Top Books Like Harry Potter

Although few can compare to the life-changing tales told at Hogwarts, there are many books like Harry Potter that can thrill you. The fantasy genre is packed with novels featuring everything from wizards and faeries to vampires and sea monsters. Books like Harry Potter wrap readers into the fight of good versus evil while telling coming-of-age stories about friendship, family, and love. Below we’ve created a magical list of 50 great books like Harry Potter that you’ll enjoy.

About Great Books

Here are some recommended books in the Southfield Public Library catalog with commentary by the article’s writer. If you don’t see a copy available, contact a librarian to place an item on hold for you!

Ender's Game
Card, Orson Scott
With the government bracing for a hostile alien attack, child geniuses are bred to participate in a rigorous soldier training program. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is one chosen to save the world from destruction. In Battle School, Ender’s brilliance shines through as he wins mock battles against his bullying classmates. Ender is abruptly promoted to Salamander Army where he leads his Launchies to fight the buggers.
Check out the movie adaptation: Ender's Game
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Black Swan Green
Mitchell, David
As one of the coming-of-age books like Harry Potter,this story tracks one year in the life of a 13-year-old boy, Jason Taylor, from Worcestershire. Though he’s bullied by Grant Burch for stammering, Jason is a promising young writer publishing poems under the covert alias “Eliot Bolivar.” From first kisses to first cigarettes and first deaths, the story explores Jason’s perspective on growing up in Cold War England.
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The Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series, Book 1
Riordan, Rick
This pentalogy follows the adventures of Percy Jackson, a half-blood child of Poseidon born to Titan Rhea. After learning of his ancestry, Percy sets out on a riveting quest to reach the gates of the Underworld to prevent a catastrophic war. Each book is based on a different Greek hero: Perseus, Odysseus, Hercules, Theseus, and Achilles. Fans of Harry Potter will also enjoy the sequel, The Heroes of Olympus, series.
Check out the movie adaptations: The Lightning Thief & The Sea of Monsters
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A Wizard of Earthsea
The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1
Le Guin, Ursula K.
In the fictional land of Earthsea, this story is about a young mage named Ged who discovers his powers will protecting his village from Kargish invaders. Ged then becomes the apprentice of Ogion the Silent, who encourages him to enroll at a wizardry school similar to Hogwarts. In a heated rivalry with Jasper, Ged accidently casts a spell that goes awry. He must now battle evil shadow creatures that crossed death’s threshold.
Check out the movie adaptation: Tales from Earthsea
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Graceling
The Graceling Realm Series, Book 1
Cashore, Kristin
Katsa, King Randa’s brilliant young niece, lives in a mythical world where selected people are given a special talent called a Grace. Katsa’s Grace is believed to be fighting. King Randa begins using Katsa to torture and kill all of his adversaries. After befriending Prince Po, Katsa journeys to find the kidnappers of Tealiff, Po’s grandfather. During this mortally dangerous mission, Katsa discovers her true Grace of survival.
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Other Voices, Other Rooms
Capote, Truman
After his mother’s death, the lonely 13-year-old Joel Harrison Knox is sent to live with his father at Skully’s Landing in New Orleans. Upon his arrival, Joel is welcomed by his morose stepmother Amy, eccentric cousin Randolph, and a defiant tomboy named Idabel. His father remains noticeably absent until it’s revealed Edward has been paralyzed. The story follows his enlightening journey of finding the love and approval he’s dreamed of.
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Finnikin of the Rock
The Lumatere Chronicles, Book 1
Marchetta, Melina
Melina Marchetta’s The Lumatere Chronicles begins with the story of Finnikin, an only child who witnessed the royal family of Lumatere brutally murdered. A curse is placed on the town’s walls, leaving those who escaped exiled and dying in fever camps. Finnikin joins forces with Evanjalin, a young novice who sees visions of a surviving royal throne. The duo journeys to find Prince Balthazar and reclaim control of Lumatere.
