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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)
by J.R.R. Tolkien

It’s almost daunting to write a review of this. Even though this is considered the beginning of modern fantasy and kicked off the genre and a bunch of copy cats, this isn’t, in my opinion, the best fantasy ever. Especially the books, the way they’re written. In reality, I feel the movies are better. Part of it is because Tolkien was more focused on his world, mythology, and language than he was on the actual story and characters. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great story, epic, and affected me profoundly the first time I read it, even though I was in the sixth grade. A few years later, when the movies came out, I read them again, understood them better, but since then, haven’t had the desire to read them again. They were a chore to read. So much history crammed in, songs, and other things to detract from the main story. Other parts were unnecessary, like the razing of the Shire, which I think was wisely taken out of the movies, as it was anticlimactic. The characters were flat, either almost perfectly good or perfectly evil. Even the races were stuck in their roles, the elves all good, the orcs evil, etc. It wasn’t until later that I realized this is a story about the world created, the language used, the mythology of middle earth. Tolkien was more involved with the setting than the characters or the story. The story serves more as a tour of middle earth than anything else. Still, the story is interesting and epic, and Frodo defeating Sauron was an intense moment in fantasy literature. It served to inspire and mark me, help me come up with my own fantasy world (which I don’t think copies his very much). So while there are flaws, buried underneath it there is a pretty good story and a well developed world.
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