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Book review: <i>The Lord of the Rings</i> by J.R.R Tolkien

This book—or to be more precise, this trilogy—is number two in Angus and Robertson’s top one hundred, having been cheated out of the top spot by that appalling Da Vinci Code business. And, while I wouldn’t say J.R.R Tolkien’s meandering and fairly time-intensive classics are the best books in the world, they sure have stood the test of time. The fact that they are referred to pretty much undisputedly as “classics” gives that away. The publisher on this lot is Harper Collins, and if I’d snapped up this baby as a publisher I’d be laughing all the way to the bank! I don’t think there are many people in the developed world who haven’t heard of The Lord of the Rings, be it movies, books, cartoons, other references... and you have to respect Tolkien for that.

The content

This book has 1168 pages... Good Lord. Do you know when I read this book? It was my final year of high school. My finely-honed procrastination technique to avoid having anything to do with final exams was to read the longest and most involved fantasy story I could find. And what do you know. I admit, I started the first book three times before managing to actually finish it and go onto the second book. Tolkien is very wordy, and the world he created is so real, and has captured the imaginations of so many, simply because he imagined and wrote it in such meticulous detail. Sometimes, this can be difficult to get around when you’re reading it. This book was also written some time ago and, therefore, while the style of fantasy writing is fairly timeless, Tolkien was a total trend-setter—the grandfather of the genre, if you like. So he can be a bit heavy. There are lots of theories about this book; that it’s about the second world war, that it’s Tolkien’s catholic utopia, that it’s all about drugs... anyway, as long as you can make it past the first half of the first book, and you have quite a bit of time on your hands, then read it! Because you might as well read one of the most popular books on the planet.

Who is this book for?

Well, it is really required reading for lovers of fantasy. If you dig the genre then I’d be surprised if you hadn’t read it. However, even if you aren’t a huge fantasy fan (and I’m not) you can still enjoy this book a lot. Think about what the expression “timeless classic” really means, as opposed to a thoughtless cliche, and this book is one of those. It’s amazing. And, because of its standing and subject and classic-ness, it can appeal to anyone of any age, and that’s what’s beautiful about this book. I would particularly recommend it as rite-of-passage reading.

If you like this book, you would also like...

Fantasy novels, but by good fantasy authors, like Robin Hobb, Raymond E. Feist, etcetera. Also, if you can read such solid books then head for some Russian authors.

In short

Title The Lord of the Rings
Author J.R.R Tolkien
Publisher Harper Collins
ISBN 0007149247
Year 2002
Pages 1168
Over all score 8
Review Type: