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Friday, May 23, 2014

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is the second book in the Lord of the Rings series.
The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor–the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring. Thus continues the magnificent, bestselling tale of adventure begun in The Fellowship of the Ring, which reaches its soul-stirring climax in The Return of the King.

These books require a certain mindset that is very different from the mindset of a reader reading a light YA book such as Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  First of all, it uses a fair amount of oldish speak and lengthy conversations that can go on for several pages.  The trick is to really read the words and not just sort of skim/fast-read them.  You have to pay attention to every word.  I was able to attain this mindset about halfway through the book.  After I was able to do that, the world just came to life for me.

J.R.R. Tolkien definitely has a different writing style.  You wouldn't think it would be very descriptive but it is.  He tends to use personification as well as metaphors to build his world.  If you read a descriptive line and then close your eyes, it's fairly easy to imagine.

I actually saw the movies before I read the books and I think that actually helped me instead of hurting my perseption of the book.  Yes, there were some major differences (like how Faramir actually wasn't a total crazy person who was power-hungry just like Boromir).  But unlike other books, I was able to spot those differences and clearly separate them in my mind from the books.  So I was still able to enjoy the books while having the movies to lean on if I ever couldn't really visualize something.

When I looked at the page count, I couldn't believe it.  322 pages?!  It felt like 500!  This book is just lengthy.  Even though it isn't very long literally, it takes a long time to read.  Maybe it's just me.  I couldn't read it very fast mostly because the pacing was just that slow.  The only fast part was near the end.  It just seemed like everything was happening underwater in slow motion.  So that's why it's four stars and not five.  This truly is a master piece and plenty of lessons can be learned but it just dragged on and on and on for me.

I almost forgot about the characters!  Sam is one of the best friends anyone could have.  He stays with Frodo through the thick and thin and even at the end, he is willing to share the burden.  Even though he's just Frodo's gardener, he's evolved to so much more.  Frodo truly couldn't have gotten far without Sam.  My other favorite character is Legolas.  I've always loved the elves and Legolas is no exception.  He's just so awesome and wise but also admits when he's wrong and is willing to learn.

“Don't go where I can't follow!” 

Four stars for excellence in every way except pacing!

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”

 “It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.” 

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

 “There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.” 

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