Hello everyone! Welcome back to the new and improved Cover to Cover! There was a quick and kind of unexpected rebrand last week. My boyfriend found a new host for my blog that was ultimately better than Wix. While Wix is still a great website building tool, I didn’t want to have to pay for all the cool add-ons. And with this new host, everything just looks so much smoother and honestly more professional. This will definitely be better in the long run as well with a lot of cool features that I can implement as needed. I especially love how it looks on your phone. I feel like the mobile set up is just so much better, and I love it so much. All my past blogs are up on the site now, so you’ll be able to go back and read past reviews!
But I digress, and as you can tell from the title, I have a book review for you today! The first of 2022! I do want to say first that The Lord of the Rings is one book. It was written as one book, BUT J.R.R. Tolkien did write it in six prominent sections. I know. However, when it was first published, the publishers decided to split it into the three major sections we know today (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King). They split it into three sections to 1. Save money on paper and 2. To keep the price low. So, while it is one book, I will be dividing it into three books and write three separate reviews. Mostly because I have the most beautiful box set and with amazing cover art. I will hopefully be able to find a picture of the cover I have online which you would have been able to see when you clicked on this post.
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, I do want to share some facts about the book that I found online while doing some research! LOTR was first published in 1954, and it took Tolkien about 12 years to write. Whereas The Hobbit only took about 2 ½ years. LOTR was also banned in some U.S. states because it was considered to be satanic. I don’t believe it is banned in states anymore, as that is now a very rare reaction… Most People allude LOTR to WWI since Tolkien did fight in it. After reading the first book, I do see how people can allude to WWI, and I’m sure as more battles happen it will become more apparent. And WWII did have an impact on Tolkien’s writing as well; his son was stationed in the RAF in South Africa where he would send fragments of his story to his son to read and review. I don’t know why but I just love reading interesting facts about this book series. I could go on and on about it, but I won’t since we haven’t even gotten to the review. So, let’s officially get into it.
In the first installment, Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo Baggins sets out on his quest to deliver the ring to Mount Doom in Mordor. But Frodo isn’t alone in his quest, he has the help of Sam, Merry and Pippin, Gandalf, Legolas, Aragorn, Gimli, and Boromir. Together they set out and help Frodo find his way to destroy the ring, but by the end of the novel the group has been split.
Since there are a lot of characters you would think it would be hard to remember everyone, but everyone kind of has their own little introduction. Tolkien doesn’t introduce them all at once which I think really helps. In the beginning, its just the hobbits, then we meet Strider, then Legolas and Gimli, and then Boromir. And I’m pretty sure everyone knows or has at least heard the name Gandalf before.
So, the characters are explained, and we are provided a firm grasp of who they are. Everything else is also explained in the book. What I mean is, the whole back story about the ring, the coming of the dark days, who Sauron is, any time Frodo and company travel somewhere new we are given their history, etc. There is a lot that happens in the books, but each chapter is something new. I will touch on this later, but the chapter are so long because it begins and ends one segment of their journey. By the end, there is a full wrap on that leg of the quest, and they are moving on or getting ready to move on to the next destination. I think that also helps with how much information we are given. There is a nice divide between everything,
Some of the things I really liked about this book were the characters and the world building. I think each character is just so iconic in their own way and each has a very prominent personality. There’s not any mixing up or forgetting who is who etc. And Tolkien is also very descriptive, so you know exactly what Middle-Earth and what each kingdom looks like.
Another thing I really like was the character development of Frodo. I think by the end of the Fellowship of the Ring he is more like Bilbo. He knows what he needs to do, and while he is scared and would rather have someone else deal with the ring, he understands that the job is his to bear. And I see a lot of Bilbo’s courage in him in just this first part of the book. Just at the end of this book, Frodo is ready to set out to Mordor, THE SHADOW LAND, THE LAND OF THE ENEMY by himself. I could never.
Although, there was a lot I liked so far, there are a couple of things that I didn’t like. One being just how long the chapters are. Most of them are about 30 pages long. There are some (but few) that are 10-15 pages long, but majority expand to the full thirty. Again, I understand why. It’s the beginning and end of whole segment, so there needs to be enough time for a problem to develop, the problem to be solved, and to move on to the next place.
Which leads me to my next point, Tolkien’s writing can be very long winded. There are sections of just pure description that last a whole page(s) and it reminds me a lot of Charles Dickins’ writing. Which is fine, but sometimes I just had to skim.
I do have to say though because there are such long chapters, it does make it seem like you are moving through the book faster than normal. Or maybe that’s just me.
The only other thing I want to bring up is not really a con, but I still find it worth mentioning. There are references to The Hobbit. It’s not imperative that you read The Hobbit before reading LOTR. However, I feel like when those references do happen and you haven’t read it, it’s like being excluded from an inside joke. You just have to move past it, AND you don’t get the joy of recognizing those references and calling back past scenes and characters from the other book. Does that even make any sense?
Overall, I give this installment 4/5 stars. I plan on rating each installment and then rating the whole book overall. So far, I do have to say that I enjoyed The Hobbit more, but I am not too set in my opinion yet. There is still a lot of content to read!
Alright, folks! It’s been a pleasure as always, but I think this is a good place to end the review. Come back next week for another post and thank you for reading!