Reviewed as a mother,
I had already read The Hobbit as a read aloud to my three children twice and they loved that story and were more than capable of retaining their attention for the duration. At age 6, 8 & 9 they asked if I would read the Fellowship of The Ring. I have seen the reviews of other parents saying that the story was way over their children’s heads however my children are exceptionally good readers and have a long history of enjoying complicated books. I knew that this story line moves into a much darker direction than the Hobbit but I was prepared to deal with that so we began to read. The main idea of the story hooked them in immediately. They were already imagining another Hobbit like adventure, this time with a seemingly less uptight hero and merrier companions. Immediately the differences between the two books began to become evident. It had been many many years since I had read these books and I had forgotten much of the lesser details of the story. It feels to me (opinion only, not based on reading historical accounts of Tolkien’s life so do not feel the need to comment telling me his life’s story) that Tolkien had created an entire world with complex histories beyond the contents of this book and he felt like he needed to cram as much information about that world into its pages. I am certain that the extreme detail and depth of information he includes adds an entirely new and complex layer to the overall story line however if your interest is centered on the fellowship and their quest the added information weighs the story down and creates lulls that caused my children to lose interest. Initially I dealt with these areas simply by skimming and paraphrasing but even that caused the story to move much slower than The Hobbit. The characters in this book are equally well written and the adventure shares the same creative excitement as The Hobbit causing the kids to request that we continued to read on night after night however, slowly and unbidden by them their interest drifted. We sat the book down to go out of town for a long weekend and no one asked for me to continue it when we returned.
My oldest finished the book and said that he liked it but has not yet asked for the next one nor has he elected to do his own review. I believe he would have enjoyed it more if he had read it independently.
Lexie Level 860