This week’s tour topic is: MONSTERS
MONSTERS are likely to lie in waste areas, caves, and old ruined cities. You can usually detect their presence by smell.
Once again, we have to go back and start with the classics, particularly Tolkien. Between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings you've got Smaug the Golden, Gollum (or Sméagol), the Balrog, Shelob the giant spider, and the Ringwraiths (or the Nazgul). So many contemporary authors have been influenced by those monsters, either paying them homage our outright following upon Tolkien's legacy.
R.A. Salvatore is one of those authors who have paid homage to Tolkien's creations, with his greatest monster being Lolth, the Spider-Queen. To be fair, Lloth was created by Gary Gygax as a monster of Greyhawk,but it's Salvatore who made her his own and made a character out of her through The Legend of Drizzt. The entire underground city of Menzoberranzan is dedicated to her worship, complete with a spider-shaped building where her priestesses are trained, called Arach-Tinilith.
This may be stretching the definition of fantasy a bit for some, but I'd argue that Stephen King's Dark Tower Saga is one of the defining fantasy epics of our generation. As for monsters, King is certainly generous with them, offering up Shardik the mechanical, malfunctioning, insane bear who guards the beams; and Blaine the Mono, the sentient, insane, murderous monorail that tries to hurl the ka-tet to their doom;
As far as current fantasy sagas go, the corelings (or demons) of Peter V. Brett's Demon Cycle are one of the most intriguing and most menacing monsters around. Rising each night to feast upon humans, the each have their own strengths, based on the element from which they arise - water, rock, fire, clay, snow, wind, and more. Of them all, the rock and fire demons are by far the most fearsome, although the mimic demon has a creepiness of its own.
Finally, sticking with the them of current fantasy sagas, I'm not sure there's a monster more interesting, more fearsome, and more imaginative than the Chasmfiends of Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive. Fifty-foot long crustacean-like creatures, they scrape their way through the chasms of the Shattered Plains, requiring entire armies to subdue them and harvest the gemhearts inside.