Read my full review here
Tolkien uses his talent to give readers beautiful and extremely detailed descriptions of the setting, characters, and actions. Tolkien knows how to weave subtle foreshadowing into the story so that readers can pick up hints and clues and try to guess what significance they will have later in the novel.
The characters of this novel are my favourite aspect. In the first novel we mainly see the story as Frodo would see it but in this installment we are given the opportunity to experience the journeys through the perspective of some of the more minor characters in the Fellowship. I think this was a very good decision on Tolkien’s part because it helps to build up the complexities of these minor characters. The characters which I really enjoyed this time are Pippin, Sam, and, of course, the dynamic between Legolas and Gimli. In the first novel it is apparent that Legolas and Gimli have bonded but that’s shown much more in this book and their banter often serves as comic relief in tense situations. Pippin isn’t as foolish a character as he is made out to be in the first book though he still does foolish things For example, picking up the stone orb which Gandalf got from Saruman. Sam is the perspective through which we see Frodo’s journey. This solidifies Sam’s importance and makes him one of the main characters. Sam’s growth is one of the best things to read.
There are, of course, some issues which I noticed while reading. Again, Tolkien tends to use the same description for multiple things throughout the book. At one point, he uses the word “sheer” so often that it appears every couple of pages. For a writer who is so imaginative, it’s odd that Tolkien was this repetitive. As well, the narrator obviously intervenes a few times which doesn’t fit exactly with the rest of the narrative. Also, there were some contradictions with the characters that irked me a bit. For example, Sam has already become so mature and yet he does something very foolish. I’m not quite sure if it fits or not. I don’t know, it just stood out to me. As well, Pippin seems to have grown a lot during his time with the orcs and then Treebeard, yet as soon as he is off with Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, he does something really risky. It’s almost as though as soon as they are among the Fellowship again him and Merry revert to childish hobbits.
Overall, this book was a delight to read. Even when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about what I had read. The characters, descriptions, and intricacies are all so well-written.