Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a gritty, chilling new twist. In the first book, Alice is locked in an asylum after her adventures, and her only friend is another inmate named Hatcher, though he is quite insane, and quite violent. When the Jabberwocky comes to murder them, they flee into the underworld of the Old City, where they must deal with characters who are might initially seem familiar to Wonderland readers but are now very unfamiliar indeed. Think Peaky Blinders meets Lewis Carroll.
Evan Winter’s The Burning
While only one book is out (book 2 arrives July 2020), Evan Winter’s series already promises to be complex yet action-packed. A Xhosa-inspired fantasy novel of dragons, conquest, sorcery, and revenge, Rage of Dragons introduced readers to Tau, a young man who has everything taken from him. A deeply unequal social system propped up by warriors and bulwarked by fear of the indigenous people have kept cruel people in power for too long—and Tau is determined to tear it all to the ground… even if it means facing dragons and the gifted women who can call them. We already know that TV viewers like dragons and young men who want to stop injustice. Mix that with a bunch of battles and bad men, and you have a winner.
Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Trilogy
A fusion of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and a rousingly unpredictable D&D campaign, Gideon the Ninth was my favorite book of 2019—and I'm already looking forward to Tamsyn Muir's sequel, Harrow the Ninth. Sword-swinging and joke-busting cavalier Gideon gets on the nerves of necromancer Harrow, but Harrow needs Gideon to help her in a power grab to become the emperor’s newest advisor. As the battling Houses’ cavaliers and necromancers go to a remote island and then start getting killed in mysterious ways, it becomes clear that something very strange is afoot. The charged banter between Harrow and Gideon, as well as Gideon’s irreverent attitude, will bring viewers back to each new episode, even as the truth behind the killings is slowly revealed.
Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series
Those who enjoyed Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books or Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s novels will find a lot to love here. A world/planet-traveling Librarian who steals books of special value so they can be kept out of the hands of the Fae and dragons, Irene is on a mission to a world that’s a version of gaslight-era London. But the book she’s meant to steal has already been stolen, and someone is now dead. Irene has to use her wits, her expertise, her new intern (who is definitely concealing some secrets), and a local resident reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes to get to the bottom of the mystery. The tension between the chaos-loving Fae and the stability-loving dragons will make great on-screen drama, while no-nonsense Librarian Irene steals a bunch of books and kicks a bunch of patootie.
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time
Luckily, this series about a young man with an important destiny is already in the works from Amazon Studios. Based on the book series written by Robert Jordan and finished by Brandon Sanderson, this show is starting to get a lot of buzz though no release date has been pronounced. You can follow casting announcements and other updates by following @wotonprime on various social media accounts.
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- "The author is clearly insane" - which is why we love "Gideon the Ninth"
- 100 Science fiction and fantasy books to read in a lifetime
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