The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power, the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring, the ring that rules them all, which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and 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.
Since it was first published in 1954, The Lord of the Rings has been a book people have treasured. Steeped in unrivalled magic and otherworldliness, its sweeping fantasy has touched the hearts of young and old alike. Written by Professor J.R.R. Tolkien and consisting of three separate books (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King) The Lord of the Rings was first published by George, Allen and Unwin between 1954 and 1955.
And a magnificent achievement it is; an epic tale of friendship, love and heroism, a book that set the benchmark for all fantasy novels to come. Tolkien's descriptive narrative beautifully depicts Middle-earth and the journey that the Fellowship undertakes will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
It is hard to put into words the happiness that can be felt when reading a fantasy book as good as this and anybody who has never read it should set aside some time to do so. Is it the best fantasy book of all time? In my opinion, yes.
There's no salvation for a fantasy fan who hasn't read the gospel of the genre. The influence of The Lord of the Rings is so universal that everybody from George Lucas to Led Zeppelin has appropriated it for one purpose or another. Not just revolutionary because it was groundbreaking, The Lord of the Rings is timeless because it's the product of a truly top-shelf mind. Tolkien was a distinguished linguist and Oxford scholar of dead languages with strong ideas about the importance of myth and story and a deep appreciation of nature. His epic, 10 years in the making, recounts the Great War of the Ring and the closing of Middle-Earth's Third Age, a time when magic begins to fade from the world and men rise to dominance. Tolkien carefully details this transition with tremendous skill and love, creating in The Lord of the Rings a universal and all-embracing tale, a justly celebrated classic.
This The Lord of the Rings book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read The Lord of the Rings?
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The Lord of the Rings reader reviews
Duncan from England
Having read a few of the reviews here, I would make a few observations. - The Lord of the Rings, is not fast paced action adventure fantasy, if you do not have patience, you will not enjoy it. It's like a fine wine, savour it, do not try to devour it quickly. - LOTR, is the very first epic scale fantasy. Every single other epic fantasy, every epic sci-fi, and half the art and music of the last 60 years has been influenced, or inspired by LOTR. It's is genesis and should be considered that way. - Tolkien, didn't just write a book, he spent most of his life creating an entire world, it's history, its mythology, its geography, it's languages etc. The scale of what he created is truly staggering and vastly more in depth than anyone before or since has ever attempted, remember this is the lifes work of 1 man... - If you are one of those who demand instant gratification, move on, you simply won't get it, or have the patience to enjoy one of the greatest masterpieces ever written. To the review, I first read LOTR, age 11, having been bitten by the middle earth bug with the Hobbit at about age 9. It took a lot of effort for an 11 year old to read, I got bored in places, but stuck with it because I had to know what was going to happen. By the time I had gotten to the end I had fallen in love. I still didn't understand much of what Tolkien was trying to tell me, but as I got older and wiser, I came to truly understand what he had written and that even the "boring bits" are well worth reading, simply because of the wisdom he is trying to impart. As quick fix epic fantasy, there are better books out there, but for those with the patience and understanding it remains the greatest fantasy book ever written. That's before we consider that all those that have come since LOTR owe their existence to Tolkien and this masterpiece. My personal Tolkien favourite though has got to be the Silmarillion and I for one am very glad that Peter Jackson will never get his hands on that beloved book.
Joshua from South Africa
When I first read this book I was 11 years old. This book is amazing. It paints an amazing picture and you feel like your right there and you are watching it all happen. When I read it as a prepared reading my teacher was very impressed. I if you don't like reading long books it might not be the best for you. Some parts are a bit sad but other wise it is a great book that I would read again.
Grace from Australia
Tolkien has created something so unique, so intelligent, that even all these years later it is the paragon of high fantasy. I first read it one year ago when I was 18, and it still echoes in my mind. I can hardly bear to pick up the book again, because I want to remember the rapture and awe I felt when I first read it. The style is eloquent, yet simple. It is heavy, yet innocent. The humor is uplifting, the darkness intense, the characters endearing. I have never seen such a strong example friendship in any novel as there is in Lord of the Rings. The book is second to none, unrivaled, unprecedented. If your attention span is short, don't read it. But if you care for complex and intelligent worlds, you will not be disappointed. As someone who watched the movies first, I must mention the fabulous job Peter Jackson did. Not everything was exactly by the book, but the spirit of the book was preserved, and that is what you want for a move. You don't want a carbon copy of the book, because then the movies are boring and predictable, and there is no fun in going back to read the book as I did. Books and movies are two very different ways of telling a story, and cannot be the same. Books are ideas strung into sentences and paragraphs that lead the reader into an imaginary narrative. They are entirely based on words, and most make the most of simple letters. Movies, in contrast, deal with visuals and sounds. The characters assume faces, places become structures. It is an entirely different realm of story telling. What is important, then, is that the author's intentions be honored and the spirit be preserved. Ideally, a movie should endear you to the characters and create visual images that can be used when reading the book, and the book should reveal and expand on the characters you are already in love with. I like the fact that Jackson took exact quotes from some characters, and gave them to others. I like that some things were mixed about. When I read the book, the differences were exciting changes, and I was eager to know more. In conclusion, Tolkien is the master, and Jackson constructed excellent portrayal of his masterpiece.
Dernhelm from UK
This isn't really like other books, even its imitators, though the best of them are similarly long, variable in pace and diverse in language and location. The early part of the story was meant to be a follow-up to The Hobbit, until it switches tracks and increasingly becomes the war story that it actually is. Those who have read war memoirs by anyone who actually lived through a war will know the difference between a war story and an action novel. There has been some discussion about whether, since this can be "read by teenagers", LotR is really a "YA" novel. I read Arabian Sands at age of 10, so that is a YA story? Go figure. YA is a marketing term, and didn't exist in Tolkien's day. People just wrote stories. However I think Anon of UK below has it right. It's best read when you still have hopes and dreams. As you get older, it may fade more and more into the land of hopes and dreams - but it is you that are changing. Some of the cold bitter side of life can be glimpsed under the surface at times, (If you want more of that, Go To The Silmarillion.) I have a feeling that when you get really old, you may begin to see its relevance again. In these increasingly difficult times, not a week goes by but I remember the words of Galadriel to Sam at the end of The Mirror of Galadriel. Tolkien had after all lived through the time of Hitler. If you want to read it but (like my Granny) can't stand little men with furry feet, try reading it backwards from, say, Many Partings. Chapter by chapter, I mean, not word for word. That doesn't work. You don't have to read it. The Wizard of Earthsea is also a very fine book, and a lot shorter.
Michael from US
Nitya from India
The trilogy is worth reading once. For readers who like fast paced action , this is not a series I would recommend. It progresses quite slowly and the descriptions are lengthy - not really my type. But if you have the patience, the plot is worth it.
Anon from UK
I read The Lord of the Rings when I was sixteen, way back in 1969. And, no, I was not a hippie stoner, as some hostile reviewers here think that lovers of this book must be. In fact, I never touched drugs. I loved The Lord of the Rings than and have read if a few time since. I just picked it up for the first time in twenty years and finished The Fellowship of the Ring. It's lost a little something over the years. But then again, I suspect that I'm the one who's lost a little something. In one sense, that has even made the book greater - I can see the greatness of the book by what I now lack to fully appreciate it: youthful ideals and hopes and dreams. To all those dreamers, read on.
Ela from Dir
Not a review, just read the review and wanted to point out that the first sentence is wrong. Sauron hadn't gathered all the Rings of Power as the three elven rings were owned by Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel.
Hadoken from Cimmeria
The botanist's guide to Tolkien's garden, AKA The Lord of the Rings, is an over-hyped literary torture written by a boring, senile man who was so deluded in his "hobbies" that he even talked to his wife in "elvish" (I suppose they talked Black Speech when they were talking dirty?). We know he was a boring geezer because most of his students attest to this, his lectures were basically him mumbling to himself while writing on the blackboard, looking at it, erasing it before anyone saw what he'd written, and then repeated the ritual. He spent much of his time among his books at university, having little else to do. Now, I do not think that a man like this could write much of anything that was interesting, which is why he stole most of his material. Of course, being a respected professor who can't be booted even if he should be has his perks. Two of these were a) his botany guide printed and b) he kept it from being edited. That's how much they wanted him off their backs. Enter the hippies. Before the generation of drugged, half asleep idiots called the hippies discovered LOTR, the book went under the radar. Not many, even in the fantasy genre cared for it. Then these lethargic beings who got stoned and held flower stating contests found a flower book with fairies, called elves here, and the political message of "good" versus "evil". A sane person would think Tolkien's experience of WWI would have taught him a thing or two about this false dichotomy, but apparently his hatred for Germans expressed itself by sausage eating in the book as well. So the book had enough to become a Manson family favorite and it's sales took up. Honestly tho, Lord of the Rings fails as a read in every aspect. Here you have a story about a dark lord, the end of the world and his bad-ass undead henchmen literally days away from Frodo at the beginning, and Gandalf, who apparently was eager to find out the mystery of Bilbo's ring but took 3-4 decades to do so, after discovering this goes to Frodo, tells him what's up and with a very matter-of-fact attitude, over biscuits and tea just asks Frodo "Well, what do you think you ought to do?" no giving a shit. Sorry if this break all the urgency of the matter being discussed here but the uncaring way Gandalf acts to the Middle Earth equivalent of global thermonuclear war prevents me from taking anything in this book seriously. And it's not serious. Step upon step, twig after twig, lunch after lunch is being described. Interesting dialogue of scenes are swept away in a sentence or two, yet a droplet of dew is given four paragraphs. If Tolkien wanted to write something to make you go to sleep or read something else that's actually interesting, he succeeded. The fact that it took a generation of drug-users to even get the lord of the rings thing started, and the fact that even the hard-core fans who read this garbage once a year admit to skipping large portions of the "book", is telling of it's lack of quality as a story. There is one thing Tolkien did well tho, and that is the whole world building in the sense that he took time to actually try and insert various stolen myths and stories between every 15th variant to a king's name, in his "history". There were others who did it before and after him, better, but none did it as such a scale. Then again I guess it's easy to do when you have a good paying steady job that has so much down time that it's almost as if you're not even working.
