25 Books Similar to Lord of the Rings

A close look at Lord of the Rings Books on display at a bookstore.

Lord of the Rings is a classic. It has been argued any fantasy book that’s followed owes something to J.R.R Tolkien’s timeless saga. The tales are embedded into Western culture. Even the movies that came forth have inspired a plethora of memes.

People love an underdog, and Frodo and his band of Hobbits are just that. But true fans of LotR treasure the books for the details of the worldbuilding, including the maps. It is a magical world a reader can become immersed in, with complex characters that speak to the human condition.

There is no other Lord of the Rings in existence. But we are giving you 15 suggestions full of adventure and underdogs. It is hard to decide on our favorites. Yes, The Mistborn Saga and The Hobbit rank high. But it is refreshing reading Song of Blood & Stone tackle much-neglected themes in fantasy, and we love how Dragon Sword and Wind Child turns tropes on their heads.

Table of Contents

The Mistborn Trilogy

Mistborn Trilogy: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages

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  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Adventure
  • Awards: Numerous nominations, won many including Romantic Times (2006, 2007, 2008), Whitney (2007, 2008)
  • First Book Published: 2006
  • Books: 3 – Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages

The trilogy opens with Kelsier, a hero to the slaves, and Vin, an orphaned teen who survives on the streets as a skilled thief. The two have extraordinary powers that are reserved for the nobility. Together they lead Kelsier’s band of rebels to try to eliminate the Lord Ruler. Sanderson’s genius is in his plotting, which is on par with a three-dimensional chess game.

Sanderson has been open that the story seed for Mistborn was found in the Lord of the Rings. He thought about a world where Frodo failed, and the Dark Lord had won. Like Frodo, Vin’s grit and tenacity is beloved by fans. She is a brilliant underdog to cheer for as she goes up against horrific adversity.  

Seven Realms

Seven Realms Series 4-Book Set

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  • Author: Cinda Williams Chima
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, YA
  • Awards: Numerous nominations, won Barnes & Noble Best Teen Book (2009), ALA (2011)
  • First Book Published: 2009
  • Books: 4 – begins with The Demon King

Two unlikely lives are about to cross: Han, a reformed thief, and Raisa ana’Marianna, a princess yearning to be a warrior. This slow-burn has dueling narrators who mess with the stereotypes of “the village idiot” and “spoiled princess.” There are romances, sassy dialogue, wizards, and a queendom.

Thievery is a character trait at the heart of LotR, and Seven Realms has it too. Some fans warn that The Demon King is a foundational novel, and things don’t really take off until the second half, which is where many readers get hooked. Others enjoyed the worldbuilding that the first section of the novel lays out.  

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

The Hobbit

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  • Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Adventure, Middle Grade
  • Awards: Nominated for the Carnegie Medal and won Best Juvenile Fiction by the New York Herald Tribune
  • First Book Published: 1937
  • Books: 1

This is where Middle-earth began. Bilbo Baggins is the first of the hobbit heroes, and LotR favorites such as Gandalf and Gollum feature heavily, too. Smaug is a deliciously wicked and cruel dragon. But it is also where we first encountered the all-important ring.

Some Lord of the Rings fans skip The Hobbit because it is a children’s tale. But this is a mistake, as it builds the foundation of the LotR. J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration from old legends, most notably Beowulf, which he had spent a great deal of time translating in the 1920s but never published. The Hobbit is a genuine quest tale that inspired so much of what we read today.

Earthsinger Chronicles

Song of Blood & Stone: Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One

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  • Author: L. Penelope
  • Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
  • Awards: BCALA (2016),
  • First Book Published: 2015
  • Books: 4 – begins with Son of Blood & Stone

Jasminda is an outcast, living on a farm, steering clear of those who scorn her skin color and her gift of Earthsong. But a band of Lagrimari soldiers destroy her peace, and they’ve brought a spy with them. Jack, the spy, is losing time to save the kingdom of Elsira. But Jasminda might be the key.

Fans love Penelope’s lyrical prose, which is fitting for Tolkien fans as he littered his stories with poetic song. Also, the heroine, Jasminda, keeps with LotR tradition of being an unlikely hero who comes from a life that is quiet and easily overlooked. The politics in this novel are impossible to ignore. But that might be a good thing; after all, LotR’s was political too.

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7-Book Collection: All 7 Books Plus Bonus Book: Boxen

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  • Author: C.S. Lewis
  • Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Middle Grade
  • Awards: Numerous nominations, won Carnegie (1957) and Neffy (2006)
  • First Book Published: 1950
  • Books: 7 – begins with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

This classic tale begins with four children being sent to the English countryside due to the war. There they wander through the professor’s old house, and during a game, the youngest, Lucy, steps into a wardrobe and emerges in a magical kingdom. Thus, begins an adventure and battle between the forces of good and evil.

