Reviews of Two Towers, the (1954)
Review by SlowRain (2007-06-25)
I liked the second half (book 4) much better as it was the first time in the series that Tolkien actually sat down and developed some of his characters–Frodo, Sam, Gollum/Sméagol. It was also the first time where the endless traveling was blended in well with the story, rather than just having them walking, and walking, and walking, and then... more walking. I also liked the back story of the Ents and the Entwives (men vs. women) and the character of Treebeard/Fangorn.
It’s interesting that I don’t really care for any of the main characters–Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn–but find Sam, Gollum/Sméagol, and Treebeard more interesting. I think there was a reason for it with Frodo, but the other two I think were just a little too simple on Tolkien’s part.
As for the first half (book 3), I think it was plagued, initially, with too much walking (have I mentioned the walking before?), and with too many hastily constructed and poorly developed events: Boromir’s departure, “someone’s” return, the healing of Théoden, the battle of Helm’s Deep, the recounting of the battle at Isengard.
I’m also not a fan of his dialogue throughout, and I wasn’t impressed with the narrative in the closing chapters where Tolkien became a little too obvious about “oh, no, something bad is going to happen, so stay tuned: same Bat-time, same Bat-channel”.
Other than the highlights I’ve already mentioned, the only other thing I’m enjoying is the overall presentation of an evil weapon or knowledge and the lengths people will go to possess it, the way it should be regarded, and the kind of person who is best suited to handling it.
Review by Jago360 (2004-03-05)
Although I must say that "The Two Towers" is my least favorite of Tolkien's trilogy, that's like saying nacho Doritos are my least favorite Doritos. They're still sublime. "Towers" differs from "The Fellowship of the Ring" in that the story branches off into several plotlines concerning different groups of characters ("Fellowship" had just one storyline). Aragorn's character is fleshed out, Sam and Frodo (and Gollum) begin the long journey to Mordor, Legolas and Gimli become best buddies, and Gandalf...well, I don't want to give it away. Just read the movie (then see the movie).
Review by MuadDib (2003-03-20)
This was actually my favorite of the series as it fleshed out many important details and the character of Saruman was one of the most interesting ones presented. One of the main failings often attributed to the series is a lack of motive in the bad guys (besides of course just being "evil"), but Saruman was driven by greed and his progression throughout the series is not unlike what you might expect from one of the mightiest powers in middle earth becoming undone by his own greed and corruption.
Review by venkman (2003-03-07)
I know this will upset a lot of people out there, and I encourage them to write their own reviews, but I did not like this book. I respect Tolkien as an intellectual, a historian, and a linguist. However, I felt this book was not well written. The characters' motivations and personalities were 1 dimensional and were difficult to associate with. As a result I lost interest after reading 600 + pages into the trilogy (roughly the middle of the Two Towers). While the backdrop of middle earth was highly creative and well detailed, I lost interest in the underlying story. While the overall plot was simplistic, the story itself was overly complex. For book of this length I felt that more character development was neccessary.
Also, the dialogue between the characters, particularly of Gimli and Legolas, was immature and contrived. At times they boasted of exciting aspects of their races. This would be expected if a human being were suddenly to become an elf, but it did not appear to be the type of things someone who had been an elf all his life would say. The strengths and weaknesses of your race should not be exciting to you if you've had them all your life.
As a side note I slowly became bored with the long passages of song. I do not think this was a weakness of the book, but rather something that I personally do not enjoy.
Overall I felt the ideas behind Middle Earth were creative and well thought out, but I would've preferred someone else write the main story line.
Review by tollbaby (2003-03-07)
All three of the shorter novels published as "the Lord of the Rings trilogy" are fantastic novels, but the action taking place in The Two Towers is fantastic! This "trilogy" (originally meant to be published as one book) contains lush imagery, rich and detailed description, heart-pounding action and you can really immerse yourself in the world of Middle Earth.
In The Two Towers, Frodo and Sam continue their solitary journey to Mordor, and are eventually overtaken by Gollum (Sméagol). Gollum agrees to guide them to the Black Gate of Mordor, but their journey is fraught with danger (not the least of which is Gollum's dual-personality dilemma). Tolkien cleverly wrote his master epic in six books - two books for each volume which was eventually published. In The Two Towers, the books show the division between the Frodo/Sam storyline and the remainder of the Fellowship. Pippin and Merry become separated from the rest of the Fellowship and flee into an ancient forest full of strange and wondrous creatures. A fantastic journey filled with Orcs, Ents, a confrontation with Saruman and a reunion, not only with the remainder of the broken Fellowship, but with the reborn Gandalf, this chapter of the adventure is definitely a page-turner. Even if words on a page don't tend to excite you, this will keep you enthralled. The world that Tolkien has created in Middle Earth is so easy to lose yourself in, you might not want to come back!