At long last Peter Jackson’s first installment of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit opens today. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first of a trilogy to be released over the next three years—which means fans will have a bit of time to wait. And while you’re waiting we’ve got a few great fantasy reads to keep you busy.
Looking for more of Tolkien himself? Explore the mythology of Middle Earth in The Silmarillion. Or check out The Children of Húrin, another epic tale of good versus evil set in the early days of Middle Earth.
Bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay began his career working with Tolkien’s son to edit The Silmarillion, and Kay’s first solo trilogy The Fionavar Tapestry (beginning with The Summer Tree) plays neatly with some of Tolkien’s themes and styles. He pulls five unsuspecting college students into a world of high fantasy where they have a role to play in its epic battles.
If the detailed history in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings appeals, try “The Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson starting with The Eye of the World. Or, of course, there’s George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series beginning with A Game of Thrones.
If the quest is the thing for you, try Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicles” starting with The Name of The Wind where the most notorious wizard of his time, Kvothe, tells the story of his life from his idyllic start among a gypsy-like group of travelling players to his first years at a magic collegium. And as an added note, the audiobook for this is fabulous!
Still looking for more authors? Try the story collection After the King: Stories in honor of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Martin H. Greenberg. It includes stories by Stephen R. Donaldson, Andre Norton, Dennis McKiernan, Judith Tar and Patricia A. McKillip, just to name a few.
Are there other titles or authors you would suggest?
Jessica T., Public Services Head at CADL Downtown Lansing