By J.R.R. Tolkien
Houghton Mifflin Company, 322 pp, 1954
It's not very often that a sequel is
superior to its predecessor, but it does happen. I think The Empire
Strikes Back was better than the first Star Wars, and Attack
of the Clones was far better than Phantom Menace.
If the upcoming movie version of The Two
Towers resembles the book in any way, then we could probably add it to
the list of superior sequels.
This a fantastic book, filled with
beautiful imagery, fantastic battle scenes, and effective
characterization. It's got more action than the first book. The movie
version should be just as good.
I won't discuss the plot too much, for
those of you who have not read the book yet and are waiting for the movie.
But this resembles The Empire Strikes Back in which our heroes are
separated for much of the book and reunited toward the end (Frodo and Sam
remain separated from the others). Pippen and Merry are captured by the
orcs, who are pursued by Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. Gandalf rejoins
them, and they hook up with a kingdom of men and a strange and wonderful
species called Ents. And that nasty Gollum joins Frodo and Sam and leads
them into the lands of Sauron.
That's all I'll say. It's a fantastic book,
and the third one should be even better. But I'll wait until next year,
about this time, to read that one.