top of page

My Top 5 Books to read if you love Lord of the Rings

Few series can match the wonder and depth of the world of Middle World that J.R.R. Tolkien created in his iconic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Fans of this cherished series may find it difficult to find other novels that capture the same sense of adventure and fantasy world-building. Because of this, I've compiled a list of five books that, with their vividly conceived settings, timeless characters, and epic journeys, are likely to please Lord of the Rings enthusiasts. Grab your map and sword, and let's get started with the first suggestion!

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire is the series for you if you want a grim, grounded perspective on high fantasy. The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are controlled by a number of aristocratic families, whose stories are followed in this as-of-yet-unfinished series. 

Political intrigue, violence, and treachery abound in the story as each family struggles to obtain the upper hand. Character development and realistic depictions of medieval war are what distinguish A Song of Ice and Fire from many other fantasy stories in my mind. 

The ugly realities of battle are not avoided by Martin, as several characters suffer terrible losses during the course of the novel. With each province of Westeros having its own own culture and history, the world-building is also superb. Due to its epic scale and a large array of characters, A Song of Ice and Fire is frequently compared to The Lord of the Rings. The series has a much darker and more grounded stance, though. A Song of Ice and Fire is a fantastic option if you're seeking a fantasy series that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

Not for the faint of heart, the Malazan Book of the Fallen trilogy is a dark, grim, and sophisticated epic fantasy tale that I myself have only partially consumed. The 10-book series is set in a universe which has recently been engaged in a prolonged conflict. 

The first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon, immediately immerses readers in the conflict and introduces a wide cast of characters, all of whom have their own individual objectives and driving forces. The series is recognised and beloved by many for its dense storyline, vividly detailed cosmos, and deep themes of power, morality, and struggle. While these themes may be found in a variety of fantasy stories, they are almost never handled as well as they are in this series. The characters are not flawless in any way, shape, or form and are often put in sticky situations where they must make tough decisions that tend to have negative outcomes. Fans of "The Lord of the Rings" who are looking for a darker and more nuanced view on the epic fantasy genre will find the series satisfying, despite the fact that it can be a difficult read at times. The worldbuilding and narrative in the series are both incredible, and as a result, you will definitely be engaged in it from the very beginning to the very end.

The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin wrote a fantasy novel series called The Earthsea Cycle, which has six volumes. The series is set in the realm of Earthsea, which is made up of a number of islands and an unexplored ocean. Ged, the series' main character, is a wizard who must contend with his own abilities and the responsibility that comes with them as he makes his way across the perilous planet of Earthsea. The Earthsea Cycle's elaborate world-building and in-depth exploration of magic have frequently drawn comparisons to The Lord of the Rings. 

The books have a timeless character that makes them feel like classic literature, largely because of the exquisite and poetic style of Le Guin. The series also explores topics found in Tolkien's writing, such as the effects of power, the conflict between good and evil, and the significance of self-discovery.  The Earthsea Cycle's emphasis on the natural world (something that would have pleased Tolkien himself) and the interaction between people and the environment is one of its distinctive features. 

In Earthsea, magic and nature are inextricably linked, and a wizard's ability is frequently seen as a gift from the planet itself. The series features this environmentalist theme throughout, making it a fantastic option for those looking to discover fantasy in a new manner.  

The Earthsea Cycle is an excellent option for The Lord of the Rings aficionados and a classic of the fantasy genre in general. It is a beautiful and thought-provoking series that is likely to attract readers with its exploration of magic, power, and the natural world.


The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

I first started reading this series because of an ad for the tv series on Amazon Prime (I think). Having read two novels so far, I feel comfortable suggesting this series to fans of The Lord of the Rings. The story is set in a realm where time is cyclical and the heroes must battle the evil ruler Shai'tan and his minions. There are a total of 14 volumes in the series, and they are renowned for their sophisticated plots and fully realized characters.  In the first book, "The Eye of the World," we meet Rand al'Thor, a young man who has no idea that he would one day save the world as the Dragon Reborn. Rand and his allies must travel across the globe in order to vanquish the dark lord and his henchmen. Among other elements,  the treatment of female characters is what distinguishes The Wheel of Time from other epic fantasy works. A hallmark of the series is the presence of strong female characters who have equal stakes to their male counterparts. The world-building, which draws from both real-world civilizations and mythology, is also extremely thorough.  While the 14-book series is a significant time commitment, it is well worth it and will keep you interested right up to the final page. The immense world-building and epic conflicts in The Wheel of Time will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Lord of the Rings deeply.

The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

The harsh and gritty universe of Joe Abercrombie's The First Law Trilogy is full of political intrigue, moral complexity, and larger-than-life characters. The three novels in this trilogy are titled "The Blade Itself," "Before They Are Hanged," and "Last Argument of Kings." This series appeals to those who enjoyed George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" and "The Lord of the Rings" because of its complex setting and cast of morally grey characters.  The protagonists of the novel face peril and intrigue as they travel over the world. Logen Ninefingers is a shady barbarian warrior, Sand dan Glokta is a former soldier turned torturer, and Jezal dan Luthar is a conceited aristocrat who must face the harsh realities of combat. They aren't angels, and they each have their own demons and problems to overcome.
Abercrombie's writing style is what sets this series apart from other fantasy series. Like Martin, he is not afraid to show the ugly side of war and bloodshed, and he has a knack for making even the most reprehensible people sympathetic. This is a universe where good and evil are not clearly delineated; anyone can be a hero or a villain.  Abercrombie's writing features both dry wit and humour in addition to his well-developed characters and riveting narrative. His characters' clever banter and scathing remarks provide welcome comic relief in the otherwise grim environment he has built for them.

As a whole, those who enjoy grim and realistic fantasies will enjoy the First Law Trilogy. Every aspect of this story, from the setting to the characters to the narrative, has been carefully and skillfully designed to create a reading experience that is both enjoyable and compelling. This is the perfect series if you want to be kept on the edge of your seat and have a good time while having a good time.



In short, if you like The Lord of the Rings, there are plenty of other great novels for you to read. All five of the works I've featured here provide a fresh perspective on the epic fantasy genre and are guaranteed to satiate any reader's hunger for action, magic, and fascinating characters.  This collection has something for everyone, from the political intrigue and expansive world-building of A Song of Ice and Fire to the profound philosophical ideas of The First Law Trilogy. Get thee to a library, bookstore, or online bookseller of your choosing, and explore the depths of genuine high fantasy.

bottom of page