Terry Brooksó Shannara seriesó. The first was so obviously a Tolkien ripoff that I stopped. The tv series gave me a hint that maybe he eventually made his own story but I never went back to see. Anyone have an opinion on Shannara?
The first book was obviously heavily influenced. i would say the series deviated significantly and became its own thing starting with Brooks' second novel. I wonder a little if perhaps the similarity was influenced by Judy Del Rey -- she certainly requested artwork for the first publication that was heavily influenced by work the Hildebrandts did for LOTR. I found the annotated version (okay, the audiobook of it) very enlightening.
I have got a little past midway through the Shannara series. The world really has nothing to do with Tolkien or Middle-earth -- to the point that I question why he calls the races Elves, Dwarves, and Trolls.
It seems very much like different trilogies in the Shannara series have nothing to do with each other but later it becomes clearer that Brooks is trying to generate a millenia-spanning conflict between 2 fundamental forces.
The rules of magic don't seem to have any continuity but it doesn't seem like the magic fart conjuring that you see in Harry Potter, more akin to the enhancing of natural properties or subtle influencing that Tolkien and Scandanavian myths used (leaving aside the magical singing from skalds).
BTW, Brooks' Magic Kingdom
series is quite different and has no evidence of borrowing from Tolkien.
Obviously, Tolkien had a huge influence. Before his works, there really hadn't been any serious adult-oriented fantasy. Having said that, a lot of classic SF/F authors don't exhibit any Tolkien influence. Even among contemporary writers, Larry Correia's Monster Hunter
and Grimnoir Chronicles
series (which are both kind of a blend of science fiction and fantasy) and David Drake's Books of the Elements
and The Isles
series are distinct.