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Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Mistborn Series, Book 1
Sanderson, Brandon
This fantasy, action-packed trilogy takes place in the Final Empire of Scadrial. Over 1,000 years ago, the immortal Lord Ruler claimed divine power and dominated the Skaa. Trapped in a hellish prison, Kelsier uses his superhuman Mistborn powers and partners with a street urchin named Vin to destroy the Lord Ruler. The two begin a revolt against oppression, conniving nobleman, and exotic mutants by infiltrating the Great Houses’ society.
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A Game of Thrones
A Song of Ice and Fire Series, Book 1
Martin, George R. R.
Known for being adapted into the HBO hit Game of Thrones, this modern fantasy series takes place in the fictional land of Westeros. The books weave together a dynastic war fought between several prominent families, including the Lannisters. A growing threat is faced as the supernatural Others along the northern border. Daenerys Targaryen, the King’s exiled daughter, becomes a central character in her quest to assume the Iron Throne.
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Warbreaker
Sanderson, Brandon
As another of the books like Harry Potter by Brandon Sanderson, this stand-alone novel portrays two Idrian princesses Vivenna and Siri. Vivenna is forced to marry Susbron the God King of the rival country Hallandren through treaty. By a twist of fate, Siri is sent instead and Vivenna strives to rescue her. One of her father’s spies, Lemex, bequeaths his BioChromatic Breath to her. Like magic, it helps Vivenna perform all manner of miracles and mischief.
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A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, Book 1
L'Engle, Madeline
A classic since 1962, this novel by Madelein L’Engle tells the story of 13-year-old Meg Murry and her five-year-old child prodigy brother Charles Wallace. After rumors swirl that their scientist father ran off on their mother, the siblings begin a perilous journey to find him. Meg, Charles Wallace, and their new friend Calvin travel through space and battle the evil power that’s darkening the cosmos.
Check out the movie adaptation: A Wrinkle in Time
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The Time Machine
Wells, H. G.
Written in 1895, The Time Machine is generally credited as the first science fiction novel that popularized time travel. The book shares the narrative of a nameless Time Traveller from Victorian England who invents a machine to hurtle into the year 802,701. Here he meets the Eloi, a society of fluttery, child-like people. Despite the idyllic exterior, Time Traveller finds that dark forces are lurking underground as the ape-like Morlocks prepare to attack.
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Neverwhere
Gaiman, Neil
Richard Mayhew is a regular, young businessman with a dull job in London, England. One day, he comes across a girl, named Door, bleeding on the sidewalk and his life forever changes. Richard is thrust into a dark shadow world existing in an underground labyrinth of sewer canals. In London Below, Richard joins with Hunter and the Marquis of Carabas to help Door find the assassins who murdered her family.
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The Scorpio Races
Stiefvater, Maggie
Based on the legend of eich uise, The Scorpio Races takes place on the fictional island of Thisby. Every November, water horses breach the surface of the ocean and gallop along the beach. The horses are captured by mankind for use in a thrilling, deadly race. Sean Kendrick, a four-time race champion, is going head-to-head with newcomer Kate “Puck” Connolly. But only one can cross the finish line.
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The Neverending Story
Ende, Michael
Bastian Balthazar Bux is a young boy struggling to fit in and being neglected by his father. After escaping bullies, Bastian bursts into an antique book store and finds The Neverending Story. The tale transports Bastian to the magical land of Fantastica, ruled by a benevolent, child-like Empress. Similar to other books like Harry Potter, Bastian’s adventure includes encounters with dragons, giants, and monsters as he tries to save Fantastica.
Check out the movie adaptation: The Neverending Story
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The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2
Lewis, C. S.
Having sold over 100 million copies worldwide, The Chronicles of Narnia is a popular series of seven fantasy novels. The stories follow the four Pevensie siblings: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who are living in London during World War II. After discovering a magical wardrobe, the children step into the fictional realm of Narnia. With the help of the lion Aslan, the Pevensies take a perilous journey to save Narnia from the White Witch.
Check out the Disney/Walden Media movie adaptations: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
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Howl's Moving Castle
Jones, Diana Wynne
In the magical kingdom of Ingary, it’s believed that the eldest of three is destined for great misfortune. Sophie Hatter has resigned herself to this dull life. However, Sophie unwittingly attracts attention from the Witch of the Waste. She’s placed under a spell that turns her into an old, wrinkly woman. Sophie’s only hope is to find the ever-moving Howl’s Castle and meet the Witch head-on.
