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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventures & Fantasies Galore
Funny thing about The Lord of the Rings; it's almost exactly what you would expect from a SciFi fantasy. Wizards, dragons, trolls, sorcerers and so forth. For that matter the book should be fairly predictable... and it is. But I really enjoy Tolkien's writing style. He seems to know how to put together the entire story well and make it coherent and easy to follow...
Published on May 9 2002 by cabsix

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This rating is for the paperback edition only, not the actual quality of the books as literature, December 15, 2011
This review is for regular size paperback only, as far as the books themselves, of course they're classics. Unfortunately Amazon links their reviews to multiple versions of the same product (meaning you can write a review for an audio book and that same review show up on a paperback edition of the same title. It's really bad for music reviews, let me tell you!)...
Published 24 months ago by Mike London


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This rating is for the paperback edition only, not the actual quality of the books as literature, December 15, 2011, Sept. 1 2012
By 
Mike London "MAC" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is for regular size paperback only, as far as the books themselves, of course they're classics. Unfortunately Amazon links their reviews to multiple versions of the same product (meaning you can write a review for an audio book and that same review show up on a paperback edition of the same title. It's really bad for music reviews, let me tell you!).

If you should by this edition of HOBBIT/LOTR really depends on what you what for your money. I first purchased trade paperback editions of THE LORD OF THE RINGS back in the early to mid nineties. They're nice and more portable than, perhaps, other editions of the book if you looking for some quick reading on the beach/airport/wherever and they're economical.

However, these editions tend of have more misprints, are not as sturdy as other editions of Tolkien's classic texts, and the maps are just hell to look at. As any regular size paperback they are not as hardy as other, better found bound books.

The oversize paperback editions are better, but overall the books do not hold up as well or are durable as hard back editions. If you do want to read the stories though without having to worry about the shape the books are in then the regular paperbacks would be the way to go, as (for me anyway) I want to keep the nicer editions in relatively clean condition.

Given Tolkien's status of one of the world's most popular writers, I would recommend picking up nicer editions of these works anyway, as you can get them at reasonable prices and they are much better purchases than the paperback box sets. The only real drawback is there is no general uniformity between the editions of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS that I recommend, if that is important to you.

Douglas A. Anderson's THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT, is the definitive text of THE HOBBIT, has numerous textual annotations and examines in complete detail all the different revisions Tolkien made to the work in the subsequent decades after its initial publication in 1937.

For THE LORD OF THE RINGS, the most accurate text is the 50th Anniversay edition prepared by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. I have the one volume oversize paperback edition of LOTR and am quite pleased with it.

The only way I would recommend purchasing the boxset of these books is if they published The Annotated Hobbit and the 50th Annivesary LOTR text as a uniform set as those are the definitive versions, and personally I'd prefer to see all four volumes hardbound. I don't think I've seen a hardbound version box set of all four works, though there are plenty to be had of LOTR.

In summary, unless you are wanting cheap editions of these books, you will be better served by purchasing other editions of Tolkien's books
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
As that was only in regards to these actual editions of Tolkien's work and not reviews of the books themselves, I am also including my separate reviews I have written for Amazon of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Also included is an abandoned review I wrote for THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING all the way back in early 2000 but was never posted on Amazon, explaining how Tolkien's life work of THE LORD OF THE RINGS is NOT a trilogy but rather three parts of one work divided up for publishing purposes
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE HOBBIT Review - Inferior to THE LORD OF THE RINGS? I think not! No, just different!, April 7, 2000

The biggest problem with this novel is perception. Tolkien wrote this story for children; to be more specific, this was written for HIS children. There were several stories like this, but it was this, The Hobbit, that was his master achievement in children's literature.
The Lord of the Rings ( a single epic, NOT a trilogy) was written to cash in on The Hobbit's success. Tolkien wanted to get on with the more serious work of his mythology, and ultimately that is what happened with The Lord of the Rings. It became attached to his mythology, and became as important to him as The Silmarillion.

So delineation is required if you want to read this. Do not go in with the thought that The Hobbit is a "precursor" or any such nonsense to The Lord of the Rings. Think of it like you would think of any other children's classics: children's classics. If you take it on The L. R.'s terms, this is a failure, primary because it is not written to be like that. But, on the flipside, The L. R. is as much a failure in children's fiction. It is not children's fiction, it is epic fantasy, and one should not equate it with children's fiction. That is EXACTLY what people try to do with The Hobbit. They try to put it in the same type of genre or playing field as The L. R. They are both masterpieces, and I love them both dearly. But one is for children, the other with adults.

