October 08, 2011

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

Ok, so I have to say that I enjoyed this book better than "The Hobbit" but it still was a very hard read for me. Somehow I have never read these books until now and starting them as an adult, I think I may get something very different from them than most people do who were introduced to the series at an earlier age. While I admire Tolkien's imagination, I still find some flaws with this book. I've also seen the movies before reading which could also serve to change my views on the book.

We start in the Shire where Frodo Baggins has just inherited Bilbo Baggins (another hobbit we learn about in "The Hobbit")house, furniture, and most especially, a prized ring, after Bilbo has disappeared suddenly and plans to go off traveling again. For years Frodo doesn't worry about the ring and enjoys his time in the Shire just getting along alright. However, Gandalf the Grey wizard returns and gives him some history on this tiny little ring that is very surprising. It is the greatest ring on Middle-Earth and dangerous. It's previous owner Sauron wants it back for his own and has started to send out evil creatures to get it back for himself. If that happens, the world is doomed. Trying to keep it away from the minions, Frodo and some friends, take a journey to the Elven kingdom of Rivendale where they join part of a fellowship that is going to take the ring back to the one place it can be destroyed, but right at the enemy's gates in Mordor. Accompanying Frodo are a few hobbits, an elf, Gandalf, a dwarf, and a couple of humans. They have to pass through much danger and tribulations to try to get Frodo away on his quest as he becomes the Ring-Bearer.

The characters in this novel are interesting, but to me, not enough time is spent on them. I would have loved to hear more about Hobbit's habits or the history of some of the other characters, but instead, the book spends more time detailing other things. Even the elves whom some may know about in the movie aren't described quite as well in the book. In fact, Arwen is barely in this book, which may disappoint some people. He did do a better job on Galadriel who actually did get a larger part in this book. Sam has always been my favorite character and I wish there was more of him in this book.

The writing is extremely descriptive and this bogs down the reader at points in the novel. There are so many names of places and things that we don't even visit in the book that are described that it can serve to confuse a reader and make them wonder why it was even mentioned in the first place. The scenery is described over and over as well which makes for reading that once in awhile I just had to put down as it bored me. My biggest complaint would be all the songs and poems though. I found them distracting and there were so many, I have to confess that I started just skipping over them so I could get on with the story. I might have missed something in the history or backstory because of this, and I would have much rather just had it written normally. That being said there isn't a great deal of violence in this book and not many things offensive either.

All in all I would probably give this book 3.5 stars. It has a great story but its hard wading to get through that story. But I'll move on to the next and see what The Two Towers has to offer.

The Fellowship of the Ring
Copyright 1954
458 pages

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