Check out the anime adaptation: Howl's Moving Castle
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The Amulet of Samarkand
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1
Stroud, Jonathan
As the first in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, this story introduces Nathaniel, a young magician’s apprentice learning his wizardry ways. When the hotshot wizard named Simon Lovelace humiliates Nathaniel before his peers, he strives for revenge. Nathaniel musters of all his strength and summons the 5,000-year old djinni Bartimaeus. He plunges into a dark, dangerous quest to steal the Amulet of Samarkand and prove his power to Lovelace.
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The Mists of Avalon
Bradley, Marion Zimmer
Unlike traditional male-centered Arthurian legends, The Mists of Avalon uses a female perspective to tell the story of the women who influence the Knights of the Round Table. Morgaine, the half-sister of King Arthur and priestess of Avalon, is the main character. She’s waging a war to save her pagan Celtic homeland from the influence of Christianity. Morgaine must use her unique gifts to defend her matriarchal heritage from spiritual upheaval.
Check out the TV movie adaptation: The Mists of Avalon
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The Alchemist's Daughter
McMahon, Katharine
Set in Elizabethan England during the Age of Reason, this story is about Emilie Selden, a brilliant young woman who’s been cloistered in isolation since birth. Her father John, an alchemist, enlists Emilie’s help in a daring new experiment reviving dead matter. When the handsome Robert Aislabie arrives at Selden Manor, Emilie falls in love despite her father’s rules. Emilie is then banished to London, where she begins enlightening discoveries about human nature.
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The War of the Flowers
Williams, Tad
Theo Vilmos, a 30-year-old singer in a California rock band, finds solace in his mother’s remote cabin after a crushing breakup. Theo uncovers an eccentric manuscript written by his late great-uncle, Eamonn, about a magical world called Faerie. While reading, a horrific monster appears on Theo’s doorstep. The spirited sprite named Applecore swoops in and takes him through “The Gate” to Faerie. Theo must then protect his newfound friends from cruel fairy tyrants and dragons.
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Gregor the Overlander
The Underland Chronicles, Book 1
Collins, Suzanne
Gregor the Underland Chronicles includes five critically acclaimed fantasy books like Harry Potter from the same author of the Hunger Games. Gregor, an inquisitive 11-year-old boy, falls through a vent in his apartment’s basement with his sister Boots. They awaken in a outlandish place called the Underland with colossal animals and pale humans. Gregor and Boots learn that their long-lost father is being held captive here by the Gnawers and so the quest begins.
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My Brilliant Friend
The Neapolitian Quartet
Ferrante, Elena
Translated into English, the Neapolitan Novels is a four-part Italian series about two young friends named Elena Greco and Raffaella Cerullo. Living on the poor outskirts of Naples, the 16-year-old girls bond through enduring the tumultuousness of young womanhood. Though once inseparable, Elena and Raffaella feel their lives pulled in different paths. The story follows as the girls mature into their twenties on a journey of self-discovery.
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Wizard's Hall
Yolen, Jane
This tale focuses on a shy young boy named Henry who’s sent to Wizard’s Hall for wizardry training. His classmates begin calling him Thornmallow because he’s “prickly on the outside, but squishy inside.” Despite several embarrassing mistakes, Thornmallow is selected as one of 113 students who will confront the sorcerer Nettle and his Beast. He must now figure out how to save an entire school of young wizards.
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The Interestings
Wolitzer, Meg
Set in 1974 during Nixon’s resignation, The Interestings shares the story of five privileged teens who create an elite enclave at their trendy arts summer camp. Jules Jacobson, a sarcastic and witty young woman, becomes the newest member of the club with Ethan, Jonah, Cathy, and Ash. After tragedy strikes, the group is forced to slog into adulthood. Wolitzer develops the quintet from youth through middle age as their relationships are tested.