Of course, Tolkien is part of the problem. How many books do you know that is a children's book and has an adult sequel? Not very many. The Hobbit, scarcely 300 pages, was written and published in the children's market. He then talked to his publishers, and they wanted a sequel. So he began "the new Hobbit", as C. S. (Jack) Lewis so aptly put it. He was preoccupied with his mythology, and the sequel was drawn into it. So we have two works, spanning two different genres, and as far as surface connections go its little more than prequel/sequel. Instead of looking at The Hobbit as a prequel, a precursor to his ADULT masterpiece, an inferiour version, think of as his CHILDREN'S masterpiece. The Hobbit is top of the class in children's fiction, one of the few contenders against such other great children's works as Narnia and Wrinkle in Time. The Lord of the Rings, likewise, is THE crowning masterpiece of the fantasy genre, of which its influence is incalculable to that fantasy market. Both are as important as the other, just in different fields.

I haven't talked about The Silmarillion much. I have already reviewed it, so I won't go real in-depth here. But the same thing happened with it. People, expecting another Lord of the Rings, were inevitably disappointed with the Biblical style of the published version. If Tolkien wrote that book out in narrative form as he did Lord of the Rings, it would be ten times longer than Lord of the Rings. The biggest problem with Tolkien is people have to many preconceptions that are incorrect.

So, basically, in conclusion, think of it like this:

1. The Hobbit - Children's masterpiece. He scores big with this one.

2. The Lord of the Rings - a single fantasy, not a trilogy. (Tolkien was always quick to point that out). The Crowning achievement of modern fantasy.

3. The Silmarillion - the Bible of Middle-earth. Much more for students of his work than the causal reader.
.
.
.
.
.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
***** Despite vehement critical hostility, Tolkien is among our most important writers because the way he handles Myth, 26 Sep 2007

Over the past several decades, THE LORD OF THE RINGS has sold millions of copies and is commonly regarded as one of the most influential fantasy novels ever published. Many first time readers have began their trek into Middle-earth with Frodo and the Company of the Ring in recent years. What they will encounter there has been loved by millions of readers before them, and if they allow themselves to respond to Tolkien and his Myth will doubtless become a loyal and ardent fan of Tolkien and those furry-footed hobbits. What's also notable about THE LORD OF THE RINGS is, for a book as long as it is, many of its readers reread the novel many times over. Yet despite its enduring popularity, Tolkien is often held in complete disregard by the literary establishment.

The real question is why? In the literary climate that is characterized by modernism and post-modernism where the twentieth and twenty first century is a wasteland why does a "series" of fantasy novels become one of the most beloved works in modern times?

It's because the power of myth over the human imagination works wonders, creating a longing and a hunger that, Tolkien argues, is met by the Christian religion. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis are the flip-sides of the same coin, with Lewis giving us accounts of the longing and Tolkien providing the books that would create that longing. And what about the longing? It's that longing for Myth, that love for those beauties which Tolkien shows us in THE LORD OF THE RINGS. It's that longing that sets man apart from all other creatures in the universe: a craving for beauty and for joy. The German word for this longing is "senhsucht". In a time characterized by fast-food, cell-phones, materialism, superficiality, the account of a Hobbit working against all odds in a mythic landscape so captures the human imagination (and this is NOT hype) that an entire genre is created. It is because of how Tolkien so masterfully handles Myth that he has been so highly treasured by such a large fan base.

Still, there are a few things to consider when reading Tolkien nowadays. Looking over the reviews, it proved rather shocking to me that people have been complaining that, although it was original when it was published, much of what Tolkien has done has become cliche and that other writers are much better working with these cliches and making them more exciting than Tolkien. They complain about his "endless descriptions" of the natural world, very detailed accounts of geography and not enough "characterization." The characters are unrealistic: the "human drama" required by the book's very nature is beyond Tolkien's scope as a writer. THE FELLOWSHIP is both uneven and very weak in pacing, with so much invested in the world and its history Tolkien forgets to make us care about the characters themselves. Another fault oft cited against Tolkien is the lack of "female characters," and there have been accusations that Tolkien is racist; one of my favorite misconceptions is that Frodo and Sam are homosexuals.

