on December 4, 2000
I gave this book 3 stars because I am undecided on its quality. The story is undeniably fantastic, but Scott Truesdell's review of the October 1988 edition worries me. I have seen this set in my school library, and I was quite satisfied with it. The binding did not strike me as faulty, and the artistry on the cover was quite satisfying. True, the map is awkward to unfold, but anyone with enough patience and reverence will manage just fine. I have experience with just this situation, for the map in my collector's edition has the same problem, and though it did rip a little, I can open the map as often as I need. About the ink splattered throughout, I can only hope that Mr. Truesdell was unlucky in his particular case. I plan to buy this particular edition, and I thank Mr. Truesdell for his warning, but I hope that it will not deter everyone from buying what I expect to be a good purchase. I, for one, am heading back to the library to check the points that he despised, possibly saving myself the disappointment he experienced. I will write again when I form a conclusion.
on June 23, 2000
I know that I will probably go to hell for saying this, but I do not understand why Tolkien remains so popular.
Don't get me wrong, I can not deny the man's intelligence nor the work he put into his stories. However, the fact is, if Tolkien were to publish his "Lord of the Rings" series today, it would undoubtedly flop.
His plot is cliche. Yes, I know that it is the protype for most fantasy books today, and in his day it may have been original-- but not now. His characters are flat. People rave about Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo and Strider, but can they compare to the type of characters we demand from modern authors who show us every characteristic quirk, gesture, opinion, thought and history of their personalities-- and at the same time not telling or showing us too much? Tolkien also packs his stories with details that modern authors could not get away with today. You think Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind could tell a story and describe every tree, fern, hill, rock, road and river and expect their books to still be popular? No. Not anymore.
It took me forever to read this book. I found it slow and often boring, but I read it because this was Tolkien-- the master. I believe that many writers feel the way I do, but are afraid to express their feelings for fear of being shunned for blasphemy. I have respect for Tolkien's stories and it is true that he is the father of modern fantasy, but his style is now extinct.
on December 24, 1998
Since many others have sung J.R.R. Tolkien's praises here, I will use my allotted space to suggest an alternative view of this writer. Having read the "official" paperback edition of LOTR several times, I am also interested to know whether any reader of both that and this hardcover edition has found differences. There are glaring typos and other editorial mistakes in the paperback edition; have these been corrected? For example, in "The Council of Elrond," Boromir says that he was sent to seek "Elrond and Halfelven," which should obviously be "Elrond Halfelven." I have seen this mistake corrected in another edition, so I know that it was unintentional.
But what of Tolkien the writer? Though I hold him in highest regard as a storyteller and master of the English language (those versions indigenous to England, anyway :^), I cannot overlook consistent evidence in his work of his being a real bastard.
To wit, Tolkien has a most classic virgin/whore complex. In all his works (from Smith of Wooten Major to The Silmarillion to LOTR), women either 1) weep, give birth, chatter incessantly (Ioreth) and hide in caves (Algarond), or 2) are goddesses of incalculable beauty and mystical power, fierce and fey warriors, or (in spider form, Shelob) the most hideous, powerful demons.
With rare exception, evil characters are "black," "yellow," "slant-eyed," and "swarthy." Good characters are "fair," "white," "golden-haired," "blue-eyed," and at worst having "jet hair with sea grey eyes" (or some such.)
Lastly (for this writing), Tolkien was a staunch classist. Endless references to class, birthright and 'knowing one's place' permeate his works. I can't go on; it's sickening!
on July 23, 1998
I thought that this book, the last of the Lord of the Rings series, was a slight disappointment. I had been reading the LoTR from the Hobbit onward and I thought the climax was rather anticlimatical. It was too quick, too "easy". We readers suffered the anquish of transporting the Ring from the Shire all the way to Mount Doom. But I think the Mount Doom episode was too hasty. I was expecting a final showdown - perhaps a greuling battle - that did not occur. The chapter left me very hollow. "What? That's it? The deed is done and there's over a hundred pages left?" No doubt, Tolkien was tiring from writing this massive epic and it seems he cut a few corners at the end. Perhaps some Tolkienophiles take this as blasphemy, but nonetheless, I was very capitivated by the LoTR epic and I feel the book could have received a better climax. Of course, if you've read the first two books in the triology, no doubt you'll want to read the finale. Perhaps my opinion! will change when I inevitably reread the series in the future.
on January 27, 1999
But perhaps I'm missing something. Perhaps my little brain is too demanding of logic and order. If I come to a description of a waterfall, the water must fall in no other direction but down. I feel I'm missing something for a good reason. From the documentary on Tolkien, I sensed that he was an extraordinary man. Extraordinary in that he had a true grasp of that melodic beauty of England ... how it's people and landscape had co-existed for so long. This is the "melody" that plays in the background of his many stories. I feel that they memorialize the England that's now almost dead.
