Looking for a classic fantasy adventure with trolls, giants, witches, and magic items!

huntsman79

Got in a fistfight with Dresden
#1
TLDR: Looking for a classic fantasy adventure with trolls, giants, witches, and magic items! A male hero on a quest through an enchanted land using magic artifacts, his wits, and sword to save the day. Could be portal fantasy or YA! But want it to be in a a medieval Europe type location. Not real world.



Like many my main and first exposure to the fantasy genre was Lord of the Rings. For me it was the movies. I loved them. A hero armed with a magic sword goes on a journey to far off lands. There were enchanted forests of tree people, trolls, and giant spiders. It felt like a fairy tale in some ways.

So years later I decide to see what else is out there, wanting more stories like this with that classic fantasy menagerie, but slowly realized LOTR was a true exception. I expected to have my pick of ordinary adventurer with magic sword encountering the magical fairytale like beings. I expected sea monsters and fairies and witches and mushroom dwelling mysterious hermits. But found pretty much nothing. I even searched in YA. Still it seemed like that almost fairy tale like wonder was impossible to find. Sure I found sword and sorcery, but most of it was like an action movie about a badass warrior. Not much sense of wonder and discovery or a true epic journey. Other series I tried were all about war and militaries and politics. Very little magic and no real fantastical menageries.

Now look obviously variety is great and I know folks love sword and sorcery as well as the more military focused epic tomes. And I’m by no means talking bad about the genre at all.

I’m just saying I’m surprised there aren’t more options for the more fairy tale like classic hero’s journey and expected more classic fantasy/fairy tale beings. I expected more magic cloaks, and boots of leaping, and forest giants, and pirate attacks, and treasure chests holding a magic item, and ghosts, and skeleton warriors and flying horses. Journeys across frozen mountains and desserts and swamps of the dead and enchanted forests with dryads. Getting kidnapped by bandits, rescuing the damsel, solving riddles, escaping labyrinths.

Anyway, I guess I went in to this genre with inaccurate expectations. There are a lot of good novels needless to say. I’m just more surprised than anything.
 
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afa

Journeyed there and back again
#2
Not exactly the same, but have you tried any books by Brandon Sanderson? Specifically Mistborn has some of the elements you want, though the magical creatures are of a different sort and not necessarily trolls, elves, dwarves, etc. It's not a quest story, per se, but it does revolve around the protagonists trying to take down a quasi-Dark Lord figure.

You could also try The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, which is also a "hero on a quest" story, and is quite heavy on magic, though perhaps not so much with magical creatures (from what I remember). It, too, has a Dark Lord that the heroes are trying to take down. The protagonists all come from a small, secluded town, so there is plenty of "wonder" as they go out and discover the wider world. Be warned, though, that WoT is a massive commitment, and is 14 books long. And they're 14 big books.

Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams is also a quest story. I haven't personally read it (yet) but it's quite highly regarded, with many accomplished authors, like George R.R. Martin, citing it as an influence. Speaking of Martin, his A Song of Ice and Fire (on which the show Game of Thrones was based) is good, but quite dissimilar to LotR. It does have magical creatures (giants, witches, the Others, even dragons) and, like LotR, magic is present but rare and mysterious, but it's not a quest story and is much more focused on political machinations. It's also a lot darker and more R-rated than LotR.
 
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afa

Journeyed there and back again
#4
Appreciate the effort, but yeah none of these line up really. So crazy how rare these type books really are.
Well, the only others I can think of right now are The Chronicles of Narnia, which probably fits the requirement but is aimed at a younger audience, or the Shannara series by Terry Brooks, specially the older ones. In fact, the first book was actually criticised for being too derivative of LotR (which I have read and can confirm is true), but the series apparently gets much more original and holds its own after that (which I haven't read and cannot confirm).

There's also The Belgariad by David Eddings. I haven't read it, but it's also popular. Note, though, that David Eddings and his wife were grade A pieces of shit, died over a decade ago and are undoubtedly burning in Hell as we speak, so that may or may not affect your desire to read anything they've written.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#5
Like afa mentioned, one valid criticism of the genre has been the sheer number of "Tolkien-clones." The bfb list only has 10, and they seem to be judged based on quality more than based on similarity with LotR, but the public list at the bottom has 25 entries http://bestfantasybooks.com/best-of-the-tolkien-clones.html A lot of the most egregious clones are pre ~1990, so if you're looking for Tolkien-clone + new, that might be where you're reaching a dead end.

Can you share the names of some of the things you've tried?
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
#6
Thanks for the link @Darwin. I didn't realize we had a special "Tolkien Clones" list, in addition to the many other lists.

@huntsman79 I recommend you go through the link shared above. I'm happy to note that the top two suggestions there are series I mentioned, which suggests maybe I'm not as ignorant as I feared. :D And other than that, you should browse through the various other lists, too. Most of the lists haven't been updated in a few years, but there are still a ton of recommendations there to suit all manner of tastes; for sure, you should be able to find a lot of good suggestions.
 

huntsman79

Got in a fistfight with Dresden
#7
Thanks for the link @Darwin. I didn't realize we had a special "Tolkien Clones" list, in addition to the many other lists.