allaboutBooks from USA
Lord of the Rings has been a lifelong favorite. I highly suggest it for anyone who wants an epic fantasy, fun read or simply beautiful tale. Also, as I suggested in another review Some Must Fall, book 1 of The Coming Crown, is a must read. If you like LOTR you have to read this!
Anonymous from Somewhere
I first watched the films to these novels and vaguely liked them. When I was older they were read to me as a bedtime story and I fell in love with the beauty of the language used. I thoroughly enjoyed connecting it to real mythology and history, seeing peoples and cultures that not just anyone could of thought of. J.R.R Tolkien said that the languages were not derived from the stories, but rather the stories from the languages. I found that the characters were very real and I disagree with previous accusations of the being wooden. This novel was one of the pioneers of modern fantasy. I understand that many may of found it tedious and slow, among other things. It is not a novel for someone who prefers fast-paced action. I can empathise with those who found language difficult, as I am not yet thirteen and did not understand word such as 'pertness' and 'trothplighted' initially, untill they were explained (I think trothplighted is an EXCELLENT word) but still enjoyed the richness of it. Personally I think the need for fast paced action is a result of everything being fast paced in modern life. The Silmarillion was a particullary difficult read and I mean to read it again when I am older. One has to remember Tolkien described his work as history-making than fantasy. For those who do not like it bit and haven't finished, keep going, it's worth it! For those who have read it but do not like it, not every book is to everyone's taste, and people who say that the people who don't like it are stupid are wrong as not everything is to everyone's taste and everyone has their own.
Dane Campbell from UK
The Lord of the Rings is a beautiful novel which should appeal to readers of all types. It is worth of the 'timeless classic' tag and should be read by any who enjoy the fantasy genre. It's influence cannot be understated and authors like Eddings, Brooks and Jordan all clearly displayed their admiration in their most famous works. The Lord of the Rings is one of those books in which you can fully immerse yourself and it features some of the most memorable locations in any fantasy world (Hobbiton, The Old Forest, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Minas Tirith and Mordor to name those that first came to mind). I read that people do not just want to read about Middle-Earth - they want to live there. And I am one of them. A truly wonderful and inspiring fantasy book. 10 out of 10.
Paul from USA
The LOTR is the greatest novel I've ever read and I continue to read books in the hope that something, anything will approach it greatness. It is a quest in which a seemingly mismatched group of heroes are brought together by the behind the scenes machinations of the wizard, Gandalf, who has been sent to Middle Earth to unite all free people of good will in opposition to the dark lord, Sauron, the title character. Sauron created a ring that holds most of his power but it was taken from millennia ago by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. The ring was lost, and then found by a creature named Smeagol (Gollum) who, in turn lost it to an unassuming hobbit by the name of Bilbo Baggins. The LOTR tells the story of how the ring was destroyed. The beauty of the LOTR is in its language. Tolkien's prose sings to the ears in the same manner as spoken (but not written) Shakespeare. Tolkien's genius lies in the fact that he created his mythical world, created languages, created a history and then wrote the story. His love for his mythical world emanates from every word.
Manwe from Valinor
Anybody who downrated this series because they thought it was boring is not reviewing this right. Never review a book before you finish it. If you finished it and still think it is boring... Well, too bad. Lord of the Rings is not a high-paced thriller filled with action, it is a slow but amazing epic. If you give me a real explanation of downvoting it other than "It's too boring!!!!!" I will listen to you. Anyways I have a book to review. Professor Tolkien did the unthinkable in a book: he managed to make an amazing story against an even more amazing world. Nowhere else have I seen such an amazing world with a constant realized background, while also having memorable characters, while also including a plot with such epic scale. From the peaceful village of Hobbiton, to the Cracks of Doom, you feel like this place must really exist. Gandalf is one of the greatest wizards in fantasy, the hobbits are all interesting, and Gollum/Smeagol is an amazingly 3-dimensional character. Although in the great scheme of things, the War of the Ring is not too much (like 2 pages in the Silmarillion) it still is a great epic quest, especially for creatures as small as hobbits. The main flaws I can find in this story are lack of female characters (Galadriel is still great though) and some characters seem to be always good, while others always bad. I guess that's just fantasy though. If you say Harry Potter is better, I can kind of see where you're coming from. The characters in HP are better in many ways. However if you say that Percy Jackson or Eragon is better... Well that just makes me angry. Anyways the lord of the Valar thinks this is the greatest book ever made. Manwe out.
Andrew from New Zealand
Amazing book. Those who have just started and find it tedious should be persistent and keep on reading. The first book may be boring but later on (especially in the third book) things get exciting. A must read book.
Yash from India
It was an excellent book.
Haroon from Afghanistan
A very excellent book, I have ever read.
Eowyn from America
This book is truly a piece of art if you have the patience. The first one is long and you will want to give up but the second and third are truly amazing. I am 12 but I have a really high reading score, yet it still took me 3 months to read… it was worth it. But if you are an average or below reader then high school levels, I would not attempt this book quite yet.
Legolas from Middle Earth
The Lord of The Rings is one of the greatest fantasies of all time. Taking the time of it being written this book was revolutionary. Those who argue the book is boring and overly descriptive need to read it again knowing that this book isn't supposed to be an amazing action packed thriller where someone dies every few seconds. This book was written like a history book it explains the journey and explains Middle Earth in such great detail you find yourself immersed in the story. This book although, is somewhat surpassed in that the structure and grammar of the book is not up to modern standard but still the immersiveness of the book makes up for for the small matter. This is the classic fantasy that will continue to be popular for years to come.
Sauron from The Deepest Depths of Mordor
It's an amazing book but it's wrong. The forces of evil shall prevail.
Gandalf the White from Middle Earth (I have no home, I'm the white pilgrim)
This my favorite book I've ever read! This is a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien, who not only erects a world of his own, but also makes you enjoy reading about it. Then, you see reviews where people complain "oh it's too boring" or "this book is long winded" and you can only tell them how wrong they are. These people have the mindset they're going to power through it like a story, yet Tolkien wrote it not only as a story but as a history. I find his writing to be very interesting, and I do understand others have their opinions as well. In the end I give it 10 out of 10 stars because the stories are perfect and fun too read.
Nathan from Australia
Absolutely amazing book. Is the absolute pinnacle of high fantasy and is truly timeless.
ManwŽ from Valinor
Best trilogy I've ever read in my entire life.
Linan from Netherlands
I think the idea is brilliant! Middle Earth with elves and dwarves, I love everything about it. The only thing is, the book is very slow and it's written with a lot of details. A lot of details can be a good thing, but it makes the book very tedious. I can't get through the books because of that.
Himika from India
Tolkien's work is definitely an epic! I never felt bored while reading LotR, except for some parts of the Two Towers, rather, Inheritance Cycle was more boring. Someone here said that the one ring was not much of a threat. Appaprently, that person has not read the book properly as it was clearly given that the ring, in the hands of Sauron, could control all the other rings and he would gain incredible power. If that is not a threat, I do not know what is. The lack of strong female characters did disappoint me, but that is not to say that Prof. Tolkien was sexist, it was just the impact of the time in which he lived. The book really transports its readers into an ethereal place. I found myself in Middle Earth while reading the book. And Sam is definitely one of the best characters, followed by Aragorn. Those who describe Sam and Frodo as being gay don't deserve to read such a masterpiece. I would advise readers to read Harry Potter first, then The Hobbit, and then enter into the LotR universe. Some stories live on in us forever, whether we are old or young, and Lord of the Rings is definitely such a story. A story so well crafted that the reader's mind lingers around in the beautiful shire, the dark forest or the white city of Gondor long after the book is over.(Excellent review Himika, I would like to second everything you wrote - Lee @ Fantasy Book Review)
Rachel from USA
It has a really good plot. I'm on the second LOTR book, but a lot of the parts are boring. I get confused and lose interest, making me lose track where they are and all of that. It disappoints me that in the second book Frodo, Sam, and Gollum part doesn't come until the end. I love Gollum.