Lewis and Tolkien met at the Merton College at Oxford University. The pair found familiar ground in their mutual fascination with Norse mythology. It was Lewis who encourage Tolkien to keep going after showing him an early draft of a tale set in Middle-earth. Meanwhile, Lewis was grappling with his faith. It was Tolkien who helped bring him back to Christianity.

C.S. Lewis’ tales are indeed much more overtly religious than Tolkien’s work. However, the root of both men’s fiction is in older mythology. They had a deep friendship, and when Lewis died in 1963, Tolkien was devastated. To read C.S. Lewis is to understand the man who encouraged Tolkien to keep writing and develop Middle-earth long before he was the lauded writer of today.

Betrayal’s Shadow

Betrayal's Shadow (Mahelian Chronicle)

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  • Author: Dave-Brendon de Burgh
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
  • Awards: none Found
  • First Book Published: 2014
  • Books: 1

Brice Serholm, a decorated general of the Blade Knights, is sent with some men to investigate alleged rebelling in a village of Avidar. On the way, the ship is attacked by magic. Meanwhile, Del’Ahrid, trusted advisor to the king, is no longer certain the foundations he built his life upon are true.

This well-paced traditional fantasy tale is full of mystery and contains touches of science-fiction. The magical system pleased fans as well as the worldbuilding.  

Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown (A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel Book 1)

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  • Author: Zen Cho
  • Genre: Historical Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
  • Awards: Numerous nominations, won BFA (2016)
  • First Book Published: 2015
  • Books: 2 with a third in the works – Sorcerer to the Crown, The True Queen

Zacharias Wythe is a freed slave, magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers. Becoming increasingly concerned with magical stocks drying up in England, he ventures to Fairyland. It is the start of an adventure that will alter sorcery in England and beyond.

Another unlikely hero for LotR fans. This Regency-styled fantasy is a slow burn laced with humor and a crackling Elizabeth and Darcy-type relationship. The worldbuilding has been well thought out, including providing an explanation for the lack of magic in the Napoleonic wars that must tickle historians to no end.

The Malloreon Series

Malloreon Series Books 1 - 5 Collection Set by David Eddings (Guardians of the West, King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda, Sorceress of Darshiva & Seeress of Kell)

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  • Author: David Eddings
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Adventure, YA
  • Awards: Numerous nominations
  • First Book Published: 1988
  • Books: 5 – begins with Guardians of the West

This series picks up after The Belgariad. Garion is now King of Riva after killing Torak and married to Queen Ce’Nedra. But Errand, the child raised by Polgara and Durnik, is beginning to show signs of unusual talents. Meanwhile, a Prophecy supposedly fulfilled is now proclaiming, “Beware Zandramas.” With that, another epic adventure begins.

Many fans were delighted to see their childhood characters return. The humor of the first series is brought forward, as is the same world. This is a series for those that enjoyed the first and are not recommended as the place to begin.

The Silmarillion

The Silmarillion

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  • Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy
  • Awards: Ditmare (1978), Gandalf (1978), Locus (1978)
  • First Book Published:
  • Books: 1

If The Hobbit is Middle-earth for children, The Silmarillion is the LotR for those with a scholarly commitment to the tales. This work is a mythology of Middle-earth, going back to the First Age of this world. This is less of a novel and more of text with stories to flush out the lore. Fascinating for those who love worldbuilding.

The Riftwar Saga

Magician: Apprentice (Riftwar Cycle: The Riftwar Saga Book 1)

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  • Author: Raymond E. Feist
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, YA
  • Awards: Numerous nominations and is a winner of an Inkpot
  • First Book Published: 1982
  • Books: 4 – begins with Magician: Apprentice

Pug, an orphan, finds himself going from the kitchens to studying with master magician Kulgan. However, he struggles as a student. His rise to a squire comes after saving Princess Carline from trolls, which is a far cry from where he first started life. But as war breaks out, his need to gain control of his magic grows urgent. Magician: Apprentice is part one of what was originally two books.

“I’m not Tolkien,” Feist said in an interview with The Guardian, “Nobody’s Tolkien.” How very true. But Feist was and is a fan and does not deny LotR’s influence in his desire to write fantasy. Besides, you have a young orphan boy rising, which gives readers all the good underdog feels.

The Children of Húrin

The Children of Húrin

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  • Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy
  • Awards: None found
  • First Book Published:
  • Books: 1


This sorrowful and bleak Middle-earth tale is set six thousand years before Frodo’s quest. Túrin, the only son of Húrin, leads a gang of outlaws in the war for Middle-earth. It is a tale that examines the tension between free will and destiny.

