15 Books You Should Read If You Loved ‘Lord of the Rings’

Easily one of the most noted works in epic fantasy for generations has been J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic novel series The Lord of the Rings. Posed as a sequel book series to his 1937 children’s fantasy, The Hobbit, the book trilogy told the tale of an unlikely hero tasked with the destruction of a dangerous ring. It’s a tale loaded with all sorts of suspense, humor, magic, monsters, and wars most epic in scale. The books quickly gained a cult following that formed a fandom even before Peter Jackson developed the books into his own movie trilogy (2001-2004). Ralph Bakshi had directed an animated feature film of the books in 1978. Animated TV specials were also developed by the animators of Rankin Bass. The Middle Earth lore also expanded into some unlikely areas, as when Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy sang a beach-blanket version of The Hobbit, with lyrics detailing the adventures of Bilbo Baggins. While it’s easy to get lost in the books and media surrounding Lord of the Rings, dense as it all is, you may want to expand your horizons and find similar works of adventure and fantasy. Here are some of the best books recommended that Rings fans can branch out towards and perhaps read a bit more than Lord of the Rings for the 20th time.

The Sword of Shannara

written by Terry Brooks
Published in 1977
726 pages

Shady Vale was a peaceful place where Shea Ohmsford need not to be concerned with the outside world. That was until the world was threatened to be destroyed by the sinister forces of the Warlock Lord, who was previously thought to have been dead. As the Power of Darkness threatens to consume the land, the only hope for all existence is the legendary Sword of Shannara, only to be wielded by the heir of Shannara. And since Shea is the only one remaining of the Shannara bloodline, it’s up to Shea to rise to the challenge and save the world from a great evil. This is the first entry in The Original Shannara Trilogy of books.


written by Ursula K. le Guin
Published in 1968
183 pages

In the fantastical land of Earthsea, Ged is known as one of the most powerful sorcerers in all the land. He was also known as Sparrowhawk in his younger days of troublemaking. As Sparrowhawk, he was thirsty to not only learn but find means of seeking more power as well. In doing so, he ends up unleashing a dark shadow upon the land. From this event, Sparrowhawk must attempt to master powerful magic, do battle with dragons of ancient origins, and risk it all to restore balance to Earthsea. A Wizard of Earthsea is the first entry in the Earthsea book series. The books were developed into a miniseries in 2004 as well as the Japanese animated feature film Tales of Earthsea in 2006, directed by Goro Miyazaki.

Soldier Son

written by Robin Hobb
Published in 2005
591 pages

Since birth, Nevare Burvelle had always been destined to become a soldier. In order to become a soldier, however, he must brave the fierce training of King’s Cavalla Academy and it won’t be an easy process. His elite classmates will look down on him with vicious cruelty and hatred. Eventually, he enters into the King of Gernia’s campaign for expansion as a soldier, which will be an even tougher ordeal. He’ll come across the mysterious folk of the forest who possess ancient magic that could overtake their world. Shaman’s Crossing is the first entry in the Soldier Son book series.

His Dark Materials

written by Philip Pullman
Published in 1995
399 pages

Lyra is a young woman who resides in a world of animal companions, some of which can speak with other humans. Soon, she finds herself on an adventure into the chilly setting of the icy north, where armored polar bears reside. It is there that she will uncover a sinister plot to open a portal to a parallel world, pushed forth by her evil uncle Asriel. The Golden Compass is the first book in the His Dark Materials book saga. It would be adapted into a feature film in 2007 directed by Chris Weitz and starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliott, Eva Green, Ian McKellen, Ian McShane, Freddie Highmore, Kathy Bates, and Daniel Craig. Additionally, His Dark Materials was adapted into a TV series in 2019.