Marion from USA
I discovered The Lord of the Rings when I was a sophomore in college. I was hooked from the start, and I did a bare minimum of school work for two weeks while reading and re-reading the trilogy. I find it interesting that so many people on this forum have such strong feelings whether they loved it or hated it. I loved it, and have read it several times over 40 years. I loved it all even the supposedly boring chapters like the river voyage and the visit with Tom Bombadil. I found these two chapters and other sections restful but fascinating interludes among considerable action in other chapters which are filled to the brim with interesting happenings. After first reading of Bombadil I was sure he was going to return in some important role, but he remained a fascinating mystery. I skimmed over most of the poetry and songs on the first reading but that material introduced depth and mystery to the story that I appreciated more after reading the Silmarillion. I have found some acclaimed action-filled thriller novels overly frenetic to the point I lose interest, and I have to flip back and forth to keep the complex plot straight with all of the non-stop action. The descriptive material and varying pace in LOTR helps to draw me into the fantasy world and connect with the characters and their actions.
Bobsaget from Atlantis
One of the best- and longest- book series I have ever read. It is long and very highly detailed-which annoys some- but I personally love the detail, the songs, and just about everything else... Not only is it great to read, it also took the fantasy genre out of Grimm's Fairy Tales... It is a must read- if you have the time...
Alexandra from USA
I started reading the first LOTR book two days ago. I'm on page 210 right now so don't judge me please on the fact that I have not finished the first book yet. I started getting into the movies when my friends talked about it and I watched clips of the movie here and there on Youtube. I really started to enjoy the plot and characters, and then decided to go to Target and buy all three movies. Then, I thought I should start reading the books to get a better understanding of the characters and plot. WORST MISTAKE EVER!!!! It's so long and frankly, I don't care about when they need to stop and eat, and what they are eating. Where is all the action when you need it, or is it like a hundred more pages you have to read in order to finally get to the action??? I am going to read the rest of the first book, but if the second book is as boring, I'm done with the series!
James Baker from Wiltshire
I have read this book so many times it has fallen apart. One of the many reasons I love it is because each time I revisit it I find things that I have previously overlooked. It is a book that has everything and I urge those who have enjoyed the film adaptations to also read the book as there is so much more detail which makes the great story even more special. Reading The Lord of the Rings is an annual treat that never fails to deliver.
Andrew Luck from USA
Started the book and it is great.
Guy from Israel
Tolkien spent many decades creating the world of Middle-Earth. With that in mind, there is no richer universe than the mythological world of Tolkien. The plains of Rohan, the many factions of Gondor, Ents, Imladris, Caras Galadhon. The beatiful tale of Beren and Luthien, and the poem of Nimrodel. A well-written masterpiece, certainly earning it's status as one of the greatest classics of our time.
Chris from Scotland
@Shawna from US - Sure, Eragon is good. Sure, Harry Potter may be good to some people. But honestly, they can't match the sheer brilliance of Tolkien. Apparently, there's too much description and not enough conflict. So, did it ever once occur to you that having that much description was the idea? I find it makes it that much easier to sort of meld yourself into the book. And if there's not enough conflict for you, you probably didn't read very far into the book. The entire thing is riveting, from the flight to Rivendell to the Lady Galadriel of Lothlorien. Tokien does an amazing job of immersing readers into a fantasy world with an immense amount of backstory and mythos as an undercurrent to the entire story. The characters are the best developed of any book I've ever read. And to be frank, Harry Potter just doesn't do it for me. The writing is overly simplistic, and honestly, all the heroes (Minus Ron, who actually interested me) are complete "Mary Sue/Gary Stu"s with no real, played-upon flaws.
Colt from US
@Shawna from US. Nice of you not to realize that Potter and Eragon would not exist without Tolkien's work. Not to mention Star Wars, Led Zeppelin. Why read the ripoff when right here, right now, you can read the genuine thing?
Gandalf from Somewhere
This book is fantastic, a MUST READ!
Jeff from America
Jeff from Utah
I first read this series at age 10. I periodically re-read it (about every other year for the last 34 years) because it's the best fantasy series I've come across, and believe me I've read quite a few others in that time period. The books are much better than the movies and I thought the movies were quite well done. I understand not everyone does or will enjoy these books, to each their own I say. You will not find a video game on paper, you will not satisfy your ADD craving, you might even have to put some time and thought into what you are reading, these are not children's books or the latest television fad. Here you will find a marvellously detailed history of an imagined world, and every day characters thrust into unthinkable situations where they respond in ways real people might. Like I said, these books are not for everyone, but based on their continuing popularity and longevity, they appeal to most readers and I strongly recommend them. (I just want to add that I agree 100% with Jeff's review, it echoes my own thoughts perfectly - Lee, Fantasy Book Review)
Harihara from India
One of the best books I have ever read... I felt that The Hobbit was still better than LotR but it was a short one. Sadly not many books were written about Middle Warth. If you are a fan of Harry Potter you are bound to love this too, the characters are all comparable in both the epics. Whatever I say doesn't matter as you should read it and enjoy it. :)
Shawna from US
I only read two books from THE LORD OF THE RINGS seris. THE HOBBIT AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. THE HOBBIT was a great, well written and pretty fast-paced book. THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING however, was the worst book I've ever read! He went waaay down hill with that book. There was WAY too much unnecissary description through half the book with not enough conflict, not enough diologue, not enough action, and just too slow-paced. I started skipping bunches of pages, trying to find the interesting parts because I just got so bored with all the anti-conflict, anti-action, and anti-diologue parts of the book which he took too long to get into. I've never had any desire to finish reading the series because I was so turned off by the first book. It actually drives me crazy that people would love a book that lacks so much interesting conflict and diologue. If the Fellowship of The Ring was written in today's time I can garentee you it would be MUCH better written and FAR more interesting. There are MUCH better written books out there today than Lord of The Rings. Take Harry Potter and Eragon for example. Those are two of the BEST written fantasy series in the children's fantasy genre. They're both fast paced with plenty of conflict and diologue, magic and dragons, great settings, very well-plotted story lines and well-rounded charactors. These are popular, best-selling books that both children and adults love. I would pick one of these up and read them over Lord of The Rings any day and i could probably have them read within a couple days if I read from early morning to late at night. So if you want to read a REALLY well-written and GREAT fantasy book, I suggest you put that invisible-ring-on-your-finger trash down and pick up Harry Potter or Eragon, two of the most WELL-WRITTEN FANTASIES EVER! LONG LIVE HARRY POTTER AND ERAGON!
Luke from Durham, North England
The first thing to remember about Lord of the Rings, (and the fact that so many people who gave it bad reviews seem to forget), is that it is not strictly speaking a fantasy novel. Tolkien himself said on several occasions that he did not write fantasy, he wrote history! The fact that the history happened to be for a world that did not exist, told in a language which was Tolkien's own invention, in a world where myths existed in that language did not matter. For those who complain that the book is boring or overly descriptive, I'd ask them to Imagine reading a novel about the crusades. How many chapters about nobles leaving their homes, about journeying months across the seas and through Europe, about tramping through hot and dry deserts would there be before a battle? That is what you are dealing with in LotR, a book which not only is set in its own world and history where everything from the poetry and songs that people sing to the places and roads people walk has its own place and biography, but also a world that is realistically large. Walking from the shire to Mordor takes a long time, and it is much of Tolkien's genius that he is able to show how realistic the experience of this walk is. I have often heard Middle Earth itself called the greatest and most memorable character in Tolkien's writing, and while I wouldn't quite go that far, it is certainly true that here the world plays more of a part than most, whether the italic woods of the shire or the harsh, arid landscape of Mordor. The profound reality of the book is also shown by its lack of angst, because essentially Bilbo and Frodo were country gentlemen with little care or reason to worry before the start of the book, since after all some people just do not have that much trouble and do live normal lives (something which many novelists forget)., Of course, this changes on the journey to Mount Doom, and Frodo's relationship with Sam which one insensitive reviewer calls "gay" is one of the most realistic and beautiful friendships I've read of in any novel. The same goes for magic, it is the very lack of hurling fireballs or easy pyrotechnics that illustrates the profound power of Gandalf, Galadriel and Saruman through their shear presence and force of will. Ultimately, if a person wants a quick fix fantasy novel where manly heroes chop off the heads of trolls by the dozen and wizards throw fireballs, in other words a book that is about as realistic as little pixie Jimís visit to twinkly winkly town, well this is not the book for them, indeed they probably need to grow up and learn a bit more about life. For those however who love language, setting and world, and actually want to care about the characters who are going into danger and the world that needs saving, Tolkien provides it all. Speaking of characters, a particular note must be given to the character of Sam. It is extremely rare that any author can write a character who is unashamedly not the brightest person, but at the same time has traits which make them admirable and indeed remarkable. The moment in which Sam believes Frodo dead and sits to consider what to do next is likely one of my favourites in the story and reduces me to tears on frequent occasions. Gollum is also worthy of note, since despite the somewhat simplified version in the film, he is a deeply complex character with more than usually his share of conflicts and once again, the scene in which he looks at Frodo and Sam sleeping together and feels pity for them is a favourite. Of course, the books are not entirely perfect. In the almost but not quite total lack of female characters they are a distinct child of their time, since back in the 1950's the idea of girls embarking upon a dangerous expedition such as Frodoís' would be unthinkable. Also, as Tolkien himself observed, the book is in many places too short and particularly towards the end certain sets of action are compressed, such as Aragorn's journey to the battle of Pelennor Fields or Merry's ride with the Rohirim, indeed while he wrote an exquisitely personal story from the perspectives of the four hobbits, when dealing with Aragorn, Legolas and the other characters Tolkien did not seem to spend quite as much time or care, indeed I distinctly prefer the portrayal of Aragorn as Strider the shifty but friendly ranger (and not in the dungeons and dragons sense), to Aragorn the somewhat archetypal king. I could go on talking about the fine points of LotR for pages, but better than read me waffling, go and read Lord of the Rings! If you approach the book with an open mind and don't just expect a quick fix standard dungeons and dragons fantasy, you won't be disappointed. I'm sorry that the site rating scale only goes up to ten, since if I were to characterize the quality, style and shear majesty of Tolkien's work I'd be giving it at least a thirty! It is a book I have read innumerable times, right from the age of six onwards, and will doubtless read many times in the future, each time gaining more insight into this profound peace of literature. Just as it has been said all western philosophy are footnotes to Plato, it could equally be said that all fantasy are footnotes to Tolkien, and it's very easy to see why. Whatever else can be said for Peter Jacksonís films, the fact that they have introduced Tolkien's work to a whole new generation including many people who have not read it before has got to be a plus. So if you've not read Lord of the Rings read it! Read it now!