Academia has no time for Tolkien, and many of our key critics have denounced Tolkien as ill-written or escapist (Harold Bloom said that THE LORD OF THE RINGS is a period piece which will simply not die but just keeps lingering on long after its relevance. This is the stance taken by a lot of professional critics with a grudge against Tolkien, and wonderfully have been proven wrong). To this day, while not nearly as openly hostile as previous decades, academia in general harbors resentment against Tolkien and everything he's done. As far as they're concerned, he's done something that is actually popular and therefore unworthy of study. It's one of those "high-brow vs. low-brow" situations, and instead of producing "worthwhile" academic research, Tolkien instead writes a "series" of novels which become one of the most established authors of this century. In recent years, academic support has grown tremendously for Tolkien, but he is still a very hotly contested modern writer, unlike some other "academically undeniable" classics such as James Joyce. Unlike the academic favorites, Tolkien highly polarizes the professional literary establishment. Fortunately he has gained some ground here though.

Much of the complaints voiced against THE LORD OF THE RINGS are both unimportant and irrelevant. Tolkien is working with literary traditions not in-tune with the modern mind, but is instead handling narrative threads of Myth. Tolkien gives us solid archetypes to work with, bringing out the very qualities of masculinity and the beauties and stark wonders of femininty, but all expressed in mythological terminology. The idea of Sam and Frodo as homosexual is both ridiculous and totally unfounded. In Myth, good is characterized and seen as "White," and the evil is dark and perverted. Those who say Tolkien is racist approach him from the wrong standpoint.

As for the modern fantasy reader, those who complain about Tolkien's originality (while acknowledging it, but that later writers do a much better job with it) is like saying Shakespeare, while a good dramatist, is not that good because other people take his principals and make them more exciting, etc. I heard a story once about a person who went to see a Shakespeare play and went away complaining there were too many quotes in the play to make it any good. Shakespeare is the source of these quotes and he did not even realise it.

Most people know that Tolkien founded modern fantasy. Tolkien laid down the template for the fantasy genre in general, and anyone who reads fantasy has been touched, directly or indirectly, by Tolkien's work. Almost all of the major fantasy authors have acknowledge their debt to Tolkien, and the shadow Tolkien casts over fantasy literature is very long indeed. Because there is fifty years separating us from the original publication, it is much harder to approach THE LORD OF THE RINGS as those first reviewers, for those who have grown up reading fantasy literature are now accustomed to Dwarves and Elves and Dark Lords and Epic Quests, but when it was issued THE LORD OF THE RINGS transformed and invented an entire new genre. It is not Tolkien's fault that his vision of a mythology was so successful that everyone else decided they would try their hand at fantasy and work within Tolkien's templates. The main problem with fantasy authors in general are they are more interested in emulation than they are in true "myth-making." Much like early rock and roll, which, because rock was not an established form of music, the early musicians relied on other forms to create a new genre, Tolkien did not have this tradition to fall back on so instead he used various literatures and epic poems to create his own vision of myth. A lot of fantasy writers do not work in the context of myth any more, but rather rely on genre stereotypes which are generally found in Tolkien. Many readers who are interested in "pulp" fantasy get bogged down in Tolkien because he takes the time to fully explain his world and its cultures, because his goal is different. There is plenty of action in LORD OF THE RINGS, but those raised on the pulp fantasy will not care for it.

Ultimately, THE LORD OF THE RINGS's criticism has shown itself to be of little important on its durability as a major text. Ever since its publication in 1954, 1955, and 1956, LOTR has become one of the most important literary works our era has produced, highly regarded and passionately loved by an enormous amount of people. Despite the very vocal minority who despise Tolkien and his work, THE LORD OF THE RINGS has consistently topped the polls for the best book of the last one hundred years. Whatever the critics say, THE LORD OF THE RINGS is here to stay because popular imagination has grabbed hold of Tolkien's vision and ran with it. Tolkien and Lewis have been wonderfully vindicated in their belief that there is an enormous adult appetite for Myth and fantasy literature.

For many, it's more than a mere novel. It's a glimpse of the divine.

It is like water in a dry place.
.
.
.
.
.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE LORD OF THE RINGS is NOT a trilogy

I have been looking over the reviews THE LORD OF THE RINGS. There is one consistent problem that keeps jumping to my attention: the reviewers keep talking as if each volume in "the trilogy" is a self-contained novel. They are not actual novels. THE LORD OF THE RINGS is not a trilogy - it's a single novel divided into three parts for publication purposes. That's why they're published Part I, Part II, and Part III instead of Book I, etc.

When Tolkien wrote it and had it published by Allen & Unwin, Sir Stanley Unwin had doubts about its size and the market (remember, this was back in the 50s, and THE HOBBIT had been a book for children - now they have this book that has all the hall marks of a publishing nightmare). Instead of publishing it as a whole, they decided to divide the novel* into three parts. Because there were six subdivisions therein (although I might be mistaken, and these Books I-VI might also be publication impositions), they chose to publish THE LORD OF THE RINGS in three books. One purpose for this was to hide the sheer size of the book. The second reason for doing so was to get three reviews instead of one. Tolkien himself, however, always made it a point to tell people that it is not a trilogy but a single, unified work.