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Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie
A Modern Tale of Faerie Trilogy, Book 2
Black, Holly
After utter betrayal, 17-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City. Val meets two peculiar, homeless teens who introduce her to the city’s labyrinth subway system. Befriending Lolli, Valerie joins the covet underground operation of dealing potions to faeries. When Val’s caught by Ravus, a powerful troll, she’s bound to him for indefinite servitude. Unlike many books like Harry Potter, this story does include sex, profanity, and drug use.
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Akata Witch
Okorafor, Nnedi
Sunny is an enthusiastic 12-year-old girl who was born in the United States, but now lives in Nigeria. She has traditional African features, but she’s albino. Sunny loves playing soccer, but ironically can’t be in the sun. Sunny feels hopeless that she’ll never fit in until she discovers she’s a “free agent” with hidden magical powers. She finally finds her place with a quartet of quirky magic students trying to stop a notorious criminal.
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Artemis Fowl
The Artemis Fowl Series, Book 1
Colfer, Eoin
Similar to Harry Potter, this series features eight fantasy novels centered on a teenage criminal mastermind named Artemis Fowl. In the first book, Artemis is portrayed as an anti-hero who captures Captain Holly Short and exploits the Fairy People. However, as the series progresses, Artemis becomes an ally for the Fairies. Readers can follow as he engages in death-defying conflicts to save the world, even after contracting Atlantis Complex.
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The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Book 1
Tolkien, J. R. R.
Cited as the best-selling novel ever written, The Lord of the Rings is a beloved fantasy trilogy taking place in Middle Earth. The Dark Lord Sauron creates the One Ring for complete domination. After the One is lost by Smeagol, Bilbo Baggins finds it. Four others hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, travel across Middle Earth on a quest to destroy the One Ring. Along the way, they encounter adventures with Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli, and Legolas.
Check out the movie adaptations: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King
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One Hundred Years of Solitude
García Márquez, Gabriel
Written in 1967, this Latin American novel follows seven generations of the Buendía family. The founding patriach, José Arcadio Buendía, leaves Riohacha, Colombia, to find a better life. During his emigration, José dreams of Macondo, a utopic city of mirrors that reflects the world, and sets about creating it. Readers then follow the next 100 years of Buendías as Macondo endures civil war, heartbreak, and death.
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The Clockwork Angel
The Infernal Devices Series, Book 1
Clare, Cassandra
As the prequel to the Mortal Instruments series, this book centers on a mythical human race called the Shadowhunters. Tessa Gray, a 16-year-old orphan, searches for her lost brother Nathaniel and discovers she has the ability to shapeshift. Tessa is taken captive by the Dark Sisters and drawn deeper into the Shadow World. Similar to the love triangle between Harry, Hermoine, and Ron, Tessa finds herself in love with two Shadowhunters – Will and Jem.
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Lord Foul's Bane
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 1
Donaldson, Stephen R.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a packed series of 10 fantasy novels focused on Thomas Covenant, a cynical writer battling leprosy. After being shunned from society for his illness, Thomas finds himself in a strange alternate reality called The Land. He initially chooses to interpret the magical realm as a hallucination. But, Thomas then needs to protect The Land from its ancient enemy, Lord Foul the Despiser.
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The Eye of the World
The Wheel of Time Series, Book 1
Jordan, Robert & Sanderson, Brandon
Spanning from 1990 to 2013, The Wheel of Time is a series of 14 fantasy novels written about a seven-spoke wheel founded by a deity called The Creator. This alternate world is being threatened by Shai’tan, the Dark One. Rand al’Thor, the main hero, begins an epic quest to find the Horn of Valere, raise the Heroes of Legend, and protect the Wheel of Time.
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The Queen of Attolia
Turner, Megan Whalen
Set in an imaginary, Byzantine-like world, this young adult novel is about Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, who is condemned to hanging. The Queen of Attolia, a heartless ruler, instead resorts to cutting off his right hand with a sword. Attolia and Eddis soon declare war on one another, but Eugenides is wallowing in self-pity. After a visit from the magus of Sounis, Eugenides realizes the threat and remakes himself into a hero.
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The Hobbit
Tolkien, J. R. R.
In prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this book shows the earlier life of Bilbo Baggins, the respectable hobbit living peacefully in his shire. That’s until the wizard Gandalf arrives and convinces him to join Thorin’s company of 13 dwarves. Bilbo Baggins is thrust into a terrifying quest to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor. Along with encountering orcs and goblins, Bilbo discovers a magical ring tied to the fate of Middle Earth.