Nikunj from India
Adventurous and fantastic book!!! The whole world should read this book!!!
Jack from New York
Lord of the Rings is an exquisite series. Filled with thrilling action and violence. This book is one of my most favorite books in the world. Whoever are haters of the book should get out off this website, this book is the most greatest books in the world. Come on, who doesn't want to read this. Action, adventure, violence, and more. If you never ever read this series, I must say get out of here, go to Barnes and Nobles or any other websites, order or buy this book from the start because I promise you, this book will be on your shelve and on your list for top 10 books. This series is just amazing and brilliant, couldn't find a better way to explain this.
Javaid Bhatt from India
Once in a while comes a book which changes the way you think about fantasy and narrative writings, this book is more than that, somewhere within it there was a sense of religious aspect present in it, without even saying so... I think Professor had gone through some serious religious scriptures which made him write " a right v/s wrong story"... with the conceptual likes of, All seeing one-eye, One Supreme king of kings, Angels (elves) and demons etc. Overall I think somehow these events will occur in future, but I can be wrong also... but indeed the book, it is great treat to read.
Nate from Chicago
Hey, so, I wasn't going to write a review at all, but I feel I must comment on Jordan M. Rapp's comment. But first, this is a great book, but since it's old, it's understandable that today's youth may not understand and enjoy these books. I, myself, am 15, but I thoroughly enjoy Tolkien's work. But, uh, Jordan, no one asked you what your IQ is. There's no need to go calling people morons just because they don't like the same book as you. Don't be such a dick, seriously.
Jerome from England
Sam, please let me lay my head in your arms. That line sums up Frodo and Sam's story. "Crickey, not MORE elves. They are so gay in this book." That sums up some more. "Guys, w emust destr- La, la, la, la, and forests leave in winter!!!! Ha, add a tune to that!" And that random bit of song adds up the rest of the book. Some great ideas, but too much useless stuff makes the movies better.
Maya from Philippines
I personally am a huge and complete fan of fantasy books so of course I had to read LoTR. I liked the plot it was different from all other books in a sense that it provides the reader a point of view on the war and how it's going on in different places not just where the hero is and he also shows how all of those are connected. But how the story was presented was just unappealing to me it was very dragging and no matter how hard I try I can't put a tune on those songs. It was too detailed and the conversations were way too long I found myself saying to the book to just get to the point which really is not that complicated. Another thing I didn't like about is was it really tell us who the characters truly were. It described what happened but what the characters really felt a midst the fighting was not really described in depth and I really wished it did. But the ending was really lovely and touching.
Juan from Oregon
The reason, in my opinion, that this book has and deserves the accolades that it has received is that it doesn't necessarily rely on character development, or on some glorified idea of progress, or even the motif of salvation, but that it creates a world that we begin to feel deeply about, that we can love. Tolkien's world is one that should be saved. Not merely the people or characters in it, nor the ideals that they may uphold, but everything, from the mill ponds to the mountains, from forests to streams. It has a wholeness that stands in stark contrast from the modern tendency to divide, to isolate, to reduce. Instead, it demonstrates the interconnections, the lack of easy answers, the reality that is a world that is broken but still beautiful, that now and again shows a glimpse of its former glory. We begin to understand that the joy and the grief that Frodo experiences after the ring is destroyed is shared by the elves, the ents, the trees, and the very land itself. Joy at the destruction of the evil, at the ending of despair, but grief at the cost, at the fact that nothing will be the same as it was before. The Lord of the Rings, like few books beside it will make the reader care, if he will let it. (I also recommend Les Miserables and the first two books in Orson Scott Card's Ender series, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead) (This is a brilliant review and I second every point it makes. Thanks Juan - Lee, Fantasy Book Review)
Logan from Australia
Excellent book, loved every word of it, never boring, wish it was longer. Awsome films as well. EPIC!
Dreamy from Albania
Siya from south africa
First of all, the biggest mistake you can ever make is watching the movies first and then reading the books. That just causes you to have expectations about the book. I've also come to the conclusion that Tolkien told the story in the form of a historical account, as if middle earth really exists and this tale is just part of its history. This method really gives the story a strong sense of realism that's why it is so descriptive and slow as if Tolkien was right there next to the hobbits. I think the best example would be to imagine any real story of war written in a history book, you'd find the similarities in Tolkien's storytelling. So you realise this is not meant to be read as an exciting rollercoaster ride but as simply an account of how saruman was defeated by the people of middle earth & the journey of Frodo & Sam. I hope I'm making sense. This storytelling method for me is beautifully authentic and goes perfectly well with this trilogy. Tolkien doesn't just tell a story, he also immerses the reader in the cultures of his world. The BEST high fantasy novel ever written only because unlike other novels it feels REAL!
Pete from England
Wugibooboo from England
Anybody who doesn't like this book should be considered insane. I know it seems harsh but it's true. They are either too stupid to understand it, too lazy to read it or simply have a terrible imaganation and no taste. Tolkien was a god (and I don't care that it's blasphamy to say that it's true) and this is his greatest book. Personally I would say the Two Towers is the best. Don't know why I just prefer it. However, the other two are still amazing. Plus Peter Jackson did a great job on it and Howard Shore is a musical genius. I just hope The Hobbit film doesn't let the side down.
David from Romania
Well, I think most everyone in the world will agree with me when I say this book is a true Masterpiece. Anyone who says otherwise hasn't really read it. Pay attention to the skill put into each sentence and the beauty of each paragraph in The Lord of the Rings. Every sentence is a work of art. Each character's depth is astounding. The dialogue is poetry. J.R.R. Tolkein will be remembered for centuries as one of the greatest writers in human history.
Harry from Great Britain
It may be hard to understand, boring and gets a little to deep into the histories of its own fictional world sometimes; but that's what is so great about it. It's not all about the grand adventure aiming to destroy the 'One Ring', toppling over raid parties with a small group of vagabonds or armies battling each other for the defense of the last bastion for all free men. It goes over extensively on details that are present in their journey through Middle Earth, it throws readers into a world that was otherwise forgotten - Midgard from the Norse Mythology - and creates new legends on its own. It is great that it challenges the readers to exercise the power of their imagination, memory retention, patience (otherwise I would've just watched the movie and be done with it) and be enthralled by the rich and enchanting lore created by the great J.R.R. Tolkien.
Ben from USA
I disagree with the score rating, 10/10 is too low for this book. If you don't like this book, quit reading all together.
Abhiram from India
This is the best movie or the book I have ever seen. I enjoyed while watching this movie, it is 100% good book to read.
Joshua from United Kingdom
My Review. By Joshua, aged 13 from Bournemouth. The Lord Of The Rings is one of the most complex books I truly have ever read. J.R.R. Tolkien spent his life in his books, creating his own language! Maps, histories, yes, this book is boring at times but if it wasn't we would not ever be able to understand it. J.R.R. Tolkien's work, The Lord of the Rings is easily the best ever book written! I have read it and will read it over and over until I fully grasp the beautiful litrature between my finger tips. People who gave this book less than a outstanding 9-10 don't understand it and obviously want to always be entertained with fighting but what they don't understand is that the traveling is the foundation on all of Tolkiens best work. Simpily outstanding!
Anon from UK
I have yet to read anything in high fantasy that comes close to it. Tolkien's schorlarliness and deep knowledge of Norse sagas, was a great foundation for world-building. The symbolism of innocence overcoming evil is ever relevant.
