Reviews of Fellowship of the Ring, the (1954)
Review by SlowRain (2007-05-01)
This is the third time Iíve read The Fellowship of the RingĖonce in high school, once before the movie came out, and most recently last month. Each time I read it, I was in a different phase in my life and in a different phase of my reading abilities, however the result was still the same: I wasnít overly impressedĖand thatís coming from a fantasy fan.
I think Tolkien has his strengths: the rich history imbued in Middle-earth; his smooth, yet detailed, narrative; the complete, non-rushed feel of his tale. However, despite the detailed history and slow pace, I felt the settings lacked; despite staying in a location for several days or weeks, there was little feel or mood to the placeĖRivendell, Moria, Lorien: the characters just stayed there, they didnít experience the place. If it hadnít been for Peter Jacksonís movies, my impressions would have been a lot less vivid. Thatís not a good thing in a fantasy novel where the setting is of primary importance.
Another thing I was disappointed in was the characterization. These are just a bunch of people on an adventure, there was little discussion of any of their personalities or conflicts. We didnít get to know any of them in any depth.
The adventure, of which this on only just the first part, primarily involved them walking. And then, when the finished walking, they did some more walking: no stone went unmentioned, no tree was left undescribed. There is almost no plot to the novel, and certainly no intrigue to hold the readerís attention.
Overall, I think Tolkien is good with history and nature, but not good with cities, societies, or people. The only place where he was able to overcome these shortfalls was at the beginning in the Shire, where he took his time, developed the area, the people, and the culture. The other places were just mentioned as the characters walked past it.
There are is some thematic material mentioned in passing, but it doesnít seem to be delved into with any depth. Iíve seen the movies, so I also realize that some elements need the complete tale to make them stand out.
Iím going to press on with the other two in the trilogy, but not so much because I enjoyed the first one, more because I just want to see what these books are about.
Review by ropie (2007-01-24)
It's been 15 years since I read this and I'm not usually enamoured of fantasy but there are a few books in any genre that you should atleast try once. 'The Lord of the Rings' is almost impossible to avoid these days, but still has an inpenetrable magic that can only really be understood by reading the book.
This, the first part of the three linked books (not a trilogy, just one book split into three) is perhaps the easiest to read and follow, not falling victim to much of the lengthy discussion and wandering of the rest of the tale. It still manages to set the quest up very well though and prepares the reader for what is to come, instilling a sense of magic and wonder from the first words.
Immersive fiction just about begins to describe it. LotR is one of those books about which people always say, 'if you haven't read it yet I really envy you!'. This is inexplicable to me as even this first part is so massive that the reader is far more likely to get something out of it on the second or even third read. I for one look forward to trying it all again sometime soon.
Review by drache_gnar (2006-02-21)
As a literary achievement, The Felloship of the Rin is quite impressive. It is also an amazing tale which deserves to be read.
But, in the end, I found it way too drawn out, with little to no character depth, and found myself often yawning during Tolkien's drawn-out descriptions.
Pro: Amazing story, Interesting Lands
Cons: Too much detail (drowning in it), very drawn-out, reads like a geography textbook at times.
Review by predsy (2005-05-10)
Well, what more is there to say about this book that has not yet been said here? The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece, and Tolkien is no less than a genius. This book has it all (and a lot more too!): suspense, action, adventure, great characters who youíll never forget, a little bit of romance, etc. All of this set in a fantasy world never seen before!
The Fellowship of the Rings is my least favorite of the 3, mainly because all of the action is kept for the next 2 books, though you canít skip this one as it gives all the necessary background information, and of course has some of the loveliest locations in it: Rivendell and Lothlorien!
Review by Corleone (2004-01-15)
My favorite of the three parts of Lord of the Rings, mainly due to the locations of Rivendell, Lothlorien, and Moria, the discovery of the Ring and the meeting of the Fellowship, and the breaking of the Fellowship. Clearly the source of all modern fantasy, it will remain unmatched.
Review by kevin42 (2003-03-12)
If you have seen and loved the movie, you owe it to yourself to read the book. There is so much more to gain from the book than you ever will see in the movies (even though the movies were fabulous). The story and the characters are wonderful, and the writing is amazing. Tolkien can write whole pages describing the shade of green in the forest. Some might find the narrative boring at time (judging by some of the reviews) but I think most people will appreciate how the reader can become immersed in the worlds that Tolkien creates. Even during parts of the story where the action is slow, you can just appreciate 'being there'.
Review by Jago360 (2003-03-08)
One of the most remarkable works of literature in any genre. The plot, characters and settings flow together to create a completely seamless world - Middle Earth is real, not a weak figment of the author's mind.
Of course, "Fellowship" is only one-third of the larger story, and to truly appreciate any of the three, they all must be read. Still, on its own, this is an extremely satisfying and entertaining novel (in fact, I didn't even read "Return of the King" until years after I read the first two, and I still thought they were amazing, even without the conclusion). Now that the superb movie series is nearing its end, there's no excuse for not returning to the books that started it all.
Review by dougthonus (2003-03-08)
It's a good book, and it's the foundation of much of the modern fantasy out there, but I think modern authors have really eclipsed his work. I'd say this is probably the longest 300+ page book I've read, because I think I've seen math books that were better page turners. He describes his world with great depth, but spends too much time describing the wrong things, and the works really aren't big enough to warrant the amount of description he gives. (the plot suffers for it imo). I can sum up about 1/3rd of the book with, we walked, we ate, we camped, we got scared by some shadows, then we fled.
Still it's a must read for people looking at a lot of fantasy books, and it gets high marks for it's originality. I gave it 8/10 stars more based more on what he did for fantasy as a genre then on how much I really enjoyed reading the book.
Review by pickychicky1979 (2003-03-07)
I can't begin to put into words how much I enjoyed this book! In years passed I had try to read The Hobbit and had no luck so I was turned off to the author.
However, once, I picked this one up I was drawn into Strider's, Frodo's, Gandalf's, Gimli's, Sam's, and the Fellowship's world. I could feel the Nazgul's breath on the back of Frodo's neck as they chased him thorugh Middle Earth.
For anyone who hasn't read the book, put the movie aside and READ the books. You will not be diappointed.
Review by transient0 (2003-03-07)
One of the few true epics written in modern english. Although the movies are very well done, you must read the books as well to appreciate the epic nature of the story. This book is the origin of so many modern fantasy cliches that it can be hard to read if you are familiar with modern fantasy. If you are reading it from that situation just remember that none of those things(dwarves, elves, orcs, etc.) were cliche then, Tolkien was one of the first to use these mythical creatures and folk in this sort of literary style.