Ann Rice's vampire chronicles are great. "The vampire Lestat" is by far the best-leading into Queen of the damned.
Been contemplating picking up the first in the wheel of time series for a while now. Maybe next time I'm in Waterstones I'll pick it up.
No one will ever be shown in the same light as Tolkien. He created/defined what Fantasy is. Without him there would be no D&D etc. Also the thought behind Middle earth was tremendous. Its like a fantasy pre-history/mythology of Europe. The Shire is in fact oxfordshire, Mordor is where the black sea would be, moria = the Andes etc. The themes of power and corruption are universal too. blah blah could go on..
Not that I'm bashing George R. Martain or anyone else. Just Tolkien got into the top slot first, I don't think anyone is going to shift him. And a lot of these writers either took inspiration from Tolkien, or from a source inspired by Tolkien.