Willem from Belgium
Best book ever written, no doubt! WARNING: certain intellectual level needed.
Nathan from Pamilan
This is undoubtedly an excellent book, but gets too slow and boring at times. The walk through the forests in the first part is definitely a bad inclusion. Surely the pace picks up later and the third book of this series is a sheer roller coaster. That's ultra cool.
John from UK
This is a great book, and the one I would take to my "desert island", but not a flawless book. There is actually not enough about the title character and the conflict with him and altogether too much about Saruman who trails on after the climax into the scouring of the shire. It was right to leave that part out in the films along with Tom Bombadil, whose character is completely anomalous, both in terms of the plot and his position in the fantasy world. I would agree too with those who say that character development after the Fellowship of the Ring is poor and also those who complain that female parts are very poorly developed, with the possible exception of Eowyn, but that's only so she can finish off the Witch-King. But it's not to say that it isn't a good read and one that grabbed my imagination all my life.
Sick from upstate NY from Oneonta
Yes, excellent book. Movies were 6 at most w/ plot diversions. Started w/ Watership Down @ 14, did LotR @ 14-15 next. Haven't stopped since. Ran into "Thomas Covenant" @ 16, "Randland" @ 30. Why has only 1 person mentioned "The Silmarillion," not mentioning "Lost Tales" at all? After that CRRT got desparate and series quickly went down. You should consider a series aspect of this. If not for Chris T. pandering the notes, would give 12. Thanx TTFN.
Mary from Fort Worth
When I was little, my father would read me this book as a bedtime story. He would never be able to make voices or inflect emotion into his words (in all honesty, he was a horrible reader) but he had no need. Tolkien had used every word to it's greatest. He crafted worlds so vivid I would fall alseep to the shadows of Mirkwood or the music of the Brandywine.
Katie from London
I loved the film and went straight to the book when I got home and I loved them because they are brilliant and moving - Tolkien is my hero!!! :-)
Nobody from Nowhere
From a literary point of view, Tolkien is a brilliant writer, but so are many other people. The detail in his story is overwhelmingly accute, but this often drives away modern day readers who like to imagine on their own. The Lord of the Rings has very little or no contemporary aspects, aside from the Hobbits (his painting of country folk in England), the modern day English that just so happens to be spoken by many diverse peoples in Middle Earth, and other small samplings that arise from the influence twentieth-century English culture had on Tolkien (it is highly improbable that any writer could hide or destroy every trace of the influence his culture had on them). The main problem many modern day writers have is that they devote the majority of their energy toward writing, that, in many cases, is aimed at pleasing the crowds. Of course, in the short run, it is a very profitable tactic, selling millions of copies in a few years, and after that, on to the next book. Not many individuals notice how quickly sales of contemporary writing fall when the culture has moved on. Others, having seen swiftness with which the present blots out the past, like another Fall of the Eagles (a documentary of the collapse of the three great empires of Eastern Europe soon after the dawn of the twentieth century, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia) turn their attention to writing books with barriers to prevent its unseemly demise. A highly sophisticated scholar who devoted his life to the study and writing of literature might vey well write a novel that has every literary tool honed to perfection, every timeless twist readers with nigh on mechanical efficiency, and characters who will catch the readers attention time after time. However, a crucial aspect that almost all writers seem to forget is that literature, while considered by many to be an independent subject, turns out to be merely a branch off the study of languages, or Philology. Tolkien, by both profession (he, correct me if I am wrong, taught it at Oxford) and nature (he made languages at age ten), was a philologist. Too many people before and after him attempt to start a novel simply based on literary sources and personal experience. This is the wrong approach. One must start at the root of all the social studies: Philology. The linguistic apects of the book are essential for its survival and the continual enjoyment of its readers. For example, each of Tolkien's names (whether person, place, or thing) are not simply created on whim. He discovered each of their names linguistically, that is, he translated them from other languages. The one great flaw and the one great beauty of translation is that some words can not be fully translated into words, but an impression, an emotion that arises from the sound of the word and the broad terms with which translators attempt to capture that impression. Without Philology, Tolkien would have almost certainly not have written any of his majestic works. Without language, Human civilization would not exist!
Coray from Boston
A lot of what I see people mentioning in negative reviews are the things that I actually like most about LOTR. I love Tolkien's overly descriptive style. I love he passively mentions events that took place on a timeline that we know nothing about. And I love that he took the time to tell us about hobbits sitting in the woods eating cheese. I read it once a year. Tied for my favorite "book" with T.H. White's The Once and Future King.
Chandrapal from India
Everytime I read LOTR , I discover something new. This is the story which I'll re-read 10 times.
James from Lancaster UK
The strength of this book is not in its story telling, though a huge Tolkien fan I do not regard him as the best story teller. The genius of Tolkien is in the detail of his world, a detail no author I have read is yet to emulate. I saw the first film first but finished the final book on the way to watch the Return of the King, since then I have read it countless times and currently reading it again. When reading the Lord of the Rings you feel as if every place, event or person has a history behind it/them, and with Tolkien it probably does, in fact if you read more Tolkien you will only be amazed at how much depth there is Ea (the world Middle-earth is just a small part of). The Lord of the Rings has influenced practically every epic fantasy book/series ever since its publication and it's easy to see why, examples are easy. Tolkien was without doubt the best fantasy world builder who has ever lived with the beautiful descriptions of the Glittering Caves and the following language of the Elves. It is the perfect book for anyone wishing to become lost in an entirely different world which you will almost believe exists.
Jordan M. Rapp from Oregon
I first want to point out the lack of knowledge from the makers of the bad reviews. J.R.R. Tolkien is the father of the fantasy genre, and anyone who says the books are terrible fails to realize that the book has been a classic for over 40 years. That said, a book that has lasted that long is only boring to those who don't have the brain capacity to focus on the creativity that the series holds. I loved the descriptions that the other reviewers just bash on because they don't have a high enough IQ to work out the books complex story line. I thought that the forest was a great idea because it showed that the hobbits had no idea what they were getting into. Many reviewers would have many people think The Lord of the Rings was boring, pointless, uncreative, or all of these, because they just don't understand out of pure stupidity. I on the other hand had an IQ test at age five (that's all the fingers on one of your hands for you bad reviewers) and the test showed me to have an IQ of 136 so I at age fifteen can understand what most other morons don't; The Lord of The Rings is a great book.
Tom from Leeds
For the third time in about 20 years, I am trying to read these books. I have promised myself I won't watch the movies until I've finished the books. All I can say is what an effort and how mind numbingly boring. Totally agree with the comment about a book written about hobbits eating cheese in a wood! As for a literary genius, is it genius to use every adjective known to man at least ten times? Its like adjective bingo except you've won after chapter one. Come on, yes it's imaginitive and defined a new genre blah blah blah but for crying out loud if you're going to tell a story give your readers a chance! What is with those utterly boring and dreadful songs? I found myself literally screaming 'who cares!?' at the book when trying to read about Tom Bombadil. What's worst is my mind tries its best to add a tune to the lame songs, but nothing on God's green earth fits. Tolkien really does make Chesney Hawkes appear to be a song writing genius. I once read that there's two types of people in the world, those who've read LOTR and those who mean to. I would argue its more like those mean to read it and those who have read it and can't get rid of the weird thousand yard stare it left them with.
Andy from Reading
The story is absolutely brilliant there is no doubt about that, however the writing in my opinion was woeful, the level of detail excruciating. Once I got through the first book I made a promise to myself that there was no way that I wasn't going to read the other two. I have met more people who couldn't read this trilogy than could, not through lack of ability mind but grim determination. The story is a masterpiece and the films are good, however the story in the books is better, I just wish Tolkien had allowed us to use our own imaginations rather then filling in every single detail for us.
Gary from Vancouver, BC
I can't see how any Fantasy Novel fan can give this less than ten stars.
Richard from London
A classic case of reputation over substance. I've been reading fantasy all my life and found these books trying, difficult and unenjoyable. A book should flow and keep you gripped, this book constantly interrupts the flow of great ideas at every turn with unnecessary detail and stupid poems. Compared to less high profile works such as Raymond E Feists Magician, David Eddings Belgariad and Terry Brooks Shannara series, these have always felt rather flat. One of the rare occassions for me where the movie is better then the book. Each to there own and if you enjoyed this to consider it worth 10/10 then fair enough, but for me the 10/10 rating seems given for its fame and originality in a fantasy novel, rather then its actual quality.
Edward from Illinois, US
First thing people need to consider, is that the fantasy settings we read about and watch today... did not exist for Mr. Tolkien. He literally created the ideas which are now the foundations of fantasy stories. That said, let me start. The books did often lull with extended description of foliage and landscape in areas that weren't additive to the scenes. And you rarily find fast paced combat to drive the adrenaline. That alone will kill it for younger readers. You can however immerse yourself in a rich world that started it all. I dock it a star, simply because I am an combat action guy from the era of ADD Advance Dungeons & Dragons PLUS Attention Deficit Disorder.
