It’s hard to beat Tolkien on my list of favorite authors. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are classics, and I think everyone should be forced to read them at least once a year until the age of eighteen when that choice would become optional. Strongly recommended, yes, but optional.
As you can see, I have strong feelings about these two works. It is difficult, however, to combine them for the purposes of a review. For that reason, I’ve split them. Having already focused on The Hobbit, I will now look at The Lord of the Rings.
As soon as I finished The Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien, I began The Lord of the Rings. Upon opening the first part, I expected to be reading more of the same style and types of adventures. Needless to say, I was in for a surprise. But a masterful one, in my opinion.
The style and pace of The Hobbit holds true as LOTR opens. We even meet up with an aged Bilbo Baggins as he prepares to symbolically and literally hand his adventures and heritage on to his young nephew, Frodo. But it doesn’t take long for that thin veneer of childlike fantasy to erode, giving way to a much darker and more intense storyline, full of foreboding and evil.
But perhaps most masterful of all was the speed at which Tokien made this transition. He didn’t spend more time in the juvenile world than was necessary, but neither did he rush to throw out the old. I’ve always marveled at the fine balance he struck, advancing to a completely new story without sacrificing the essence of its predecessor.
And, of course, since it was written by Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings was just as brilliantly wrought as The Hobbit. I would even venture to say that it was stronger, as I found every scene, every emotion, and every danger, more real than ever before. In fact, this was what launched my love for gritty fantasy novels.
But once again, I don’t know if I’ll ever again pick up The Lord of the Rings. Part of this is due to a lack of time: when I only have so much time for reading, I prefer to try something I haven’t read before. But part of this is because I don’t want to spoil the memory. I’ve done this before–picking up a childhood favorite only to find it lacking to an adult mind. I don’t want that to happen with The Lord of the Rings, so I choose to leave it in the past. Some things are better left there.
5 stars out of 5