Check out the Movie Adaptations: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of Five Armies.
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The Goblin Emperor
Addison, Katherine
Like many books like Harry Potter, this story also won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 2015. Maia, a young boy of mixed Elven and Goblin heritage, finds himself crowned the new Emperor of the Elflands. In the first months, Maia marries the noblewoman Csethiro while crushing on the opera singer Vechin. Unbeknownst to him, the same revolutionaries who killed his father are already planning his assassination.
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The Goldfinch
Tartt, Donna
Clocking in at 775 pages, The Goldfinch is a large fiction masterpiece telling the story of Theo Decker, a teenage New Yorker who miraculously survives the accident that kills his beloved mother. Theo is forced to move in with wealthy friends on Park Avenue. Abandoned by his father and tormented by classmates, Theo clings to his mother’s painting of a goldfinch. Readers watch as Theo is drawn into the mysterious underworld of art.
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Vampire Academy
The Vampire Academy Series, Book 1
Mead, Richelle
Featuring six young adult novels, this is a paranormal series taking place at a boarding school called St. Vladimir’s Academy. Rosemarie Hathaway, a 17-year-old Dhampir girl, is training to protect her Moroi best friend Lissa. Rose learns to use magic to battle the Strigoi, the world’s most powerful vampires, and prevent them from taking Lissa. Meanwhile, Rose is sucked into a forbidden romance with her instructor, Dimitri.
Check out the movie adaptation: Vampire Academy
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City of Bones
The Mortal Instruments Series, Book 1
Clare, Cassandra
This young adult fantasy series centers on Clarissa “Clary” Fray, a teenage artist who believes she’s an ordinary human. In the search for her missing mother, Clary discovers an alternate reality called Downworld below New York City. After joining the Shadowhunters, she encounters mysterious faeries, eccentric vampires, werewolf armies, and vivacious warlocks. Clary finds that rescuing her mother may risk the Shadowhunters as demons seek to destroy the Downworld.
Check out the Movie adaptation: The Mortal Instruments-The City of Bones
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The Magic Mountain
Mann, Thomas
Written in 1912, The Magic Mountain is a classic German novel about Hans Castorp, the only child of a Hamburg merchant family. When visiting his tubercular cousin in the Swiss Alps, Hans himself contracts the illness. He then spends seven years in the morbid sanatorium until his health improves. Here Hans encounters a variety of characters who represent a microcosm of pre-war Europe, including the totalitarian Jewish-born Jesuit Leo Naphta.
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Furies of Calderon
The Codex Alera Series, Book 1
Butcher, Jim
As the first in the Codex Alera series, this book introduces the Aleran Empire, a fictional land where crafters can control water, air earth, and fire. Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, is reaching death without an heir. At just 15, Tavi struggles learning his craft until he discovers his power while saving Amara, a spy for the Crown. As the Marat invade Alera’s Calderon Valley, Tavi and Amara unite into a power greater than any fury.
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Beautiful Creatures [Electronic Resource]
The Caster Chronicles, Book 1
Garcia, Kami & Stohl, Margaret
The Caster Chronicles is a four-part series about Ethan Wate, a 16-year-old boy dreaming of leaving his small South Carolina town behind. He falls in love with the new girl Lena Duchannes, before discovering she’s part of a magical human race called Casters. Lena is troubled with the decision to become a Light or Dark Caster. She finds a spell to prevent her from making the choice, but can she risk mortally harming Ethan?
Check out the movie adaptation: Beautiful Creatures
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The Name of the Wind
The Kingkiller Chronicles Series, Book 1
Rothfuss, Patrick
Starting The Kingkiller Chronicles, this book introduces the innkeeper of rural Newarre named Kote. It’s quickly revealed that Kote is actually Kvothe, a famous sword fighter and magician believed to have killed a king. When the Chronicler, a traveling scribe, arrives in Newarre, Kvothe saves him from the spider-like Scrael. Chronicler asks to record Kvothe’s story, thus beginning his riveting narrative.
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