Sarah from USA
I'm a huge fan of fantasy so of course I had to read the books after I saw the movies, and in all honesty I was a little bit disappointed with them. I loved the story-line and the plot was excellent, but I found myself not really liking the story itself. It was way too long, and overly descriptive, and the characters were rather disappointing after the Fellowship of the Ring because there was no real development to them. They were just there on their quest, and I really found myself wishing for some background with Aragorn because he was one of my favorite characters. The other thing I wasn't really fond of was that some of the characters were just placed into the story and they really did not have anything to do with what was going on with the story. I could not get passed Tom Bombadil, I liked him but he was really unnecessary and he had nothing to do with the main characters after the first book. I did love the hobbits, and I thought that JRRT did a great job developing them and the story in relation to Frodo/Sam and Merry/Pippin. I also loved Gollum he was a great character, but the only problem I had with him was that he was too singular for my tastes. I really prefer more complex characters and more complex plot line development, and unfortunately LOTR really did not do it for me. There were just way too many characters for my liking and it got to a point where it was just way too confusing trying to keep all of the characters straight. The introduction of the Rohirrim and everyone connected to those characters did not help that at all. I also did not like like it when he referenced people who had no direct influence on the characters themselves or the story. For example, the elves that were mentioned after the company left Rivendell were interesting but they had nothing to do with the characters or the events that transpired, so it felt really unnecessary to me. There were also way too many subplots to the story. That happens when there are too many characters, and it got kind of confusing and annoying towards the middle. It was interesting and I loved the description of the battle scenes, but the villains were a bit of a flop. I really did not like the battle scene between the Wraith King and Eowyn/Merry in the book because he came of as more pompous than threatening, whereas in the movie he was portrayed as being very sinister. That being said I enjoy the books and I thought that they were pretty epic as far as fantasy goes, but I have read better books. Unfortunately the series suffered due to being overly long and descriptive, and it suffered a complete lack of character development after the first book. Overall it was a good series, and I'd give it an A story telling and the development of a completely magical world, but I give it a C in terms of character development, and I always think that a story is nothing without properly developed characters, and the story really failed to make any of the characters besides the hobbits relatable in any form or fashion.
Elisabeth from Australia
The most beautifully written piece of literature of all time, Tolkien was a genius. People who don't like his songs and descriptions need to take another look! The power and beauty of The Lord of The Rings is just mind boggling.
Jay from Australia
Anyone who calls himself a fantasy genre lover and hates this book is a true idiot. Firstly, half those morons have watched the movie first and expect the same pace from the book as well. The other half (as you'll find some people here) don't get the story at all and bash it for no reason. The third grup of idiots think that Harry Potter is better...
Sharang from India
This is the best book I've ever read... no comparison...
Steve from The Land of Not-influenced-by-ridiculous-hype
Are these books creative, creating an entire world in which we can believe? Yes. Is it a book that can grip the reader, engage them in the sotry? Um...I'm going to say no, because the movies did better than the books did. Yes, JRR Tolkien created a world and essentially created the basic background of most fantasy to come (I'm thinking of the European-Medieval world every single fantasy novel is set in). And yes, I'll grant it, I did like it. But it is not the best. But before we get into that, let's say what was good about it. First off is the world. I've never really come across a world as thought out and described as this book. You can truly believe that palces like Gondor and Rohan do exist. And yes, the split between each book (Aragorn & co's quest, then Frodo, Sam's and Gollums) is done very well. I like how it is done. Now we come to the (many) bad points. 1. Little to no charcaterisation: Of course, I'm not going to include Sam or Gollum, they were really thought out. But everyone else just seemed so... well, it seemed like there was one guy, and Tolkien based every character off of this one guy. I don't see a lot of variation, really. 2. Do I really need pages of songs and tales that really have no affect on the tale, but make the world richer? No, I don't. I read a book to discover a world, and a fantastic story in the world. I don't read a book to glimpse a new world, and the actual tale come second to it. 3. There was no real threat. As most action sequences never really happened (I'm thinking of the battle of Helm's Deep - I know people were dying, but I didn't see any fighting or anything). And, the One Ring didn't seem to have that much of a threat. It turns someone invisible? From where I come from, that's a super-power. What's Sauron going to do? Turn invisible, stow away onto a boat, and wreck havoc in Valinor (where the Elves go to)... Actually, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea at all, too bad we never really got any actual threat. And there you have it. Yes, I like it. But, in reality, I think Tolkien was the creator of this world and tale, but Peter Jackson really told the tale much much better.
Visenna from Poland
Sometimes those long descriptions of some places were really annoying, still one of the greatest.
Kaustav from India
This is truly the BEST high fantasy series I've ever dug in to. First two chapters are not that interesting but necessary. Rest of the book will force you to stay glued with it. A must read for every high fantasy fan.
Derric from Anderson, SC
Minus one star due to the fact that The Fellowship of the Ring began so slowly. But, still, you have to admire Tolkien's handiwork. He took hold of a genre mostly towards children and brought back the point of fantasy, to bring about fear and hopelessness, love and hate, and show them to us in a form we can more understand. He took ahold of legends and introduced them in a new light, bringing back humaniod elves after so long of them appearing as fairy-like creatures. And the orcs point, to symbolize the industrialism that's taking the world, and Sauron being branded as one that wants order, even if it's through destructive means. A gem of a tale that points out that we have our flaws.
The Lord of the Rings started my way off on fantasy and I've read quite a few novels since. But after experiencing a number of fantasy worlds and quests, I realized that the thing that marked The Lord of the Rings as "the BEST" for me was its beauty. The writing style, the locations, the characters, and the theme are all so beautiful. Some people say it's "too long", "too descriptive", "too boring" etc,. but maybe they're searching for something different. If you want a book that you'll cherish forever as a beautiful masterpiece, just read this. And don't forget "The Silmarillion".
Anna del C. Dye from Taylorsville, Utah
J.R.R. Tolkien is the master mind and a great writer. I love his work and the beautiful world he created. He inspired my own Elf series. The Silent Warrior Trilogy was the portal to my Elf series. The elf and the Princess is book one. Two is trouble in the Elf City and three Elfs in a Conquered realm. They have been received very well in the Tolkien market and have great reviews. Tolkien opened my imagination, Thanks so much.
Art from Boston
Everything is of the lowest detail in this yarn, and yet I feel as though Tolkien, with his amazing faculty of sight and formation of mental image could have produced a lovely, narration, something timeless and well-written to such an extent.
Nick from Inland Empire, CA
My name is Nick. I'm a college student in California and have just completed a fiction literature class in which we covered extensively all the books from The Hobbit to the Return of the King and all the movies. Yes even the horrible animated version of The Hobbit. Now as an assignment our teacher has asked us to complete an online post summarizing and reviewing my experiences in the class and of the books. Now I have to say I'm not one for books in general unless it peeks my interest and seeing as I have seen the movies before I got around to the books I found it kind of hard to get into for the class. I did how ever get the chance to find out about other interesting characters and parts that were left out of the movie completely. Tom Bombadil and the necromancer seemed to stay in my mind after reading and actually it lead to me looking further into the world of Middle Earth. I even went to the point of reading some of the Untold Tales and The Silmarillion to better understand the ways of Middle Earth and its people. Movies aside I have to say the books seemed to be more informative and detailed then the movies were. But then again the movies did give a more realistic view and understanding of the people, the battles, and the cities that I never could have imagined. At each class we would discuss our reading. Whether we liked or disliked any particular part. Overall the class seemed to enjoy it well enough. Overall I recommend you read the books before you see the movies, if you haven't already, but I believe it gives a more personal meaning visually and intellectually. And if you get the opportunity read the other Tolkien books as well; especially The Silmarillion. The books also brought out the creative side of many of my classmates when it came time to do presentations for the class and I believe the imagery of the movies and the imagination brought by the books had a strong influence on their assignments. My Project was a 3D map of Middle Earth using the maps from Tolkien's drawings and not the landscapes of the movies. Which were quite different. Overall though I do recommend that you read and enjoy the books and the movies equally. They both have their ups and downs so I leave it up to you to decide. Nick.
Ryan from California
Hi, I am a California Community College student and upon the completion of all Lord of The Rings books, including the Hobbit, my Professor assigned a brief book review. It was the first time I have read these books and I was amazed of how J.R. Tolkien can describe the scenery and shrubbery with so much detail. At times I did find my self almost wanting to fall asleep, but there is excitement like the battle at Minas Tirith, Helms Deep and the Mines of Moria for example. Another great achievement J.R. Tolkien has accomplished is creating this whole world in which this epic tale takes place. It is also remarkable that he even created his own language. You will be amazed of the amount of information contained in these books from all the maps, family trees and history that all tie into making these books a remarkable tale. The characters in these novels will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life. From Beorn the black man bear, Tom Bombadil the trippy trailblazer, Tree Beard and my favorite character Bill the "beast of burden" pony. I found it quite humorous when Sam would talk to his pony until they had to go there separate ways. Another character that I enjoyed is Gollum. I also thought Gollum was hilarious yet tragic and one of my favorite quotes from Gollum is "Give me fish now and keep the nasty chips!" I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good fantasy novel to read.
