October 08, 2011

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Having only recently delved into the works of Tolkien recently for the first time, I have to say that I wasn't all that impressed with The Hobbit or The Fellowship of the Ring. While I thought that Tolkien had a fantastic and original idea for his time, his writing left much to be desired for me. I did however, enjoy The Two Towers more than the previously mentioned books despite it having a few flaws for me as well. The Fellowship of the Ring needs to be read before this book, and because of that, I am not going to recap what happens in that book for this review. So be forewarned, the following can contain spoilers for those who haven't read the first book.

Frodo and Sam had taken off for Mordor by themselves, leaving the rest of the Fellowship to its fate. They encounter the mysterious creature Gollum on the way and through capture, convince him to promise to be nice and lead them along the best path to Mordor. Gollum is a tricky character though and not the most trustworthy and leads Sam and Frodo closer to their peril. Meanwhile, Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli have set off in pursuit of Merry and Pipin, who were captured by Orcs. Along the way they come across the Riders of the Kingdom of Rohan, known for their horses, and in the midst of a terrible war. The war is with the white wizard turned evil, Saruman, and his army of orcs that his is unleashing on the Southern kingdom. They decide to help and turn the odds against this horrible force that is descending upon the land.

The characters in this book aren't quite as developed as in the first one. While we have plenty of background on the Fellowship characters from the previous book, we don't get much in the way of description for the Riders of Rohan or some of the other newer characters. I do have to say that Gollum is still my favorite. The interesting way he has of speaking and his interactions with the Hobbits are very interesting and a pleasure to read.

The writing is very descriptive in other ways and unfortunately this can make the book slow reading at parts. It would have been nice to have more character description as opposed to the multiple instances of describing scenery and legends that aren't even really pertinent to the story. I did find that this book had less song and rhyme than the other and I appreciated that as I tend to skip over them since they distract from the flow of the book. The book isn't very offensive either and despite having battles, not really violent.

I look forward to the last book and seeing if it will be my favorite out of all. My opinion has grown more positive with each book and I hope that it does improve.

The Hobbit
Book 1: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Two Towers
Copyright 1954
398 pages

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