By D. C. Ward
This is the birthplace of modern fantasy, the first of its kind, and, because of that, it’s hard to criticize – nobody’s laying into Thomas Edison because his lightbulb didn’t come with a dimmer. And with that forced and hesitantly unresearched analogy, let us explore Middle Earth and what else makes it so great.
…First though, some minor complaints [pause for gasps]: it can be quite slow and, because of this, quite daunting to trudge through at times, particularly in The Fellowship of the Ring. Also I couldn’t help but feel that the characters lacked depth. However, both these complaints mean nothing, because resolving them, I think, would weaken the epic adventure. Make it shorter and the reader will never become fully consumed by it as I was, for when you’re reading you’re among the characters exploring Middle Earth, seeing everything that they see; and then if you were to give more depth to the characters, they might take away too much of the focus from the gargantuan world and its seamless history.
To appreciate the sheer scale and brilliance of this novel (it doesn’t even feel right calling it a novel – it feels something more), I think it is vital for the reader to read patiently and dedicate more time to the pages than they normally would to a book. It is then that you begin to appreciate what J. R. R. Tolkien does best in his masterpiece: he brings his world and his story to life, and guides you, though sometimes rather passively, through magnificent landscapes and the darkest of dwellings.
To end, if you haven’t read it, read it. It is extraordinary, but different. It will rarely quicken your heart with suspense and you’re unlikely to laugh, cry or feel particularly scared throughout the journey to Mordor, but you’ll have fun. And, if you’re a writer, then this is certainly a must read, as Tolkien’s description of a world unknown to the reader (particularly to those around during its publication) is staggering, as is his vocabulary and the intricacies of his world building.
I hope you enjoyed this review. Please like or comment or subscribe if you want to, or all three if you’re a bit of a maverick, and take a look at some of our other articles, fiction storied and book reviews. Our own fiction includes the epic fantasy serial story The Demons’ Cry, the terrifying horror short story Guilty, and the comedy sci-fi 1979*. Enjoy!
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By D. C. Ward.