Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien Review

Title: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Classic
Series: The Lord of the Rings, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I bought an omnibus edition of this book and reviewed it.

I'll be honest: Tolkien and I haven't been on the best terms for a long time now. I bought this book ages ago, intending to read it, back in 2014, and I tried. Truly, I tried to take a stab at it. But it seemed muddled and heavy-handed to me, like a rock I was holding that was too heavy for me to lift. Add to that lots of intimidation and fear that I would hate it, because it is a classic, after all. Tolkien is essentially one of the modern fathers of fantasy. I got through to the second chapter on my first try and had to reshelve it. At the time, it seemed like too much to take on. Fast forward to a few days ago. My husband and I were standing in our living room, about to go visit friends. I was staring at my bookshelf thoughtfully. I tried choosing a few things, but I'd had no luck. So I turned to my husband for help. "I need something new to read. Help me?" He reached over to the bookshelf and plucked The Lord of the Rings off the shelf, putting it on the table. "How about this? You should try it."

Unable to resist the suggestion, I took it and began to read in earnest, and I'm so glad that I gave this book another chance. It took me a while to get past its sheer size and the language, but once I waded in, I could feel myself giving in to the story. And I really enjoyed it. It has the elements of every great story: rich mythology and worldbuilding, detailed descriptions of the setting, great characters, good and evil and everything in between. It also had breakneck pacing too, and I also loved the rich, constant history of Middle-Earth that served partially as a backdrop. It was pretty close to perfect, and here comes the unpopular opinion time in the review.

I didn't really like Frodo. I mean, I did. There were some parts of him that I really enjoyed: his sense of humor, his courage and bravery, his sheltered innocence, his kindness. But there were also parts of him that I didn't really enjoy: his tendency to lash out at his loved ones, his unfortunate habit of saying the occasional foolish things. But I suppose I should give poor Frodo some slack--every hero has flaws.

For me, though, my favorite character was and is by far, Samwise. I just love his patience and undying loyalty, and the way he loves his friends. He's definitely my favorite, with Aragorn, Pippin and Merry being close seconds.  But nonetheless of Frodo's few qualms, I'm definitely invested for the adventure! Thanks to my wonderful husband for the suggestion! Next on deck: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien!

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