Although THE LORD OF THE RINGS basically invented the fantasy genre, from a publisher's standpoint, it was a dangerous gamble. It had to be sold at a high cost (21 shillings) to the reader, but Rayner Unwin (Sir Stanley's son) thought it a `work of genius', so they published it. Instead of usual royalty payments, Tolkien got half of all profits, which meant that if the book flopped (most probable) he wouldn't get anything, because the book had to pay for itself before either the author OR the publisher got profits. Obviously Tolkien came out far ahead on that deal than had he gone with a more traditional publishing arrangement with Stanley Unwin.
Comment | Permalink

J.R.R. Tolkien Boxed Set (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings)
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $18.69
Availability: In Stock
167 used & new from $8.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This rating is for the paperback edition only, not the actual quality of the books as literature, December 15, 2011

This review is from: J.R.R. Tolkien Boxed Set (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) (Mass Market Paperback)
This review is for regular size paperback only, as far as the books themselves, of course they're classics. Unfortunately Amazon links their reviews to multiple versions of the same product (meaning you can write a review for an audio book and that same review show up on a paperback edition of the same title. It's really bad for music reviews, let me tell you!).

If you should by this edition of HOBBIT/LOTR really depends on what you what for your money. I first purchased trade paperback editions of THE LORD OF THE RINGS back in the early to mid nineties. They're nice and more portable than, perhaps, other editions of the book if you looking for some quick reading on the beach/airport/wherever and they're economical.

However, these editions tend of have more misprints, are not as sturdy as other editions of Tolkien's classic texts, and the maps are just hell to look at. As any regular size paperback they are not as hardy as other, better found bound books.

The oversize paperback editions are better, but overall the books do not hold up as well or are durable as hard back editions. If you do want to read the stories though without having to worry about the shape the books are in then the regular paperbacks would be the way to go, as (for me anyway) I want to keep the nicer editions in relatively clean condition.

Given Tolkien's status of one of the world's most popular writers, I would recommend picking up nicer editions of these works anyway, as you can get them at reasonable prices and they are much better purchases than the paperback box sets. The only real drawback is there is no general uniformity between the editions of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS that I recommend, if that is important to you.

Douglas A. Anderson's THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT, is the definitive text of THE HOBBIT, has numerous textual annotations and examines in complete detail all the different revisions Tolkien made to the work in the subsequent decades after its initial publication in 1937.

For THE LORD OF THE RINGS, the most accurate text is the 50th Anniversay edition prepared by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. I have the one volume oversize paperback edition of LOTR and am quite pleased with it.

The only way I would recommend purchasing the boxset of these books is if they published The Annotated Hobbit and the 50th Annivesary LOTR text as a uniform set as those are the definitive versions, and personally I'd prefer to see all four volumes hardbound. I don't think I've seen a hardbound version box set of all four works, though there are plenty to be had of LOTR.

In summary, unless you are wanting cheap editions of these books, you will be better served by purchasing other editions of Tolkien's books
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
As that was only in regards to these actual editions of Tolkien's work and not reviews of the books themselves, I am also including my separate reviews I have written for Amazon of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Also included is an abandoned review I wrote for THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING all the way back in early 2000 but was never posted on Amazon, explaining how Tolkien's life work of THE LORD OF THE RINGS is NOT a trilogy but rather three parts of one work divided up for publishing purposes
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE HOBBIT Review - Inferior to THE LORD OF THE RINGS? I think not! No, just different!, April 7, 2000

The biggest problem with this novel is perception. Tolkien wrote this story for children; to be more specific, this was written for HIS children. There were several stories like this, but it was this, The Hobbit, that was his master achievement in children's literature.
The Lord of the Rings ( a single epic, NOT a trilogy) was written to cash in on The Hobbit's success. Tolkien wanted to get on with the more serious work of his mythology, and ultimately that is what happened with The Lord of the Rings. It became attached to his mythology, and became as important to him as The Silmarillion.

