The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien book review

When discussing fantasy, you can’t help but talk about the The Lord of the Rings series. It has transcended its genre and its age and has become one of the most well-known names and titles in all of fiction, not just fantasy. The Two Towers is the second book in the trilogy and continues our Hobbits’ and heroes’ journeys as they attempt to stop the likes of Sauron and Saruman from gaining too much power and bringing darkness to the world. All the while, Sam and Frodo must bring that bring to Mordor and throw the ring in the flames to destroy it so no one else can use it.

Book Review. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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If you’ve missed my review of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in the series, you can go and read that here. In that, I discuss how and why the book is such a strong start and how, and why, the series is so popular, so I’ll avoid talking about that here as I would just be repeating myself.

The Two Towers plot – 5/5

When I announced on my Twitter that I was going to be starting The Two Towers quite a few people noted that the series is fantastic but this is the best of the three, so I went in with high expectations, but wow, I was not expecting to be as absolutely encapsulated by this book as I was. Yes, I’ve seen the movies a few times so I know the general gist of what is going on throughout but there is so much more in the books that’s not in the films that I loved.

I don’t think I’ve ever been as engrossed in fictional stories and cultures as the ones that Tolkien manages to develop in The Two Towers. Whereas in The Fellowship of the Ring, there were characters that the heroes would meet who I wasn’t a huge fan of and I felt like there was a lot of explanation just basically telling us they were walking from one place to another. Tolkien cuts down a lot on this with much more dialogue and action or cool moments at almost every moment there isn’t dialogue.

I think the biggest praise I can heap on The Two Towers is that it had me excited every time to pick it up and it has properly captured my interest in the whole Lord of the Rings lore again. It’s, without a doubt, the best third of a complete story I’ve ever read and has me so excited to read the final book (and I’m very hard to excite).

The Two Towers characters 4.75/5

I don’t know if I’m more buzzing off of how much I enjoyed the book or J.R.R. Tolkien has integrated some of the greatest characters ever written into a book. I always say that one of the hardest things to do when you’re writing a fantasy book where you’ve had to create a fictional world, fictional cultures and then build a plot is to also make the characters involved well-developed and interesting but, wow, The Two Towers builds on the strong characters from The Fellowship of the Ring with some new characters, and some beautiful blooming relationships.

We all know of the legend of Sam and Frodo and how Samwise Gamgee is considered one of the greatest characters in fiction and film – his loyalty, and bravery from a scared Hobbit is well-loved. However, in the book, we also have other characters to love, Gimli and Legolas’ relationship from hating one anothers’ race to declaring the wish to travel together after this had me smiling away. Aragorn’s role from hidden, mysterious stranger to rightful King, leader and the intimidating figure was so cool to see develop. And there’s also Treebeard who we do see in the film but trust me when I say we see a lot more of in the books – I thought we’d never read about anything else at one point. But their deep culture and the fact they’re one of the oldest races in the world made it all very interesting (he could have sung a little less). Oh and Gollum – one of the best creatures ever written into fantasy!

Now, you may be wondering why, despite my clear love for almost everyone in this book, this doesn’t have. 5/5 rating. Two reasons: Frodo is annoying and incredibly uninteresting for someone who is arguably supposed to be the main protagonist. He’s overly nice but also utterly useless as a result and he just doesn’t really ever have anything that important to say. And my second reason is that the villains never come to the fore. At no point did I really get a sense of danger from the impending doom. There were some cool moments with the Orcs but their naive, brutish personalities made them seem more comical than intimidating. But these are small niggles!

The Two Towers final rating – 4.75

It might be a bold statement but I would say that The Two Towers is at the very top of the tree when it comes to fantasy books. There’s a slight element of “it is really only a third of a book” but I’m going to treat it like the second in a trilogy. The characters are deep, and loveable and add so much to the book, the depth of the world and the cultures built are some of the most interesting in any fantasy in any form. The Two Towers plot rises above The Fellowship of the Ring by gripping us with fantastic stories, a faster and more engaging story and the rising of the tension and climax that will be complete with the final book. I’m not sure the last time I was this excited to carry on reading a series.

Pick up a copy of The Two Towers from here.

If you liked the sound of The Two Towers then you might like my reviews of the following books:

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