So, like me, you are sick and tired of hearing how good David Eddings is, or when Ann McCaffery's next release is upon us, or that there is no one like Ray Feist. Take comfort my friends, for there are authors far greater than those that mimic Tolkien's worn-out formula. Remember, these books contain subject matter and language more suitable for adults.
The second on the list has taken fantasy to a new level. If you haven't noticed George R R Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series by now, then go and buy it tomorrow. Martin will be the author that leads fantasy into the post-Donaldson era - the second revolution in fantasy literature - which alters the themes of fantasy; not just characters and setting. At the moment he has only written 4 instalments, A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) being the first. This series follows a number of different factions vying for power on a continent that is torn apart by the genocide of the previous ruling family. The writing is excellent and the suprises numerous. Some incest and alot of misuse of power apparent.
In my search for unique authors, I found Guy Gavriel Kay to be one of the most beautiful writers in the genre. He has a few series available, but his stand-alone novel Tigana is a masterpiece. The emotions he elicits from the reader through the pain and sorrow of his characters is overwhelming. Adult themes.
Another author whose writing style is superior to most is Gene Wolfe. His New Sun series, beginning with Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun' lacks a coherent plot at times, but his writing is very Dickensian. Wolfe is very different, his characters are believable because they are not stereotypical, they act with real purpose - death is a reality, not a fantasy. I find I occassionally re-read some of Wolfe's passages, so difficult language is really the only problem for younger readers.
For something a bit different, read Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. The first book Kushiel's Dart takes place in a familiar setting, with typical characters but if you can make it as far as half way, you will be rewarded. Some mild S & M!
In the 80's, Steven Brust started writing a series set completely within a city and its surrounds. Creating the new sub-genre Urban Fantasy, Brust's tales The Book of Jhereg follow the adventures of Vlad Taltos - part assassin, part racketeer and average sorceror. This is a very enjoyable read.