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The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien One point: I completely respect everything that Tolkien did for the fantasy genre. I really do. I respect that he created a fantasy language, and a rich mythology. I can see the real-world influences he drew on in creating his own mythology.

However, this book is a non-compelling slog of poorly drawn characters and what are (now at least) stereotypes and tropes of the fantasy genre. I will grant you that Tolkien probably originated a lot of the tropes, but when I came this book in high school, I was already well-versed in fantasy, having grown up reading epic fantasy adventures.

I tried. I really did. I slogged through this one to the end. It took me, who could read a book a day if I found it engrossing enough, almost a month just to get through the first book. I picked up the second, saw it was more of the same, and put it down after only a chapter or two.

I've had people tell me I should continue slogging through, because the books got better. But honestly, I didn’t want to read about those characters any more because I didn't find them compelling. I had no emotional connection to Tolkien's characters or world. I had no insight into who they were, other than almost-historical cardboard cut-out figures. And I hated the villain for being a faceless evil that appears to be evil for evil's sake. I found the villains especially boring for their utterly lack of either personality or decent motive. Eventually I watched the movies and got the gist of the whole story, but I still didn't really care for the characters.