Title: The Two Towers
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Page Count/Review Word Count: 448
The Two Towers is the second of the three books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and in many ways I thought it was the weakest – the story line seems to slow down, and whilst plenty of stuff does still happen, it has the atmosphere of a book which is just waiting for something to happen. In The Fellowship of the Ring, it was like a traditional, party-based adventure, and in Return of the King, it’s all-out open war. Here, there’s something in between, and even the members of the Fellowship are scattered throughout Middle Earth, engaged in different story lines.
Still, it all comes together in the end, and you can never complain too much about Tolkien because he’s the master of a genre. Sure, his writing can be difficult to focus on times, and The Two Towers is no exception, but it is worth sticking with throughout, even if it takes you several months to finish it, which was the case for me. I was about fourteen at the time, and so perhaps I was a little too young – I certainly find Tolkien easier to read as an adult, and I’ve always been a keen reader.
The good thing about The Two Towers is that you get to meet a bunch of new characters, although I don’t want to tell you too much about them because, in many ways, I might leak a spoiler. What I can say, though, is that you’ll get to see more from your favourite characters, as well as from some newbies that will be in the rest of the series to different degrees.
You should also avoid reading the Lord of the Rings books out of chronological order – they follow on from each other perfectly, and indeed you can almost take them all together as one single work, which just happened to be published in different editions. You don’t need to read The Hobbit before getting started though – they operate within the same continuum, but can be taken individually.
I’m not sure what more there is to say about The Two Towers – I gave it a 7/10, which means that it’s of a professional quality, but I just didn’t think it was as good as either of the other two books in the trilogy, or even of some of Tolkien’s other work. But it is a necessary book – it had to happen to make the Lord of the Rings what it was, and I’m still glad that I’ve read it. Even if it did take ages to finish.