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

Posted July 28, 2012 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Series: The Lord of the Rings #1
Published by Allen & Unwin on July 24th, 1954
Genres: Adult, Classics, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 531
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power except one — the One Ring that rules them all — which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task when Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must 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.

4 Stars

Oh hello there. Do not judge me for never having read this before. I feel guilty enough as it is. But here I am, reading the most classic fantasy series ever. I tried multiple times before to get into it but each time lost interest. Not this time. I found it surprisingly easy to read, while I had struggled with the prose before. And, not to toot my own horn, I feel like that shows personal growth in a way, since I’ve been reading so much lately.

As far as The Lord of the Rings goes, it’s such an epic story. As a fantasy lover, you can’t not like the story. I’ve seen the movies upwards of ten times, probably, as my family used to have all day LotR marathons. Which I will be repeating once I’ve finished reading the books.

And yes, because I saw the movies before reading the books, my judgment is tainted. I know. But I can’t help but feel like the movies are actually better than the books. This stems from a few important points.

1. The pacing is weird.

Seriously though. The pacing is weird. I was so confused reading it, especially when I was past halfway and they hadn’t even reached Rivendell yet. The whole scene with Tom Bombadil was so exhausting, I’m glad that was cut from the movie… But other than that, when they finally reached Rivendell, they seriously had 40 pages of almost pure dialogue, the Council. And then other scenes were really short. It all just felt a bit weird.

2. I miss character development and depth.

This was a seriously disappointing point. I thought that the book, which I always heard has “really long descriptions”, would provide amazing character depth. And that’s a really important element for me to be truly in love with a series. But here because there were so many characters, I found them all to be a bit lacking in the personality department. While there were really long descriptive paragraphs about the settings and the trees and the rocks and whatever, I just longed for character descriptives. The third person omniscient narration also contributes to the detachment. So anyway, I approve of the depth that we see in the movies and missed that here.

3. The songs are annoying.

Seriously. I don’t know how much I can say about this. But I can’t repeat it enough. The songs are annoying. It feels like filler material. Usually it adds nothing to the story. And it just felt awkward reading this poetry, which sometimes came off as corny rhymes.

Summing Up:

Anyway. I don’t regret at all reading it. It’s definitely worth a read. But I can understand why a lot of people struggle with it and give up. It’s not as beautifully written as one would expect of a story of this caliber. But still, the story is so good, it’s worth those 4 oranges.

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One response to “Book Review: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. Morgan

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt this way! Amazing story that lacked good characterization and pacing. I love love love the movies and think they are some of the only adaptations that might be better than the original book… I completely respect Tolkein’s imagination and storytelling but I’m not a fan of his actual writing. It was a struggle to get through all three and if I’m being honest, I never read the last 100 pages of Return of the King haha! But like you said, the series is a classic and I’m glad I read Fellowship too.