In the spirit of the Ancient Greeks, this is a tragedy. There is no jubilation that readers have come to expect from LotR. Instead, fans adore it for the emotions this story evokes and consider the tale a true work of beauty. Dedicated Tolkien fans will want a copy that contains the illustrations by Alan Lee.   

The Bitterbynde Trilogy

The Ill-Made Mute (The Bitterbynde Trilogy)

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  • Author: Cecilia Dart-Thornton
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
  • Awards: None found
  • First Book Published: 2001
  • Books: 3 – The Ill-Made Mute, The Lady of the Sorrows, The Battle of Evernight


A disfigured soul with no memory, no name, and no speech is shunned in the world of Erith. No one knows if the person is a man or woman. Yet, there are those who fear this person and are determined to stop their destiny.

LotR fans will recognize Dart-Thorton’s use of songs and legends to add history to the worldbuilding. She also draws from Nordic mythology, like Tolkien. And if there was ever an underdog, it is a shunned character that does not even know their own name.

The Legend of Drizzt Series

Homeland (The Legend of Drizzt Book 1)

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  • Author: R.A. Salvatore
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Adventure
  • Awards: Nominated for several
  • First Book Published: 1988
  • Books: 37 – begins with Homeland

This is the tale of Drizzt Do’Urden, an elf, and how he grew up in Menzoberranzan, an enormous city of the Drow. He is raised in a society wracked with evil. Yet, in surviving this upbringing, he develops his own unique moral code.

While Homeland is technically the first book in the series, it was written after The Icewind Dale Trilogy. Readers might have a better appreciation of Drizzt’s backstory if they start with book four, The Crystal Shard, and carry on through the next two before starting Homeland.

Readers love this rich world with its larger-than-life heroes. The styling of the worldbuilding is much like LotR, and there are orcs, dwarves, and even halflings who happen to have feet that resemble those of a Hobbit. But the addition of Drizzt gives the series its own path separate from LotR.

The Old Kingdom Series

Sabriel

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  • Author: Garth Nix
  • Genre: High Fantasy, YA
  • Awards: Aurealis (1995, 2003, 2005), Golden Duck (1999), Ditmar (2002),
  • First Book Published:
  • Books: 6 – begins with Sabriel

Sabriel is in her final semester at boarding school in Ancelstierre when her father goes missing. School had sheltered her from the power of Free Magic of the Dead who do not stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But with father gone, she knows she must risk entering the Old Kingdom if she is ever to see him again.

While this book is pegged for 12-13-year-old readers, it has charmed many an adult. The story can be pretty grim but has moments of humor. The talking cat is a firm favorite.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms Series

Throne of the Crescent Moon (Crescent Moon Kingdoms Book 1)

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  • Author: Saladin Ahmed
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
  • Awards: Numerous nominations, won a Neffy (2013)
  • First Book Published: 2012
  • Books: 1 primary work thus far with more planned, Throne of the Crescent Moon

A rebellion is building in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. Power struggles between holy warriors and heretics are threatening stability. Now a sinister force is murdering people with supernatural powers. An aging ghoul-hunter is asked to investigate one of these murders. He has no idea how much danger he’s put himself in.

LotR fans might appreciate a change from settings based on England and Europe. The Middle East inspires this rich fantasy world. The round and complex characters are engaging, and there is plenty of action with swords and sorcery.

The Odyssey

The Odyssey

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  • Author: Homer
  • Genre: Ancient Greek Mythology, Epic Adventure
  • Awards: N/A
  • First Book Published:
  • Books: 1

After the Trojan War, Odysseus and his men spend ten years trying to get home. They encounter many mythical enemies during the epic voyage and endure numerous challenges that require great wit and tenacity to overcome.

This is one of the foundations of epic quest fantasy, and no doubt had an influence on Tolkien’s work. The impact of this tale on our culture and stories cannot be overstated.

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy

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  • Author: Terry Brooks
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Adventure
  • Awards: Numerous nominations, won World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement (2017)
  • First Book Published: 1977
  • Books: 3 – The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, The Wishsong of Shannara

This adventure tale begins with Shea Ohmsford living the quiet life in Shady Vale, oblivious to the greater world’s woes. But as the power of darkness rises, only one thing can stop it, the Sword of Shannara. Unfortunately, the sword can only be used by someone of the Shannara bloodline. There is only one Shannara descendent remaining: Shea.

Devoted fantasy readers often consider The Shannara Trilogy to be the works that most resemble LotR. Some love the tales for this; others find it irritating. But if you are genuinely craving LotR flavor, you will find it with these books.