@huntsman79 I recommend you go through the link shared above. I'm happy to note that the top two suggestions there are series I mentioned, which suggests maybe I'm not as ignorant as I feared. :D And other than that, you should browse through the various other lists, too. Most of the lists haven't been updated in a few years, but there are still a ton of recommendations there to suit all manner of tastes; for sure, you should be able to find a lot of good suggestions.
love this site. Been through those lists several times. Great resource. I guess at the end of the day I’m looking for an adventure dealing with British mythology/folklore. Not orcs and elves as much as trolls and giants and griffons, etc. Touch of a Fairytale feel is ok. As is YA, older books, and even tropey ones. I just have this image of a tunic wearing hero holding a magic sword or magic horn in an thick enchanted forest with a huge moss covered troll in his path. A real tale.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#8
Yes, looking at this list, that makes a lot of sense, specifically the first entries, "Wheel of Time" and "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn".

Also, (while not a Tolkien clone) I would definitely also suggest to you, Huntsman, to look at "A song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin, better known as "A Game of Thrones", if you have not yet seen the series or read the books.

Additionally, but a little more "gritty", would be Daniel Abraham's "Dagger and Coin" series.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#10
Interesting.

The first list, "The most obvious Tolkien Imitators" has J.R.R. Tolkien himself, with "The Fellowship of the Ring", the first book of his "Lord of the Rings" saga, in place 11. :wideyed:
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
#11
Interesting.

The first list, "The most obvious Tolkien Imitators" has J.R.R. Tolkien himself, with "The Fellowship of the Ring", the first book of his "Lord of the Rings" saga, in place 11. :wideyed:
Technically true. Of all the people who have tried to be Tolkien, no one has done as good a job of being Tolkien as Tolkien.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#12
TLDR: Looking for a classic fantasy adventure with trolls, giants, witches, and magic items! A male hero on a quest through an enchanted land using magic artifacts, his wits, and sword to save the day. Could be portal fantasy or YA! But want it to be in a a medieval Europe type location. Not real world.



Like many my main and first exposure to the fantasy genre was Lord of the Rings. For me it was the movies. I loved them. A hero armed with a magic sword goes on a journey to far off lands. There were enchanted forests of tree people, trolls, and giant spiders. It felt like a fairy tale in some ways.

So years later I decide to see what else is out there, wanting more stories like this with that classic fantasy menagerie, but slowly realized LOTR was a true exception. I expected to have my pick of ordinary adventurer with magic sword encountering the magical fairytale like beings. I expected sea monsters and fairies and witches and mushroom dwelling mysterious hermits. But found pretty much nothing. I even searched in YA. Still it seemed like that almost fairy tale like wonder was impossible to find. Sure I found sword and sorcery, but most of it was like an action movie about a badass warrior. Not much sense of wonder and discovery or a true epic journey. Other series I tried were all about war and militaries and politics. Very little magic and no real fantastical menageries.

Now look obviously variety is great and I know folks love sword and sorcery as well as the more military focused epic tomes. And I’m by no means talking bad about the genre at all.

I’m just saying I’m surprised there aren’t more options for the more fairy tale like classic hero’s journey and expected more classic fantasy/fairy tale beings. I expected more magic cloaks, and boots of leaping, and forest giants, and pirate attacks, and treasure chests holding a magic item, and ghosts, and skeleton warriors and flying horses. Journeys across frozen mountains and desserts and swamps of the dead and enchanted forests with dryads. Getting kidnapped by bandits, rescuing the damsel, solving riddles, escaping labyrinths.

Anyway, I guess I went in to this genre with inaccurate expectations. There are a lot of good novels needless to say. I’m just more surprised than anything.
Your search criteria pretty much defines Tad Williams Memory Sorrow and Thorn as mentioned by Derk and book one The Dragonbone Chair. It is precisely what you are looking for. The Red Knight by Miles Cameron satisfies your criteria as well.
 
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huntsman79

Got in a fistfight with Dresden
#13
Your search criteria pretty much defines Tad Williams Memory Sorrow and Thorn and book one The Dragonbone Chair. It is precisely what you are looking for. The Red Knight by Miles Cameron satisfies your criteria as well.
What about the other books in the MSaT series. Also, isn’t The Red Knight pretty military/war/politics heavy as opposed to quest/adventure?
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#15
What about the other books in the MSaT series.
Typically, when we suggest a series, we mean the whole series (at least I did when I suggested this).
f the first book is good, most people want to find out how it all ends.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#16
Technically true. Of all the people who have tried to be Tolkien, no one has done as good a job of being Tolkien as Tolkien.
I agree, but that would put him at #1, not #11 on the list.
 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
#19
really? Great. What can you tell me about it? Heavy on magic/creatures/questing light on war/military?
It starts out as a typical farm boy/chosen one story but there are twists to that. Lots of war/battles and good vs evil. Has giants, wyrms, and wolven. Very tropey but tropey done well.
 

huntsman79

Got in a fistfight with Dresden
#20
It starts out as a typical farm boy/chosen one story but there are twists to that. Lots of war/battles and good vs evil. Has giants, wyrms, and wolven. Very tropey but tropey done well.
Lots of war is unfortunately what I'm trying to avoid. I much prefer the questing/adventuring side of things.