So delineation is required if you want to read this. Do not go in with the thought that The Hobbit is a "precursor" or any such nonsense to The Lord of the Rings. Think of it like you would think of any other children's classics: children's classics. If you take it on The L. R.'s terms, this is a failure, primary because it is not written to be like that. But, on the flipside, The L. R. is as much a failure in children's fiction. It is not children's fiction, it is epic fantasy, and one should not equate it with children's fiction. That is EXACTLY what people try to do with The Hobbit. They try to put it in the same type of genre or playing field as The L. R. They are both masterpieces, and I love them both dearly. But one is for children, the other with adults.

Of course, Tolkien is part of the problem. How many books do you know that is a children's book and has an adult sequel? Not very many. The Hobbit, scarcely 300 pages, was written and published in the children's market. He then talked to his publishers, and they wanted a sequel. So he began "the new Hobbit", as C. S. (Jack) Lewis so aptly put it. He was preoccupied with his mythology, and the sequel was drawn into it. So we have two works, spanning two different genres, and as far as surface connections go its little more than prequel/sequel. Instead of looking at The Hobbit as a prequel, a precursor to his ADULT masterpiece, an inferiour version, think of as his CHILDREN'S masterpiece. The Hobbit is top of the class in children's fiction, one of the few contenders against such other great children's works as Narnia and Wrinkle in Time. The Lord of the Rings, likewise, is THE crowning masterpiece of the fantasy genre, of which its influence is incalculable to that fantasy market. Both are as important as the other, just in different fields.

I haven't talked about The Silmarillion much. I have already reviewed it, so I won't go real in-depth here. But the same thing happened with it. People, expecting another Lord of the Rings, were inevitably disappointed with the Biblical style of the published version. If Tolkien wrote that book out in narrative form as he did Lord of the Rings, it would be ten times longer than Lord of the Rings. The biggest problem with Tolkien is people have to many preconceptions that are incorrect.

So, basically, in conclusion, think of it like this:

1. The Hobbit - Children's masterpiece. He scores big with this one.

2. The Lord of the Rings - a single fantasy, not a trilogy. (Tolkien was always quick to point that out). The Crowning achievement of modern fantasy.

3. The Silmarillion - the Bible of Middle-earth. Much more for students of his work than the causal reader.
.
.
.
.
.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
***** Despite vehement critical hostility, Tolkien is among our most important writers because the way he handles Myth, 26 Sep 2007

Over the past several decades, THE LORD OF THE RINGS has sold millions of copies and is commonly regarded as one of the most influential fantasy novels ever published. Many first time readers have began their trek into Middle-earth with Frodo and the Company of the Ring in recent years. What they will encounter there has been loved by millions of readers before them, and if they allow themselves to respond to Tolkien and his Myth will doubtless become a loyal and ardent fan of Tolkien and those furry-footed hobbits. What's also notable about THE LORD OF THE RINGS is, for a book as long as it is, many of its readers reread the novel many times over. Yet despite its enduring popularity, Tolkien is often held in complete disregard by the literary establishment.

The real question is why? In the literary climate that is characterized by modernism and post-modernism where the twentieth and twenty first century is a wasteland why does a "series" of fantasy novels become one of the most beloved works in modern times?

It's because the power of myth over the human imagination works wonders, creating a longing and a hunger that, Tolkien argues, is met by the Christian religion. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis are the flip-sides of the same coin, with Lewis giving us accounts of the longing and Tolkien providing the books that would create that longing. And what about the longing? It's that longing for Myth, that love for those beauties which Tolkien shows us in THE LORD OF THE RINGS. It's that longing that sets man apart from all other creatures in the universe: a craving for beauty and for joy. The German word for this longing is "senhsucht". In a time characterized by fast-food, cell-phones, materialism, superficiality, the account of a Hobbit working against all odds in a mythic landscape so captures the human imagination (and this is NOT hype) that an entire genre is created. It is because of how Tolkien so masterfully handles Myth that he has been so highly treasured by such a large fan base.

Still, there are a few things to consider when reading Tolkien nowadays. Looking over the reviews, it proved rather shocking to me that people have been complaining that, although it was original when it was published, much of what Tolkien has done has become cliche and that other writers are much better working with these cliches and making them more exciting than Tolkien. They complain about his "endless descriptions" of the natural world, very detailed accounts of geography and not enough "characterization." The characters are unrealistic: the "human drama" required by the book's very nature is beyond Tolkien's scope as a writer. THE FELLOWSHIP is both uneven and very weak in pacing, with so much invested in the world and its history Tolkien forgets to make us care about the characters themselves. Another fault oft cited against Tolkien is the lack of "female characters," and there have been accusations that Tolkien is racist; one of my favorite misconceptions is that Frodo and Sam are homosexuals.