Blood Heir Trilogy

Blood Heir

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  • Author: Amélie Wen Zhao
  • Genre: High Fantasy, YA
  • Awards: None found
  • First Book Published: 2019
  • Books: 3 – Blood Heir

Ana is an Affinite, one who is gifted. However, she keeps her ability to control blood a secret, as Affinites are denounced as unnatural. But now, she, the crown princess, must find her father’s murderer before she is wrongly blamed.

This is a dark, well-paced tale with plenty of twists and turns to keep the pages turning.

The Dandelion Dynasty Series

The Grace of Kings (1) (The Dandelion Dynasty)

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  • Author: Ken Liu
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy
  • Awards: Numerous nominations, won Locus (2016)
  • First Book Published: 2015
  • Books: 4, three currently published – The Grace of Kings, The Wall of Storms, The Veiled Throne, Speaking Bones

A charming bandit and a fearless and stern son of a deposed duke become the best of friends during the uprising against the emperor. But when all is done, the two find themselves leading separate fractions.

With shapeshifting gods and silk-draped airships, the worldbuilding is different from the LotR. But the history, mythology, and details put into this universe are something LotR fans can respect.

The Sword of Truth Series

Wizard's First Rule

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  • Author: Terry Goodkind
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Adventure
  • Awards: Numerous nominations,
  • First Book Published: 1994
  • Books: 15, begins with Wizard’s First Rule

Richard Cypher has been living deep in the woods as a guide until his world is upending by his father’s murder. Seeking out the cause of his father’s death, he is attacked by a vicious plant and poisoned. So he heads towards town, looking for a cure, where he comes upon a Kahlan Amnell fleeing from assassins. Richard saves her, and with that, his destiny begins.  

Once again, our hero has a peaceful life until the world is in peril, a trope, so many of us love. The age-old feel to this series will be familiar to LotR fans and plenty of fantasy elements that become more original as the books progress.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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  • Author: J.K. Rowling
  • Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
  • Awards: Stoker (1999, 2003), Golden Duck (2000), Locus (2001), Hugo (2001), Quill (2005), Neffy (2006, 2008), Norton (2008)
  • First Book Published:
  • Books: 7 – begins with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

If you don’t know the story, where have you been? But yes, another tale of a forgotten nobody who the world’s fate eventually rests upon. Enter Harry Potter, an abused orphan who learns he is a wizard and is whisked off to a boarding school to learn about magic.

Tales of the Magatama Series

Dragon Sword and Wind Child

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  • Author: Noriko Ogiwara
  • Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, YA
  • Awards: Won several Japanese literary awards
  • First Book Published: 1988
  • Books: 3, although only two are currently translated to English, Dragon Sword and Wind Child and Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince

The God of Light and the Goddess of Darkness have been locked in a war for generations across the land of Toyoashihara. For fifteen-year-old Saya, however, the war seems distant and irrelevant to her life. This all changes, however, when she learns that she is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden and a princess of the Children of the Dark. Raised as a child of Light, Saya’s whole world has been turned upside-down.

Ogiwara was inspired to write fantasy after reading C.S. Lewis. Interestingly, this gorgeous tale does not use “light” and “dark” as simple translations for “good” and “evil.” The complexity is found in the plot, not the characters, however, but LotR fans will enjoy the attention spent on the worldbuilding.

The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story

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  • Author: Michael Ende
  • Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
  • Awards: None found
  • First Book Published: 1979
  • Books: 1

Bastian, friendless, finds a beautiful book that pulls him into the doomed world of Fantastica. A young Empress requires a new name. But the journey to reach her is full of peril and will require great courage.

Like Frodo, this journey is full of ups and downs as magical creatures of both the good and the terrifying are met along the way. A wonderful classic.

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Series

The Dragonbone Chair: Book One of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn

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  • Author: Tad Williams
  • Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Adventure, YA
  • Awards: Numerous nominations
  • First Book Published: 1988
  • Books: 3 – begins with The Dragonbone Chair

Simon, a mere kitchen boy, becomes apprenticed into the League of the Scroll. Little does he know they are about to confront those behind the sinister sorcery threatening the Ostend Ard. With that, Simon is forced on an adventure that will take him far from the only home he’s ever known.

Why yes, another young lad that is taken from the kitchens and plunged into adventure. This epic fantasy series has sorcery and scholars, which should intrigue LotR fans. The worldbuilding is not short on detail, either, and bolstered by plenty of lore.

Beowulf

Beowulf (Signet Classics)

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  • Author: Unknown
  • Genre: Medieval fantasy
  • Awards: N/A
  • First Book Published: N/A
  • Books: 1

Originally written in old English, this epic poem is often considered the first novel of the English language. This old tale of a hero slaying a monster was a project Tolkien devoted years to translating. It is one of the founding texts that inspired Tolkien to build Middle-earth and create an epic tale. A story for a true Tolkien fan to embrace.

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