Shawn from Space Coast, Florida
I really never post on these but after reading what Marine from Athens, Greece said, I feel I must. Yea, for a year I hated it. Yes it was big, yes he generated a gigantic world of very detailed characters, and ... yes, it is very, disappointingly, childish in my mind. Then I started reading older fantasy, WOW. It's worse. It is childish or dull or, well I really couldn't get through about 5 or 6 authors. It occurred to me, this was fantasy up until the lotr series. So we have a TOTAL non author who sets out just to write a story for some kids, redefine a genre. And think about it. Almost EVERY fantasy novel follows his lead. Early in the current fantasy book a typical, unlikely, usually young (which Frodo still is because of the ring,) individual (usually male because most fantasy novelists are male, chicks seem to do more urban fantasy I've noticed.) finds out very abruptly he is "ment" for something. Then he must quickly leave his home, usually with a good friend and another who will cause mischief, so total ruin will not hit his home by the super evil thing that wants him dead. Don't forget, in these books our unlikely hero is warned just before our bad almighty evil doer is able to get to him first! And who does the warning? Well, again its always the same. A very wise, experienced (fill in blank for the book) wizard in this case figures it all out, just in the nick of time. Nowwwwwww, Start The Adventure! Hero has no clue, mysterious wise saviour of our hero is mysterious, only telling what he has to in order to not overwhelm our hero who is on shock already. Fast forward, our hero has started to go from unlikely to likely, becoming somewhat proficient in his previously unknown ability, able to now fend for himself. Our mysterious saviour has trained him or he has learned through trials during the adventure. Also the saviour shares more, usually we learn a dark secret about this person at this point, to sow doubt in the readers mind as well as the hero... FF again, nearing the end of the adventure. The hero has now out shined or is about to out shine his masters skills. Also he know what must be done and will do it at all cost.( b4 he would have run like a screaming wet kitten from his Final "destiny" had he known everything too early.) Now our heros teacher-savior-mysterious powerful dude dies either saving him, gets injured, something like that. He will admit and explain the dark secret that's not so dark and actually makes the hero feel more determined and mad at himself for getting cocky and loosing trust in his beloved teacherby listening to the twisted words of our villain. The hero now learns the final secret or has the final weapon needed to win. If the teacher-master dies at this point, the secret is usually what he learned and dies for, whispering it at the very end in a last, heroic way. If he isn't killed then its usually an epic monster that is guarding an almighty weapon. Our hero is fighting this beast and is about to die when out master takes the hit. If he survives, he is to wounded to go on and will be a hindrance. Once again, either way, the hero has what he needs and now is even more determined to vanquish his moral enemy. One more Tolken rule, The hero will ALWAYS, at some point, usually just in the last 100 pages, but not always here, make a leg on his own. Most books have it near the end so they can do the cheesy self hatred, blaming himself for a bit, then he will run into a crazy, weird person or creature. This creature will Sense the pain (they always do!) And poke at, point out his flaws, and antagonize our hero to a breaking point. Here just b4 our hero smashes our antagonist to bits, he realizes the dude is right and comes to terms with his loss. He now has wasted valuable time, again usually at the end, of our story filling pages with oh the loss, I can't do it on my own, self pity page filling crap... this is ok, because now he has learned a true lesson, and is mental and powerful enough to meet his nemesis and the rest of our story is a large and an epic buildup to his final test. If our main teacher-mysterious dude didn't die or get to injured to go on, someone who means EVERYTHING to our hero dies or his own people are attacked being nearly whipped out, or he was to late to save a town and the dead little Hobbit children and human children alike who he feels he should have been in time to save. this is to tear at his heart strings. You how it goes down from here in nearly every fantasy novel. For one reason or another, our hero is making his solo track, taught his lesson by our smart ass protagonist buddy who happened to just be where he was needed and got him back on track. Our hero, constantlcy growing more confident after the protagonists home, now makes his way seeming easily through deadly lands and impossible odds. Our hero now is much to powerful to allow any of the minions standing is his way (crazy to try, creatures and even the land itself was broken and evil), It nowtakes every bit of his skill but he gets it slow him from reaching his final fight.
Jason from USA
Amazing. J.R.R. Tolkien has literally created an entire world using descriptive imagery, captivating and marvelous word choice, and vivid, life-like characters. It tickles your imagination: dwarves, elves, hobbits, wizards, and other mythical beings and settings which makes you want to keep reading more and more. Anyone that has given this a 9 or less really does not understand the pure power of this book. If you had kept reading, you would have liked it more, and that is a guaranteed fact. It is necessary to read the first book so you may know the world that surrounds the Hobbits.
Alex from UK
Whoever gives this book 1 star or 2 or 3 simply have not read it, and that is fact. This is simply a marvel of the human imagination, do not listen to anyone who rates this at less than 5 stars, it's simply not possible to dislike this book if you are a fantasy lover, brilliant.
Abe from USA, TN
In my opinion, this is the greatest book that has ever been written (apart from the Bible), and it definitely set the standard for all fantasy books to follow. It is written with precise detail, not as much as Dean Koontz books though IMO. The only part I have a semi-dislike of is the songs... But if you don't like them, simply skip them, since they don't take away from the story. One thing I'd like to note is if you like Harry Potter, you'll adore this. I believe it is much better than HP (I've read all seven HP books as well), and you will notice things from HP ( http://www.mugglenet.com/hpvslotr.shtml ), which were "inspired" by LOTR, which also inspired many other fantasy books. I recommend watching the movies first. If you like them, I'd then recommend reading the books, and if you also like those, the book "The Hobbit" which actually came before LOTR. LOTR was actually the sequel to "The Hobbit".
Shell from Winchester
I have been reading and re-reading this book for half a century - and everytime it takes me somewhere new.
Reese from Taylors, SC
Loved these books, but can't reward it the highest title only because it started a revolution not refined it. Many authors from George Martin, Terry Goodkind, and Robert Feist helped make this a mainstream trend.
Richard from Ghana
We come to it at last... The greatest tale ever told... One Tale to rule them all.... A timeless masterpiece, no doubt!
Margaret from Boston
Itís an absolutely must-read. I love the books and the movie so much! Itís so good! A precious edition to your bookshelf at home if you hadnít added the trilogy yet.
Dragos from Romania
The books and the movie were almost perfect but now its time for something new: Gandalf, Eragon, Harry Potter or Voldemort, Galbatorix and Saruman? Who is the most powerful wizard of the world? Answer:none of them-there is a new wizard in town: is powerful, is young, is handsome , is alone and he is not bothered by all that. The wizard who will rock your fantasy world: The Black Vampire. Watch him on www.freefantasybooks.com.
Ian Richards from UK
The book is an epic example of one man creating an entire world in his own mind which all must admit is a remarkable achievement, and one that inspired an excellent trilogy of movies in the early millennia. The reality of actually reading it however is that it is set out in a manner that makes it very difficult to become one with the story. The reader must force their way through pages of pointless descriptives and the whole Tom Bombadil thing is just annoying (not as annoying as the constant outbreak of song however). All I can say of this story is that it truly did lay out a benchmark for future epic tales, and that Harry Potter surpasses it by quite some distance. Call it a children's book all you want, anyone who reads that story becomes so emotionally attached to it that words can not explain it's greatness... read that tale instead.
Mimi from Manila
Highly recommended. I admire JRRT so much for being able to bring us into a world as real as Middle-Earth. It was so 3-dimensional you could really believe it actually existed.
Chad from California
I couldn't get past the part about Tom Bombadil in the first book. I simply had to put it down it was so stinking bad. And I read and love fantasy more than any other genre. Lord of the Rings just didn't do it for me at all. As great as the movies are, they just didn't do it for me, either.
Juhan from Cape Town
Best book ever. Worth reading no matter if your a novice or experienced reader. Books are in all respects better than their movie counterparts. Sure the films create the visual aspect of the written word but if you read carefully through all the detail (no matter how long) you can recreate all the emotions, landscapes and characters yourself.
Edgar from United Kingdom
The Lord of the Rings is a flagging yarn of high-minded belief and anemic disposition. Despite its length and repetition, the biggest shame is it's deficiency in momentum, poorly driving spectacular, indefinite intervals of time into each other to finally piece together inconsistencies and splendors into enshrinement - but instead, the narratives thrust is done as a formality, and thus making myself experience the world-weariness of a lifetime. In spite of that, Tolkien conveys an idea and a range of impressions worthy of originality, and must be realised with eloquent proficiency.
Jared from San Francisco, CA
I can't stop reading this book. Even when I don't feel like reading, I'll find myself curled up on my bed, reading through the pages faster and faster, unable to put it down. The storytelling is flawless. The characters are unforgettable. The dialogue is pleasing. Mr. Tolkien created an entire world from his own imagination, and how I long to find some portal that will send me to Middle-Earth. He created the languages, geography, and the history of Middle-Earth itself. Such a feat is remarkable for a human being, and it alone should be honored. There are songs, poems, story-telling, and never do they get old. Yeah, maybe the constant describing of geographical locations can get tiring, but it is wholly necessary in order to put yourself in this world. When I was younger, I would skip these parts. But now, I read them willingly, and sometimes if I space out and miss all that I have read, I will go back and re-read those passages. This book is, and I can't stress enough, the greatest piece of literature of all of time. If you think otherwise, then you must be a Harry Potter fan. Harry Potter is great, but the Lord of the Rings is superior to all fantasy novels. Trying to surpass its legendary greatness is like trying to climb the Misty Mountains without limbs.
