Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien can be credited as the mastermind and father of what we know as the fantasy genre today. Tolkien is the #1 best fantasy writer in the world, anyway.
Lord of the Rings was originally published in 6 volumes, which were combined into the trilogy we know them as today.
The Fellowship of the Ring:
The story continues on 60 years from where The Hobbit left off, with the main character being Bilbo's nephew and heir, Frodo Baggins. Tolkien starts the storyline of the new, more epic adventure by neatly incorporating places, people and objects that are found in Bilbo's journey to the Lonely Mountain. The fellowship, a party of nine, will do all they can to assist Frodo in his dangerous task.
Tolkien introduces characters and places and sets up this epic tale remarkably well - a map is recommended so you don't get lost with the characters! While some may complain that this book drags on as the plot takes time to move out of the Shire, in true Tolkien fashion, everything that happens does have some significance in the whole, wide story.
The Fellowship of the Ring encapsulates courage, friendship, and loyalty, but ends in tragedy.
The Two Towers:
The story really gets going in The Two Towers and starts to take a darker turn. This book focuses on different parts of the Fellowship which have taken different roads and gives the reader an opportunity to understand some of the other characters and their missions.
In The Two Towers, Tolkien preserves the reputation of the Lord of the Rings as an epic, with the vastness of perspective that is given to the reader, able to see the covert struggle between the dark powers of Middle Earth. Somehow, Tolkien doesn't neglect his care for the smaller and less significant characters that are overlooked by those who are corrupt and important.
The Two Towers builds the character's perseverance and bravery through hard paths, preparing them for the final stand.
Return of the King:
Return of the King finishes the Lord of the Rings with a flourish, tying the storylines back together, from ancient times to the newly-begun Fourth Age. After the last battle with unexpected assistance, and the freeing of Middle Earth from the seemingly all-powerful dark forces, Tolkien ends with a sobering reminder that even the ravages of war can reach home...
The appendices at the end of this book are helpful to fill you in on significant parts of history, family trees and the various languages of Middle Earth - if you find this interesting, then maybe the Silmarillion is for you!
Lord of the Rings is the original classic fantasy, which focuses on friendship, loyalty, courage, and nobility. It is an exceptional story, with epic worldbuilding, and great values. These volumes are not for the faint of heart! While readable for a younger audience, there is a level of maturity (eg; 13+) required to fully understand the deeper meanings of the story. It is a deeply philosophical piece of literature and many academic scholars have devoted their careers to the study of Tolkien's work.
Therefore we give Lord of the Rings a rating of 10/10.