Academia has no time for Tolkien, and many of our key critics have denounced Tolkien as ill-written or escapist (Harold Bloom said that THE LORD OF THE RINGS is a period piece which will simply not die but just keeps lingering on long after its relevance. This is the stance taken by a lot of professional critics with a grudge against Tolkien, and wonderfully have been proven wrong). To this day, while not nearly as openly hostile as previous decades, academia in general harbors resentment against Tolkien and everything he's done. As far as they're concerned, he's done something that is actually popular and therefore unworthy of study. It's one of those "high-brow vs. low-brow" situations, and instead of producing "worthwhile" academic research, Tolkien instead writes a "series" of novels which become one of the most established authors of this century. In recent years, academic support has grown tremendously for Tolkien, but he is still a very hotly contested modern writer, unlike some other "academically undeniable" classics such as James Joyce. Unlike the academic favorites, Tolkien highly polarizes the professional literary establishment. Fortunately he has gained some ground here though.

Much of the complaints voiced against THE LORD OF THE RINGS are both unimportant and irrelevant. Tolkien is working with literary traditions not in-tune with the modern mind, but is instead handling narrative threads of Myth. Tolkien gives us solid archetypes to work with, bringing out the very qualities of masculinity and the beauties and stark wonders of femininty, but all expressed in mythological terminology. The idea of Sam and Frodo as homosexual is both ridiculous and totally unfounded. In Myth, good is characterized and seen as "White," and the evil is dark and perverted. Those who say Tolkien is racist approach him from the wrong standpoint.

As for the modern fantasy reader, those who complain about Tolkien's originality (while acknowledging it, but that later writers do a much better job with it) is like saying Shakespeare, while a good dramatist, is not that good because other people take his principals and make them more exciting, etc. I heard a story once about a person who went to see a Shakespeare play and went away complaining there were too many quotes in the play to make it any good. Shakespeare is the source of these quotes and he did not even realise it.

Most people know that Tolkien founded modern fantasy. Tolkien laid down the template for the fantasy genre in general, and anyone who reads fantasy has been touched, directly or indirectly, by Tolkien's work. Almost all of the major fantasy authors have acknowledge their debt to Tolkien, and the shadow Tolkien casts over fantasy literature is very long indeed. Because there is fifty years separating us from the original publication, it is much harder to approach THE LORD OF THE RINGS as those first reviewers, for those who have grown up reading fantasy literature are now accustomed to Dwarves and Elves and Dark Lords and Epic Quests, but when it was issued THE LORD OF THE RINGS transformed and invented an entire new genre. It is not Tolkien's fault that his vision of a mythology was so successful that everyone else decided they would try their hand at fantasy and work within Tolkien's templates. The main problem with fantasy authors in general are they are more interested in emulation than they are in true "myth-making." Much like early rock and roll, which, because rock was not an established form of music, the early musicians relied on other forms to create a new genre, Tolkien did not have this tradition to fall back on so instead he used various literatures and epic poems to create his own vision of myth. A lot of fantasy writers do not work in the context of myth any more, but rather rely on genre stereotypes which are generally found in Tolkien. Many readers who are interested in "pulp" fantasy get bogged down in Tolkien because he takes the time to fully explain his world and its cultures, because his goal is different. There is plenty of action in LORD OF THE RINGS, but those raised on the pulp fantasy will not care for it.