Bradley from New Mexico
OK, the movies may be great but the book is THE GREATEST! Even if I'm only on page 115 but who cares...
Rob from Huddersfield
Let me just start by saying I LOVE this book. This was one of the first fantasy novels I ever read, re-read and will continue to re-read till the day I die. Full of depth and spun from a glorious imagination, LOTR is the benchmark which every other fantasy novel aspires to. BUT it is far from perfect. Yes, it is overly long and descriptive in parts, yes some of the characters could have done with more fleshing out, yes parts of it are a real plod to get through, but overall it is head and shoulders above anything written in its genre since. Tolkien paints a wonderfully vivid picture of the lands of Middle Earth, its history and its peoples, and the more you read it, the more you want to go back and read it again. To say that this book is "boring" or "waffle", or even "complete and utter drivel" just shows an utter inability to understand or appreciate anything above the level of "The Beano". Like or dislike this fantastic legend of the literary world, it will never, ever be "boring" or "drivel" and it will never be surpassed.
Flossie from The Kingdom of Lur
I loved the stories and songs becuase they really told you all about the history and culture of the place. It was fantastic, even at 12, and I loved the whole world that was created, possibly even more than the story itself. The Silmarillion is good for that: it explains all the First Age of Middle Earth, although it's quite rough, but it's amazing how long Tolkien spent living in his world so as to know all the battles and tales from it.
Ry from Michigan
Hands down the king of all fantasy trilogy. Regardless of any flaws it may have it will always be the quintessential fantasy series that any true reader of the genre must read.
Jake from Crewkerne
Amazing, the detail he put in draws you closer and makes you want to read more. BRILLIANT!!
Liam from Baldock,UK
A brilliant book with lots of magic and much better than the films so a MUST BUY! But it is long...
Katherine from Cape Town
I am an avid fantasy reader and I loved the movie but the book was a huge waffle. Yes parts were interesting and creative but the characters spent chapters and chapters eating cheese in a forest and not doing much else besides singing songs. I wish people could think for themselves - this drivel has critical acclaim simply because no one wants to admit that a so called master piece was a complete bore. Long live Raymond E Feist!
Nona from UK
I haven't read it and wouldn't want to because it is way tooooo long but the movies were absolutely FANTASTIC!!!! I am very obsessed with Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga but this has to be the top three stories/movies I love best so thanks alot Tolkien.
Norris from Lordmanner
I like Tolkien's take on the book. It is amazing.
Nick from Fresno
I can guarantee this claim will stand, anybody that enjoys and raves about the exceptional nonexistent qualities of this book has probably never read Don Quixote. Tolkien's prose and imagination obviously are aimed at those that believe a god man thing actually rose from the dead. Call it a Trilogy, one whole storybook, whatever you desire, it will never make this terrible work of the human imagination anything more than it is, and that's being a boring, travelogue through the woods, running into extremely laughable characters with some of the worst dialog since Garbo's first silent movie. Bring it on you Ring lovers, the foundation of this book is built on sand, and the strength of your skulls isn't going to help stand it up to the test of what is considered great literature and fantasy.
Likkamatti from Finland
The Lord of The Rings is definitely my favourite book. Epic battles, adventures, heroic romance, hobbits, elves, dwarfs... What else could you ask from a fantasy book? J.R.R. Tolkien is my favourite author. Love it. Perfection.
The Best. The movie rocks and the book is pure talent. Tolkien is so good with characters, plots, and writing overall!
anonymous from unknown
I loved the movies, and the books. They were amazing! Nothing is better. This book is second to no fantasy book EVER written! I absolutely loved it. My dad read it to me when I was 10 and I fell in love with it and the movie.
Jett from U.S.A.
I love all of J.R.R. Tolkien's work. He is definitely my favourite author. He has created a world that not only appeals to kids but is a great read for adults too. Enjoy as you read The Lord Of The Rings!
Lonny from Sweden
One of the best book series ever. If you havenīt read any fantasy this is the one to read. Epic battles, fantastic language, and a wonderful world too discover.
Willie from UK
IT IS THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is another awesome book by Tolkien. Whoever says it's bad needs to re-read the book. If you rated the book 5 or lower you are a bad reader.
Louise from UK
I've just finished reading the books, and I enjoyed them. Very well written, great plot and Tolkien obviously knows his own world in a way that few writers do. Only problem with it is that books 2 and three seemed more like historical accounts than fiction. Half the characters seemed under-developed and were clearly only there to propel the plot on. Outside the Shire there was no banter, no one discussed their feelings, thoughts or personal lives at the end of the book, I still couldn't describe a single thing about Legolas or Gimli's characters (these two only seemed to be used to make up the numbers- the scenery was better explained than them!). Even Aragorn had so little individual character besides what was informed at first that I didn't feel as much as I should have done when his life changed at the end. Also, the romantic relationships seemed false and lacked chemistry, as even long-married couples mainly spoke to each other formally, and no one seemed to show affection unless their partner was dying. It was all too clinical and serious, and purely functional. The characters never really behaved realistically- they only really talked when they had to, and only to discuss actions or strategy, never personal matters, and only the hobbits really showed nerves or anxiety when going into battle- even when they knew they could be walking to their death. It was the same in the appendixes. Lots of names and dates, no real soul or feeling. Also, lots about the past, hardly anything about the 'present' and the lives of the characters. I also didn't like the description of the Orcs. I liked the way we were shown they were bad (Orcs were more well developed than most of the other characters put together!) but I don't like it when races are portrayed as inherently evil, and it's beyond me how a language can be 'foul'.
Marine from Athens, Greece
I read those books because everyone said they were sooooo good. I have never been so disapointed in a book. I find it so childish. Tolkien may have marked the path of fantasy as some say however the students have surpassed him!
Jamie from Australia
The Lord of the Rings is the greatest piece of writing ever. And those who think it's too detailed- please just go and learn how to read properly. Do you realise that its detail that makes a novel believable and gives it the various emotions within it. Fantasy epics are meant to be extremely detailed, go read a child's novel if you say it's too detailed.
Wes from Ohio
No book is perfect and that is true of LOTR. It does however stand as the crowning achievement of the grandfather of fantasy and all other fantasy books are eventually measured against it. I would reccomend any reader to start with the Hobbit, especially younger readers, and grow into LOTR. Please remember to thank Mr. JRR Tolkien for the genre when reading.
Jimmy from Scotland
First read The Lord of the Rings 40 years ago and have read them again every 5 or 6 years since.
Javan from Coffs Harbour
This book is great.... WAY better than the movies. The Hobbit is an easier read but it is not as good. I found LOTR a bit of a hard read, and so I gave it an 8, not a 9 or 10. I must say though, the Wheel of Time is better than LOTR by about 1/2 a mark (or at least the first 6 books are). Books 6-12 are about a mark worse than LOTR. The fact that each book is a 850 pages average makes it a very slow series. Just try the first 70 pages of book 1.
Ollie from Nottingham
Now for the readability factor god this book is pure evil. The problem is that Tolkien describes everything in such detail you have to sort of make an imaginary time line in your head to try and get around the sheer size of waffle thatís in the book. Coupled with the fact that most of the book is just like reading the scribbling of a retarded child makes this book worse than the Bible... Itís even longer for Christ sake. But there are some good parts to this book, which kind of redeem the Lord of the Rings, but it doesnít cancel out the gigantic amount of drivel in this book. Over-rated. Peace.
Lee from Manchester
This is a timeless classic. The characters that Tolkien invented have stayed with me for over 20 years and the book is as fresh in my mind as they were back then. The visual imagery is staggering and the themes running through the Lord of the Rings are essentially what makes this timeless. Never has has one book had such an effect on my whole life and none have (yet) surpassed it.
Duncan from Reading
Its the originator, its the first, many have been inspired by it, many have tried to emulate it and none have quite succeeded. Yes the first 300 pages are heavy going, but they are totally neccessary in understanding the story and the characters. The films tell you the basic story, but Peter Jackson changed too many things that detract from it.. He thought he could outwrite the master.. he should have realised that you shouldn't change what is as close to perfection as is possible. You may have seen the films, but read the books. you will wonder, you will feel every emotion there is and quite simply the book is the most comprehensive stunning work of fantasy there is. This book, is and will continue to be one of the classics, the books that people will still be reading in centuries time.
Jessie from Wales
This is the best book EVER! If you have watched the films and enjoyed them then buy the book, it's 100% better than the films and they are good. Everything about the Lord of the Rings is magical and a book that can be read and read and read and read again. This book will still be around and popular in hundreds of years time, that's just how good it is!
8.9/10 from 129 reviews
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