Misc.

March Into Middle-earth: Books Inspired By Tolkien

March Into Middle-earth

J.R.R. Tolkien has had a huge inspiration on the fantasy genre ever since the publication of The Hobbit in 1937, which only grew with the release of The Lord of the Rings in 1954. Many of the authors inspired by him are now notable authors themselves, who have gone on to inspire others – and so Tolkien’s legacy continues.

Sword of Shannara Pawn of Prophecy Lord Foul's Bane

Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara, first published in the 1970s, was greatly inspired by Tolkien. It features multiple races like elves, gnomes, dwarves and trolls living together in a world that is troubled by a dark power. In 1978 it was even called a ‘rip off’ of Tolkien’s work, and Brooks has confirmed that Tolkien was an influence on his work. However, this has not stopped it from being a vastly popular series, nor affected any of Brooks’ other work. The Belgariad series by David Eddings is greatly inspired by Tolkien, although quite a bit shorter! It may be made up of five books, but each book is much shorter than each of Tolkien’s. It centres around a Dark Lord, a mysterious and power object, and an epic quest. Sound familiar? 😉 The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever series by Stephen R. Donaldson is yet another that took inspiration from Tolkien. It sounds a little less similar plot-wise than the previous two, and also is notable for having a protagonist who is considered to be fairly unlikable.

The Dark Tide Ring of Darkness There and Back Again

Some authors even went as far as trying to create sequels to The Lord of the Rings, or other stories set in Middle-earth. Author Dennis L. McKiernan wrote a series which was originally intended as a sequel, but then had to be changed. The Iron Tower series was the resulting backstory. Something I was really surprised to discover when reading for this post was that someone actually has written sequels to The Lord of the Rings – and somehow managed to get away with it. Considering how strict the Tolkien Estate can be, this is quite shocking, but might also explain why the books have never been published in English. The author in question is Russian Nick Perumov, and his series, Ring of Darkness, is set 300 years after the events of LotR, and follows a descendant of Merry Brandybuck. Alternatively, the book There and Back Again by Pat Murphy is, as it sounds, based on The Hobbit, albeit a science fiction retelling of sorts.

There are so many books inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, and this is just a small selection of them. Let me know if you can recommend any others!

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #23: Series To Start

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post!

Today I want to talk about: fantasy series I keep meaning to start.

You know how it is: you see a fantastic looking book, pop it onto your ‘to read’ list, and then either forget about it or put it off because there are so many other books that have been on there longer… and so many other excuses. As an avid reader of fantasy fiction, I feel that there are several series I should have already read, or at least started, and I wanted to make a note of them today. Let me know if you’ve read any of them, and any comments you have!

The Belgariad by David Eddings

Pawn of Prophecy The Queen of Sorcery Magician's Gambit

The Belgariad series by David Eddings is a five-part fantasy series that has come highly recommended to me by two friends, who bought the first book for me for my birthday – and I’ll definitely be getting to it soon, maybe I’ll even have started reading it by the time this post goes up! I’m just amazed that I hadn’t even heard of it until they told me about it.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson

Lord Foul's Bane The Illearth War Power That Preserves

I got the very first book of Stephen Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever for free at London ComiCon, and then managed to pick up books two and three for £0.50 each in my local charity shop. Pretty good for a series that is so highly rated (and also highly recommended by my dad!)

The Original Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks

Sword of Shannara Elfstones of Shannara Wishsong of Shannara

Whilst I’ve read the first book in The Dark Legacy of Shannara, and also own the first book of the Legends of Shannara series, I have yet to read the original books. Also, I’m really loving these 80s fantasy covers…

Ilium by Dan Simmons

Ilium by Dan Simmons Olympos

Dan Simmons wrote one of my favourite books ever, so I am prepared to read ALL of his other books – especially the Ilium series, which is a sci-fi fantasy take on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Ancient mythology + Dan Simmons + sci-fi + fantasy = happy Rinn.

Are there any fantasy series or books that you feel you should read soon, or should have already read?

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #15: Fantasy ‘Pick & Mix’

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post!

Today I want to recommend fantasy novels, depending on what element you would like to read about.

