The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Excerpt from the back of the book:
"The dark, fearsome Ringwraiths were searching for a hobbit. Frodo Baggins knew they were seeking him and the Ring he bore-the Ring of Power that would enable evil Sauron to destroy all that was good in Middle-earth. Now it is up to Frodo and his faithful servant, Sam, with a small band of companions, to carry the Ring to the one place it could be destroyed-Mount Doom, in the very center of Sauron's dark kingdom."
Oooh. How many people are not slavering at the mouth to jump into this book right now? Everyone has heard of The Lord of the Rings or seen the movies. But I doubt many have actually read the book. If you haven't, you really must; they're popular for a reason. The movies are good, don't get me wrong, but they are a skeleton compared to the books. I've heard that some people do not like the long descriptions and details in the books. Tolkien's descriptions are nothing like Victorian novels, however, and ground me in his world that is so beautiful and unique.
The characters are lively and real, there's fantastical creatures (wizards, elves, living trees, orcs, goblins, hobbits, of course), and the stakes are extremely high, which makes me race through the pages to find out what will happen. The poetry/songs throughout the book can be a little hard to get through if you're not used to that sort of thing, but add richness and beauty to the work. And one is supposed to be stretched by books, right? I also really like how Tolkien hints at Christian themes while not being obvious and keeping his characters real. There are so many levels you can read this book on; it's such a delight. I definitely give it a 5 (the absolute best).
The Fellowship of the Ring is the first book/part of The Lord of the Rings. Part Two is The Two Towers and the last segment is The Return of the King. Tolkien never intended it to be a trilogy; he wanted to keep it as one novel. What a thick book?
What I learned from this book: So much! One of the major things is that evil does not usually start as evil; it occurs over a long period of time and can happen to anyone. I also learned that despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt (got to love Gandalf!). There are so many gems of wisdom in this book; it is a must read for everyone. I would suggest middle school, highschoolers and up read it; it's not really a 'kid's' book.
Other books that might be helpful to read before this series:
The Silmarillion -A compilation of Tolkien's notes on the history of his world. Lovely!
The Hobbit -A kind-of prequel to The Lord of the Rings that explains how the Ring was found by Frodo's caretaker, Bilbo. I might like this more than the trilogy.
Oh, on a different note, I am trying to make my blog look 'professional,' so if you see some changes over the next few weeks, don't freak out. If you also have any suggestions, please, please let me know! I'm still a newbie to all of this :).