Book Review #11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Days to Read: 30
Synopsis (taken from Waterstones.com): Continuing the story of The Hobbit, this is the first part of Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring a striking black cover based on Tolkien’s own design, the definitive text, and a detailed map of Middle-earth. Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power — the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring — the ring that rules them all — which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. Now published again in B format, J.R.R. Tolkien’s great work of imaginative fiction has been labelled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail.
My Thoughts: This is probably the longest it’s ever taken me to read a novel, but it’s The Lord of the Rings so it’s understandable. As much as I loved The Hobbit, I just could not get into The Fellowship of the Ring. It was probably due to a combination of things… the pages-long songs, the ridiculous amount of detail and the fact that the story dragged down to the pace of a snail at the beginning. I’ve heard warnings about the first book before, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. But despite my first impressions during the first half of the novel, I did enjoy it. If it wasn’t for my class, I probably wouldn’t have picked the book up — but I’m glad I can say I’ve completed it! The Lord of the Rings is just one of those series that any literature-obsessed person should try. It’s like climbing a mountain — sure, you might not be able to reach the top the first time you try, but with persistence and further tries, you will make it to the top. I had many days when I couldn’t possibly imagine reaching the last page, but after 30 days I did! The novel didn’t change my life, nor did it make me feel like I had wasted my time. I enjoyed my time with this first novel and, as unbelievable as it sounds, I actually couldn’t wait to start reading The Two Towers after I had finished it.
The idea of an epic quest to destroy the One Ring is original in itself, and I’m so thankful Tolkien put his ideas to print because without this saga, fantasy wouldn’t be the same today. But while the idea is fantastic, I did think the first novel that set up the story could have been tighter. The writing seemed to drone on and I couldn’t wait to get to Rivendell. The characters were all captivating in their own ways, and I found I really did care about what happened to them. But what really made me love the novel was the fact that Tolkien put so much love and passion into it. This was his life for so many years and he focused so much time into making this a novel unlike any other. The idea that he created his own languages for the novel and developed so many intriguing sets of characters (from Elves to Hobbits, Wizards to Orcs), is awe-inspiring! While I cannot say, as much as I wish I could, that this is one of my favourite novels, I can say that I have a new appreciation for Tolkien and can look at the saga with better eyes.
My Rating: 6/10