Ultimately, THE LORD OF THE RINGS's criticism has shown itself to be of little important on its durability as a major text. Ever since its publication in 1954, 1955, and 1956, LOTR has become one of the most important literary works our era has produced, highly regarded and passionately loved by an enormous amount of people. Despite the very vocal minority who despise Tolkien and his work, THE LORD OF THE RINGS has consistently topped the polls for the best book of the last one hundred years. Whatever the critics say, THE LORD OF THE RINGS is here to stay because popular imagination has grabbed hold of Tolkien's vision and ran with it. Tolkien and Lewis have been wonderfully vindicated in their belief that the
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For !, Dec 19 2001
By 
Mathew Titus "Mathew Titus the Great" (Kluang, Johor, West Malaysia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The ONLY reason why I chose to buy this particular edition was because of the incredibly low price tag it carried for FOUR books. However, once the package arrived and I had worked my way past the first and second chapters (of the Hobbit) it became obvious WHY this particular printing had been such a steal.
For someone like me, who has read the ORIGINAL Hobbit (Unwin Publication), this edition was as close to a rip-off as one could get in the book-publishing world. Let me make a list here.
1. Typographical errors
2. The RUNES of the map are not correct either. It should read, "When the Trush Knocks", instead it reads,"Hwen the Trush Knocks"
3. The ENTIRE introduction by the author, (On Runes and their history, from where I learnt to read them 15 years ago) is MISSING! I wonder what anyone who reads this publication will think of Tolkien's runic writing without the authors guiding words.
Sadly, I have now lost the original Hobbit book (I lent it to a friend who lost it) so I will have to make do with the one from this boxed set. It's something. But it certainly WILL NOT PLEASE ANY FAN OF TOLKIEN.
If you are a Tolkien fan, or want to enjoy the TRUE magic of the Ring, DO NOT BUY THIS BOXED SET!!! This is strictly for the casual reader who cannot tell Tolkien from Eddings!
(...)
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do NOT buy this edition, Dec 21 2000
By 
Mark Warren (East Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
Everyone knows the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are wonderful stories, and I fully agree. The reason for my bad rating of this PARTICULAR edition of JRR Tolkien's works is that the books are riddled with typographical errors, some so severe that they change the meaning of sentences, effectively reversing the author's intent. One example: "The Breelanders locked their doors at night, which was also not unusual in the Shire." The word "unusual" should have been "usual"--i.e., the Shire Hobbits don't usually lock their doors at night. But exactly the opposite idea is conveyed by this typographical error! And there are many more errors where that one came from. I counted THREE errors on ONE PAGE! AVOID THIS EDITION at all costs!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventures & Fantasies Galore, May 9 2002
Funny thing about The Lord of the Rings; it's almost exactly what you would expect from a SciFi fantasy. Wizards, dragons, trolls, sorcerers and so forth. For that matter the book should be fairly predictable... and it is. But I really enjoy Tolkien's writing style. He seems to know how to put together the entire story well and make it coherent and easy to follow. Not a lot of complex language structure or vocabulary is used. Also to keep in mind, Tolkien is British so his language usage is different than American English. Hence, I found the poetry and songs somewhat childish but the one thing it does do is put you into the characters' shoes, so to speak. The greatest aspect of Tolkien's writing is the ability to put you at the "edge of your seat". Just when things seem to slow down and get boring, Tolkien jumps in with an ambush by the black riders or a raid by Orcs. This alone made me want to finish the book (I've read it three times up to this point in my lifetime). Main character development was good as well, but I missed reading some excerpts with Sauron directly speaking. All that the reader learns about him comes from the other characters. I suppose Tolkien had a good reason for doing this because Sauron is one of the major characters in the novel. I'm still searching for the answer. Overall, it is a good book and suitable for young people (age ~13 and up). I recommend it for anyone with an interest in fiction, not merely science fiction or fantasy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTING DRAMATIZATION OF A MASTERPIECE, Dec 13 2001
This review is from: Lord of the Rings (Audio Cassette)
IF YOU LOVE THE BOOKS, YOU WILL NOT BE PLEASED BY THE DRAMATIZATION HERE. TOLKIEN TAKES YOU INTO THE JOURNEY AND INTO THE STORY WITH HIS BOOKS. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS SET OF AUDIO BOOKS IS SOMEWHAT COMICAL. THE VOICES DO NOT MATCH THE CHARACTERS, THE SOUND EFFECTS BRING NO LIFE TO THE TALE. THE OVERALL PERFORMANCE TAKES AWAY FROM THE FANTASY, WHICH IS SO EASILY ENTERED THROUGH TOLKIEN'S BOOKS. I'M STILL SEARCHING FOR THE BEST WAY TO CLOSE MY EYES AND LIVE IN TOLKIENS AMAZING WORLD. I WILL LET YOU KNOW WHEN/IF I FIND IT HERE.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Story so amazing you have to read it, May 19 2002
By 
The Lord of the Rings is without a doubt my favorite book. As other reviewers have said, you either love it or you hate it. Most people enjoy it though and I think you'll be one of these as well. Some parts in The Lord of the Rings that are rather long and detailed but I guarantee that reading through these parts is well worth the effort. The book has plenty of heart stopping parts and there's a ton of excitement, you just have to hang in there through the dry patches. I think this compares well to modern works, such as Keeper Martin's Tale, and is a book that has no true equal in scope or magnificence.
The story takes place in time long ago, in a place called Middle-earth. Middle-earth is inhabited by many good peoples: Hobbits, Elves, Men, Wizards, Dwarves. There are also many bad peoples: Orcs, Trolls and Dragons. The main character is a Hobbit, Frodo Baggins. He's an unlikely hero, who like Bilbo Baggins before him, sets out on a wondrous journey. Only Frodo's journey is one of necessity and not one of a desire to explore.