The Letter for the King

written by Tonke Dragt
Published in 1962
512 pages

In order to be knighted by King Dagonaut, a silent vigil and grand ceremony must be completed by a young man to attain such status. That rule is broken by Young Tiuri when he is asked by a mysterious stranger to deliver a letter to the Black Knight with the White Shield. Intended for King Unauwen, the letter contains crucial information that must be delivered as quickly as possible. It’s a dangerous mission for Tiuri and grows all the more concerning when he comes across murdered knights in the forest, slain by the evil Red Riders. It is then up to Tiuri to rise to the challenge and deliver the letter while avoiding the pursuing Red Riders who intend to stop the young man at any cost. This is the first entry in the De brief voor de koning book series.

The Dragonbone Chair

written by Tad Williams
Publishing in 1988
672 pages

Osten Ard was a land of peace until dark magical forces threatened to throw the world darkness and chaos. Further complicating this matter is the death of High King of Prester John. In his place comes the Storm King, ruler of the undead, to take control of Osten Ard. The only hope for the kingdom may lie in the unlikely qualities of the kitchen boy Simon. He’ll have to venture across dangerous and unknown lands to seek out mysterious swords that may hold the key to defeating evil. If he fails, however, the land he has come to know as his home will perish. This is the first entry in the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn book series.


written by Christopher Paolini
Published in 2002
503 pages

Eragon was an average farm boy until he happened upon a mysterious blue stone. What he doesn’t count on is that the stone will lead to him discovering a birthed dragon. It isn’t long before Eragon finds himself wrapped up in a deeply kept secret of the empire and is sent on an adventure of magic, swords, and fulfilling your destiny in this exciting story of a boy and his dragon. This is the first entry in The Inheritance Cycle book series and the book itself would be developed into a 2006 feature film starring Ed Speleers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, Djimon Hounsou, Rachel Weisz, and John Malkovich.

The Name of the Wind

written by Patrick Rothfuss
Published in 2007
662 pages

Kvothe is a gifted man who grows into becoming one of the most powerful wizards in all the land. He tells his own story, narrating his upbringing from the darker days of being an orphan on his own, trying to survive in crime-infested cities, and traveling about with a troupe. He details his success of making it into a school of magic as well as his downfall when he descends into a life of crime. It’s a story that’s brimming with action and questionable actions in this coming-of-age story about one wizard gone bad. This is the first entry in The Kingkiller Chronicle book series.

A Song of Ice and Fire

written by George R. R. Martin
Published in 1996
835 pages

Better known to TV viewers as Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the longest-running fantasy novel series out there, even if it’s mostly due to him taking so long to complete each entry. The story takes place in a fantastic world of kings and queens, knights and dragons, and witches and assassins. The evil forces of Winterfell threaten the land to be consumed by an eternal winter, a wall doing little to hold back such violent forces. The Stark family finds themselves struggling to main order as treachery, war, and murders most foul spill forth in this epic novel series that became so intoxicating it devoted readers from the hit HBO TV series.


written by Frank Herbert
Published in 1965
661 pages

Regarded as one of the best novel series of science fiction literature, Dune takes place in the far distant future where planetary factions battle over control of the planet Arrakis. Arrakis holds the mysterious spice that not only makes interstellar space travel possible but may be capable of so much more. The House of Atreides is the latest faction to take control of the planet but the evil Baron Harkonnen seeks to overthrow Atreides and take control of Dune for himself. The surviving Paul Atreides lives on to fight against the Baron when teaming up with the Arrakis natives who dub him the warrior Muad’Dib, said to be the messiah who will restore the planet. The Dune book series went on for several volumes (including a few more after his death) and it would later be adapted into a film directed by David Lynch in 1984 and a TV miniseries for the Sci-Fi Channel in 2000.

The Eye of the World

written by Robert Jordan
Published in 1990
814 pages

Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Egwene al’Vere, and Nynaeve al’Meara find their village under attack by evil soldiers and the violent undead. Fleeing for their lives, they find themselves seeking safety and fighting off the dark forces that pursue them across the land. On their travels, they’ll encounter dragons and people who can talk to wolves, leading to epic battles of good and evil. Author Robert Jordan has been open about his main inspiration for laying out most of the chapters came from desiring to replicate the Shire of Middle-Earth in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. This is the first entry in The Wheel of Time book series.

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