Review: The Two Towers by J.R.R.Tolkien

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Continuing the story of The Hobbit, this is the second part of Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring an exclusive cover image from the film, the definitive text, and a detailed map of Middle-earth.
Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in the battle with an evil spirit in the Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape the rest of the company were attacked by Orcs.
Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin – alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

Review

WARNING: This is the second in the trilogy and so, naturally, will have spoilers for the first book.  You’ve had your warning.  Don’t moan at me if I spoil something.

Right!

Book Two!

As some of you may remember, I set myself the challenge a while ago to read all three of the Lord of the Rings books.  Mainly because I’d never read anything this daunting before and also because they were my Dad’s favourite books and I’d always wondered what he saw in them.  I mainly saw very tiny font and lots of words I didn’t understand.  The OH goes on and on about these books too and so I felt the need to give them a go.  Book One wasn’t easy but I read it and enjoyed it.

Book Two has sat on my TBR pile for over a year and I promised to start it before 2015 was over.

Most of you will know the rough story of the book: Frodo travelling to take The Ring to Mordor, Elves and Humans fighting Orcs, Talking Trees, Giant Spider etc.  The Two Towers are much more than that though.

Firstly, these books require a different kind of reading than I was used to.  Initially I found it impossible to read much more than a few pages a night but that was because I was used to reading YA.  YA is easier for me to digest and I can read huge chucks with the telly on in the background while I’m cooking my dinner.  The Two Towers needs a devoted hour where there are no other distractions.  Shocking as it might seem, it didn’t surprise me when I could suddenly read a few chapters a night without the electronics buzzing at me.  These books were written at a time when readers would sit down on a Sunday and just read.  It was the main activity and the only distraction was when your cup of tea needed a top up.

The Two Towers is a heavy-duty book but it’s worth going along with it.  It isn’t all about mythical beings fighting each other and strange languages.  It’s about friendships, loyalty, longing, war, heartache and much more.  You have to look beneath the other layer of the story and see a whole world that’s been completely invested in by its author.  Tolkien is a master at world-building and he knows every nook and cranny of the lands that his imagination has produced.  As a piece of literature, it’s a stunning example of how important details can be and how knowing every part of the landscape your characters are in means they can move through it more easily.

I’m so pleased I’ve finally read The Two Towers and with the brilliant cliff-hanger you are left on, it won’t be long before I’ll be reading the third book, The Return of the King.  Not an easy read but one worth trying for the great pay-off it delivers.

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