Mike's Reviews > The Last Ringbearer

The Last Ringbearer by Kirill Yeskov
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Dec 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, reviewed, translated

I thought this was a ripping good tale . It retells the LoTR from the perspective of Mordor and with a more realist spin on the world. Real politick is injected into Middle Earth and informs the actions of the nation states. Events aren't driven by some abstract sense of good and evil, but by realistic people making rational decisions in their own self interest. It gives the story a much more compelling thrust in my opinion. In this retelling orcs aren't doing evil for evil's sake (AKA: The Skeletor Morality). In fact orcs are just humans caught on the wrong side of history, dehumanized to make the war appear more just.

The story is about a daring mission to cripple the power and magic of the elves, who are portrayed as aspiring world conquerers and rabidly anti-technology, technology that Mordor was developing at an astonishing pace. The story takes place of a wide range of Middle Earth territory, exploring lands and peoples that Tolkien paid little to no attention to in the original trilogy. I think Eskov did a fantastic job instilling unique culture and characters into these regions. It made Middle Earth seem much deeper and richer in content. Where Tolkien offered a very narrow view of the world (tied to the Fellowship's perspectives) Eskov populates his story with a wide range of views from both sides.

At the end of the day, if you like stories that subvert the original source material you'll like this. If you enjoy more realistic takes on fantasy settings you'll like this. If you liked the original trilogy and are willing to accept this is written with a different tone and style you'll like this. If you are expecting this to be a magnificent compliment to the original trilogy/the next great Russian novel you need to readjust your expectations to the real world and just appreciate this book for the interesting story and thought experiment that it is.
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06/16/2016 marked as: read

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