It made sense when I heard that one could sense an undertone of sadness in the usually jovial and happy Tolkien. One of the reasons for his melancholy, apparently, was the slow but sure destruction of the English countryside--part of the fading away of that Melody of England.
Perhaps those of us who didn't find beauty in Tolkien need to live a little longer.
on December 25, 2001
Lord of the rings as a book is supreme. It's my favorite book of all time. My boyfriend bought me (from Amazon.com) the collector's edition as a very much appreciated gift for Christmas. It's a beautiful work, visually and literary.
HOWEVER, there is a publishing misprint in the copy I received. This is no mistake, sadly. Chapter four of book 3 is printed in there TWICE. And Chapter five is completely missing! Chapter six begins midstream. I noticed when I was reading a conversation with the Ents and the next page started again with the Orcs.
Specifically Page 86 of the TWO TOWERS goes onward to page 55 instead of 87! And then the chapter is repeated and suddenly you go from page 86 to 119. I've double checked and triple checked, but that's the truth. I'm heart broken and confused this Christmas. How this mistake could have occured in a book this beloved is very frustrating for me.
on March 8, 2001
The first part of J.R.Tolkein's "The Fellowship of the Rings," is the first part of the series of, "The Lord Of The Rings." This novel, if you will, was both interesting but confusing. If you enjoy adventure and danger in a imaginative mind then you would definetly enjoy this book. I only rated it as three stars because it began, for me, a little slow and then it picked up. Once it picked up I found myself more tempeted to keep reading deep into the hours of the night. Then it would go back to being slow. After I got finished with the book I was happy I read it. I would often times put myself in the place of one of the characters. I agree with an aquentence of mine who says, "It's beleivable." I think the most interesting character is Sam, Frodo accomplis. I enjoyed the book, but I am not sure if I would want to read the rest of the series.
on October 12, 1999
Sorry, I think I'm unable to understand what is so great with this book. I began to read this book with very large expections and was so dissapointed. It tells nothing it doesn't wakes any sort of feelings in the reader. It is something you can read, but nothing more.
I admit that Tolkien was the first author to write this, the fight of good against evil, but sometimes this is not enough.
Anybody out there saying Tolkien can write? Me not. His charakters are plain, they are never facing any kind of decicion. There is either good or evil, light or darkness, but nothing in between.
AND he missed the end. After the coronation of Aragorn the book is over, but Tolkien keeps telling something.
The Lord of the Rings is something like a legend and its creation was "good" but its fame is larger than the truth.
on June 27, 1999
Is this a very good book? Yes. Was it the blueprint for most, if not all fantasy novels to come? Yes. Is it "the best novel of all time"? No. Not even close.
It's bloated and overlong; for a book with such a rich plot, there are EXTREMELY long passages where nothing happens at all. The first 200 pages or so could easily be trimmed to 75.
The characters rely on constant deus ex machinas to help them along with their quest. An example of this is when the small hobbit Merry faces off against the evil undead lord of the Nazgul, truly a terrifying character. Merry was lucky enough to have found the only magical blade in the world that could pierce his armor, and managed to kill him with a succession of lucky blows. At times it reads like a bad parody of itself.
It's worth one read, but not three hundred.
on January 15, 2004
This seems to be the only unabridged recording on CD which is enough of a surprise. Unfortunately, I find the recording only average. Mr. Inglis does an alright job and I concede that this is a very difficult piece to handle, but I agree with the 12/11/2003 reviewer who said that he sounds bored at times, too sing-song at others. I would add to that that he doesn't do a good enough job of adopting well-distinguished voices for each character. If you have had the pleasure of hearing any of the Harry Potter books performed by Jim Dale, you will be disappointed, as I was, by this one. Nevertheless, for now, this is the only way to listen to the pure, unedited Tolkien.
Also, I just discovered, my copy of FotR has two disc 16's and no disc 15!!! Tried playing each to see if it was just a labelling problem - they are the same disc.