Talking about your favourite book is hard because it’s difficult to articulate the attachment you have with what seems to non-readers like just words on the page. I can’t believe I managed to do it for four posts this month, the last one being this of course! I really hope you enjoyed this series and whether you’re as big a Tolkien nerd as me or not, you took away something valuable from this. While The Lord of the Rings will remain my eternal favourite series, I’ve been searching far and wide for books that evoke the same feeling or have similar themes to it. Also, I recognise that it may not be the best book for every kind of reader, even if you’ve loved the movies. Here is my attempt to recommend 5 books that fans like me would enjoy and also for those who may not have liked the books but want something similar. Please be considerate of the fact that reading is a very personal experience, so it’s quite possible to respectfully disagree with my choices.
1. Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
Similarity: Journey element
If I had to pick my favourite book from 2017, it would be this one. While the world-building is definitely not on the scale of Tolkien’s works, the characters set out on a journey to the top of a mountain, except it’s a race. I loved this aspect so much but many people were of the opinion that the book was slow compared to other YA fantasies. I think fans of Tolkien will certainly appreciate it more because it gives a nostalgic feeling of reading The Lord of the Rings.
2. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
Similarity: War element
This is a rather recent addition to my favourites list. It comes with a page-long content warning, so please be aware of it before picking this book up. However, if you’re good to read this, it will truly blow your mind. It also deals with war and its effects but it does get more gory and horrifyingly descriptive than in Tolkien’s books.
3. Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Similarity: Antagonistic element
I picked this series up after a good IRL friend was gushing about it and it was as good as I’d hoped it would be! This is an incomplete 7-book series and I’m surprised that I’ve been fully caught up for years now because I’m usually bad at keeping up with new releases, which should tell you about how much I adored these books. The premise of the first book is the story that unfolds after The Dark Lord has won. The original trilogy put a unique spin on some classic Tolkien elements and some of the aspects of the world-building will certainly remind fans of Middle-Earth.
4. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy by Rick Riordan
Similarity: Mythological element
If you loved the races of Elves and Dwarves in the Tolkien universe, then you must check out the source material from which he derived these people. Norse mythology has been told and retold by countless authors but I love the fun element that Rick Riordan brings into his books, which makes the myths so easy to read and remember. He also incorporates amazing diversity and I love the representation in this particular series. One interesting fact is that the second book, The Hammer of Thor, is dedicated to Tolkien. I don’t think you’ll need more convincing after this.
5. Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor
Similarity: Stylistic element
This is my current read and the last book isn’t out yet, so I’m not sure how well it might fit in this list but the story so far seems to be the equivalent of a Man being invited to Valinor to help with a secret problem. I’d hoped to complete the book so I could have more to say about it. The reason I’m including this series despite that is because Laini’s descriptions remind me of the beautiful prose of Tolkien. Although they don’t write in the same style, there’s something about the way in which they string words together that makes me want to savour every sentence. They do slow down the pace of the story sometimes but I do appreciate that as a reader. If you’re interested in the book, now is the perfect time to pick it up as Catriona @ Little Book Owl is hosting a readalong for the entire series currently.
What books would be on your recommendations list? Have you done a ‘If You Like X Then Read…’ kind of post? If so, I’d love to check them out so feel free to leave links in the comments section below.