Narrator: Rob Inglis
Rating: 9 out of 10
Publisher: Recorded Books
Length: 18 hours, 18 minutes
Pages: 432 (print version)
Challenges: 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, 2012 Audio Book Challenge
Synopsis (from the book’s description): As the Shadow of Mordor grows across the land, the Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, has joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and takes part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escape into Fangorn Forest and there encounter the Ents. Gandalf has miraculously returned and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam has left his master for dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive—now in the foul hands of the Orcs. And all the while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing as the One Ring draws ever nearer to the Cracks of Doom.
Overall Impression: I’ve been oddly immersed in the Lord of the Rings lately. I read the Hobbit a few months ago, and Ryan and I have been working our way through the LotR movies (and we saw the Hobbit in the theater). I read the first two books in the LotR series back in 2006, and was burnt out before I could finish it up. I thought about listening to them again, but decided the chances of me burning out again were too great, so I just trusted I’d remember the main plot points and jumped right into the Return of the King.
Thankfully, the movies and my memory gave me enough of a background that I was able to follow along in the book just fine. Of all things, I was most surprised with how little of the final book contains epic battles. In the movie, everything leads up to the final battle and Frodo’s final moments with the ring. In the book, this is dispensed with fairly quickly, and there is quite a bit of story that happens afterward, as everyone figures out what to do now that evil has been defeated. As the friends go their separate ways, it’s all feels a little too final — much like life. I liked this afterward — we get to learn more about the Hobbits, and they have their own little moment of heroism as they fight the ruffians that have taken over the Shire. It also has a very bittersweet ending, which I really quite loved.
It was a wonderful book to end the year.
Narration: Rob Inglis again did a lovely job.
Positives: The whole thing is so iconic, so part of the fabric of literature — what’s not to love?
Negatives: Tolkien is Tolkien, and can be wordy.
Other books I’ve read by JRR Tolkien: The Hobbit (review), The Fellowship of the Ring (no review), the Two Towers (no review)
Other books I’ve listened to narrated by Rob Inglis: none
Other blogger opinions:
The Spotted Mushroom: “Of all the books, I really thought this was the most entertaining. It is full of great battles and Gollum, and danger, and even a little romance.”
Leighanne’s Lit: “The series was amazing. Of course, at times it dragged, and Tolkien is wordy, but that didn’t take away from this masterpiece of a trilogy.”
Page Turners: “Although I don’t recommend it to people very often (because whether you enjoy this book is largely going to be a matter of personal taste I think), it is easily one of my favourites of all time.”