9. Joe Abercrombie
One of the questions GRRM is constantly asked in his many interviews is “Who is your favorite contemporary fantasy writer?” GRRM’s answer is always the same: Joe Abercrombie. With good reason too, Abercrombie’s characters (while often lacking some nuance in my opinion) are all people who are damaged in a variety of ways, making for compelling and personal stories as we watch them not only survive dangerous worlds, but strive to figure out their place in them. Also, his fight scenes are some of the most exciting I’ve read – descriptive yet rapid, painting a visceral picture yet never dragging the scene out. One of Abercrombie’s recent novels, Half a King, won the 2015 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book, although the novelist/documentary editor is most famous for his superb First Law trilogy. If you appreciate GRRM’s gritty, character-driven take on fantasy, Joe Abercrombie is right up your alley.