I’ve chosen a selection of fantasy books, picked out some of the main themes or features of each, and then divided them accordingly. The idea is that you can pick one or more elements you’d like to read about, and pick a book from that category. Even better if a book crosses several different categories – which is where the ‘pick & mix’ comes in! When it comes to series I’ve generally only included the first book from each, unless the sequels contain elements that the previous books do not.

The categories are: Assassins, Dark, Dragons, Dwarves & Elves, Historical, Magic, Monsters, Political, Quest, Royalty and Thieves.

Assassins
Assassins
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Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas; Graceling (Graceling #1) by Kristin Cashore; The Way Of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks; Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence; Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers; Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb; The Last Wish (The Witcher Saga #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski; Pyramids (Discworld #7) by Terry Pratchett.

Dark Theme
Dark

A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V. Brett; The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch; The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) by Gene Wolfe; The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie; The Left Hand Of God (The Left Hand of God #1) by Paul Hoffman; The Last Wish (The Witcher Saga #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan; Low Town (Low Town #1) by Daniel Polansky; Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence.

Dragons
Dragons

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire by J.K. Rowling; A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman; The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle #1) by Miles Cameron; A Natural History of Dragons (Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan; A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin; Dragonflight (Pern #1) by Anne McCaffrey; Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8) by Terry Pratchett.

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Dwarves & Elves

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks; Men At Arms (Discworld #15) by Terry Pratchett; The Dwarves (The Dwarves #1) by Markus Heitz; Homeland (Legend of Drizzt #1) by R.A. Salvatore; Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini; Dawnthief (Chronicles of the Raven #1) by James Barclay.

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Historical

*By historical I mean the book is either based on a historical period, takes place in a historical period but has fantastical elements, or is an alternate history.

Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1) by Garth Nix; A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers; Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan; In Camelot’s Shadow (The Paths to Camelot #1) by Sarah Zettel.

Magic
Magic
Magic
Magic

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling; The Way Of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks; Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1) by Garth Nix; The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V. Brett; The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss; Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor; The Magicians’ Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy #1) by Trudi Canavan; Elantris by Brandon Sanderson; Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta; The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson; The Wind Singer (Wind on Fire #1) by William Nicholson; Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks; Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule #1) by Trudi Canavan; Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo; Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder; The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas; Song Quest (The Echorium Sequence #1) by Katherine Roberts; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan; A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin; The Colour Of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett; Dawnthief (Chronicles of the Raven #1) by James Barclay; Low Town (Low Town #1) by Daniel Polansky.

Monsters
Monsters

*By monsters I mean a wide variety of things: zombies, centaurs, orcs, goblins, demons etc. Not necessarily all evil!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling; Fire (Graceling #2) by Kristin Cashore; Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1) by Garth Nix; The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V. Brett; Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor; The Last Wish (The Witcher Saga #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski; Song Quest (The Echorium Sequence #1) by Katherine Roberts.

Politics
Politics

The Way Of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks; A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss; The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch; The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie; The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) by Gene Wolfe; The Left Hand Of God (The Left Hand of God #1) by Paul Hoffman; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan; Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder.

Quest
Quest
Quest

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) by Gene Wolfe; Red Country by Joe Abercrombie; Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta; The Wind Singer (Wind on Fire #1) by William Nicholson; Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks; The Princess Bridge by William Goldman; A Natural History of Dragons (Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan; The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas; The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen; Song Quest (The Echorium Sequence #1) by Katherine Roberts; Dragonflight (Pern #1) by Anne McCaffrey.

Royalty
Royalty
Royalty

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas; Graceling (Graceling #1) by Kristin Cashore; A Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Ice And Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin; The Desert Spear (The Demon Cycle #2) by Peter V. Brett; Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence; Elantris by Brandon Sanderson; The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson; Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta; The Princess Bride by William Goldman; Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman; Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb; The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas; The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen; Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan.

Thieves
Thieves

Bitterblue (Graceling #3) by Kristin Cashore; The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch; Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence; The Princess Bride by William Goldman; Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule #1) by Trudi Canavan.

I hope this ‘pick and mix’ list helps you to find some new reads! 🙂