Title: The Fellowship of the Ring
Series: Lord of the Rings (Book #1)
Author: JRR Tolkien
Summary: In a sleepy village in the Shire, a young hobbit is entrusted with an immense task. He must make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ruling Ring of Power - the only thing that prevents the Dark Lord’s evil dominion.
Don’t let this less than perfect rating fool you! I love Lord of the Rings, and it is literally one of my favorite things on this entire planet. It’s beautifully written, has well-developed characters, and a storyline for the ages. I do wish it didn’t take so long for it to get going, but once it does, it’s worth it to have worked your way through to semi-boring parts in the beginning. I love the world Tolkien has crafted here, and this series holds a special place in my heart–I grew up with it always around! Rereading it now makes so incredibly happy, and I love living through the magic of this world.
What I Liked: Spoilers!
- I love all the characters in this book. Every single last one of them is carefully developed and has a distinct personality–especially in the fellowship. Each member foils the others in one way or another, and I love seeing them all interact with each other. Even within a species they’re all very different–none of the hobbits are alike (even Merry and Pippin are rather different), none of the Men are alike, and Legolas and Gimli are of a class of their own. They’re just…all of them are so well developed and I look forward to seeing them again during the rest of the series. I’m excited to see them develop further and watch how the Ring affects all of them, however indirectly.
- The world building is just…phenomenal! Tolkien created an entire universe here–more so than books we usually read that are of the alternate universe genre. In the back of my copy, there are maps upon maps of different places in Middle-Earth, and in his writing, he always talks about directions and places to go and landmarks–it just shows how confident he is in his world and the universe he’s created. I can picture each place in my mind perfectly–from the Shire, to Lothlórien, to Moria. I loved watching their world unfold around me as I delved further and further into the story.
- The writing itself is magnificent. Tolkein is a true linguist and has a way with words unlike any other. I stand in awe alone of the fact that he created his own entire language–several of them! Everything sounds so natural and realistic for their world, and when I come across a new word, it just seems to fit perfectly. His writing is just beautiful, in both dialogue and description–and that’s a hard thing for authors to accomplish! Generally, an author is really great dialogue and lacks a little in the narrative itself, or vice versa. But Tolkein has mastered both, and it’s just an amazing experience to read.
What I Didn’t Like:
- It took much too long to really dive into the story. The first 283 pages is basically the hobbits wandering around, trying to get to Rivendell. Even I, as a huge Lord of the Rings fan, found myself wondering when things were going to pick up again. I understand that a lot of what happened was totally necessary and built up the world and the story, but this is one of those rare cases where I’ll have to agree with the movie version more than this one. It just took too long to get into the actual plot and story, and starting out with thirty pages on the history of hobbits and their weed just isn’t a great hook!
Overall: There’s a quote from the Sunday Times on the back of my copy of the book. It reads, “The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read … The Lord of the Rings and those who are going to read them.” I agree whole-heartedly! If this isn’t already on your read or to-read shelf, what are you waiting for? Tolkien’s world and characters and story are all masterful and the product of an expert writer. You haven’t experienced true expertise until you’ve picked up one of these books, and once you start, you won’t be able to stop! It may take a little time and persevering through the beginning chapters, but it’s worth it in the end! I’m excited to pick up the next one and find out what awaits these characters and their stories. I’d recommend this to anybody–I mean anybody!