So, back in April we saw the movie of The Hobbit and I felt compelled to re-read it (see review posted on Goodreads). After reading The Hobbit, I realized that it had been over 15 years since I had read the Trilogy and while I enjoyed the movies as they came out I didn't really remember the books well enough to be critical or to post a valid review here.
And so, I put the Trilogy on e-reserve and went about my business. Book 1 came in two weeks ago and I hesitated because I wanted to read all three at once. I waited as long as I could (Book 1 actually returned itself last night but I have yet to connect to my WiFi through my kindle..it will be returned as soon as this review is written), but now I will have to read Book 2 using my paper copy (I know some true book lovers will be aghast that rather than read a book that is on my shelf I was hoping for an electronic copy but yes, I am that much of a kindle-slut). I'm still hoping that Book 3 will come in (I did not cancel that reserve) while I'm reading Book 2 and I can finish electronically.
All of that is really irrelevant to this review though, and sorry for the backstory. I last read the Trilogy in college and while I don't remember exactly when, my guess would be summer of 1996 or 1997.
I was surprised at how much this book follows the typical epic hero story (development, journey, saving of the world, etc). Certainly Frodo is the "unlikely" hero (as are they all) and he is required ultimately to go it alone (although I'm getting ahead of myself here a bit for just reviewing book 1).
The thing I was struck the most was the similarities with Harry Potter. I did not note the similarities when I read the Potter series but this time it was roaring at me. Rowling totally purloined the "let us not speak of he who cannot be named", the connection between Potter/Voldemort through dreams and the wants is way too similar to the connection between Frodo/Sauron, and the Dementors are simply revitalized Ring Wraiths (both even have the "kiss", I mean the "breath" of death).
As for quotes, there were several that I liked:
"I don't know half of you as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." is such a great little insult.
"He hated it and loved it, as he hated and loved himself. He could not get rid of it. He had no will left in the matter." was such a great description of an addict and their addiction (clearly the Ring stands for so much).
"It's the job that's never started as takes the longest to finish" is just a great little comment on procrastination.
I'm leaving the rating at 4 stars. This book is (like The Hobbit) a must read for all. It is clearly a monumental work and worth reading if for no other reason than to appreciate the amount of creative energy that it took to develop this world. However I found some of the description of the scenery to be wordy and boring and the length of time to travel places to be ridiculously overdone.
Unfortunately, it is also making me think that I should re-read the Potter series and revise my ratings and add reviews. Maybe that will wait for next summer.