Bilbo leaves Frodo the magical ring he acquired from Gollum (the nasty, froglike creature living in the depths of the earth). Gandalf the Grey, a powerful wizard, tells Frodo the Ring he possesses is, in fact, the One Ring. The One Ring forged by the evil Sauron to control and destroy Middle-earth. So Frodo, along with his friends Sam, Merry, and Pippin, sets out to destroy the Ring. The only way this can be done is to go to Mordor and cast the Ring into Mount Doom. Mordor is the land of Sauron and it is hundreds of miles away.
Along the way, Frodo and friends meet many others: Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, Galadriel, etc. You'll love and adore these as much as you love Frodo. When the book ends, you'll probably go back and reread this again and again. I can't express enough how real Middle-earth is because of Tolkien's vivid imaginatio. You have to read The Lord of the Rings. It has something in it for everyone, and the story is so amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An unparalleled masterpiece, May 16 2002
By 
Tom Hinkle (Tulsa, OK USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What can be said that hasn't already been said about Lord of the Rings? This is the best and highest achievement of all literature in the history of the English language, and I don't just mean fantasy literature. Tolkien was a quiet, unassuming genius who created a world of wonder, of magic, of mirth and dread, a world of ancient legend, of nearly forgotten antiquity, a world populated by a myriad of creatures and races, some obscure and some of great renown. That an unassuming, overlooked species known as hobbits would spawn one in whom the destiny of Middle-earth would depend is an amazing story for the ages. With wizards, elves, dwarves, orcs, and an unnumbered amount of other creatures populating this world, Tolkien provides the template for all fantasy storytelling (not to mention gaming) to follow. There is too much here to describe in such a short space, so I'll just say if you have not read this trilogy you are a poorer person for it. Get it, read it, don't just watch the movie series, read it! Now! What else can I say?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lord of the Rings, May 12 2002
I never realised there were so many North American readers of this book. LOTR is truly wonderful - BUT - you must take time over it and not rush it. I think that modern-day living drives people to read quick, instantly fulfilling books and magazines. With LOTR, if you look at some of the passages, they are real masterpieces. For instance, look at the passage where Gandalf is in conversation with a human riding a skeleton horse outside the gates of Mordor. It reads almost like a very intense verse from the bible: "...and he said 'I am the Mouth of Sauron'. But it was told that he was a renegade, who came from the race of those that are named the Black Numenoreans; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Saurons domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again, and becvause of his cunning he grew ever higher in the Lord's favour; and he learned great sorcery, and knew much of the mind of Sauron; and he was more cruel than any orc." Notice the repeated use of the word 'and', like in the Bible (I'm not religious myself)?? This is moving, timeless and great. Read it at your leisure and be absorbed. I've read it seven times or so. Although I enjoyed it more when I had all the time in the world, when I was a kid.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best books that were ever written!, April 29 2002
By A Customer
The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit are the best books you will ever read! They are written VERY well, with very good descriptions that lead your imagination from a quaint, bustling village, to an ugly, barren wasteland. The story is interesting from the first and once you pick up the series, you won't be able to set them down. Forget about lunch! In these books you can BE the characters, or share their hunger or delight by walking along side them. While reading them, you will begin to love and cheer for some characters and hate others. There are also lots of humor in them that even children will laugh over. I LOVE these books, and everyone that I know does too. They are a must read and deffinately beat Harry Potter! Beware, because once you read them, you will be hooked to them for life. They quit being books and become part of you. Great books for children and adults alike. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a set of books that can never be mastered by anyone else. They are a master series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnum Opus of a Great Soul, April 21 2002
By 
Mark Lee (Woodruff, UT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings about the time the author died in 1973. I've since read the Hobbit another four or five times, and his trilogy twice. I've read about everything else he's published.
John Ronald Ruel Tolkien was a quiet, peaceful man who was orphaned at a young age, raised by his parish priest, suffered shell shock during the Great War and later became a sensitive, loving father and husband, master of languages, friend of C.S. Lewis, and died complete. He was a man of faith who made up a world unrelated to his religion where the characters there, also, had to struggle against evil. That's what the Lord of the Rings is about.
While the movies look like they'll be good, please don't pass up the opportunity to bathe in Tolkien's printed word. There are so many sublime, powerful moments to be discovered. I was seized by racking sobs at the author's narrative of Sam contemplating the stars while Frodo slept in the heart of Mordor. Please take the time to read these books and find your own great moments.
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The Hobbit And The Lord Of The Rings: Boxed Set (movie Tie-in Edition)
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