I've just spent two months in Middle Earth, listening to audiobooks of The Hobbit and then each of the books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, one after the other.
Last week, when I finished The Two Towers, I thought it would be my favourite novel of the trilogy. In any event, I knew that I liked it better than The Fellowship of the Ring, as it has more action and less talk about action. Now I think that this may be my favourite of the three books. I don't recall my attention flagging. Nor do I remember getting lost while trying to remember who was whom. There was plenty of drama and suspense, some poignant moments and flashes of sly humour.
Overall, I found the story of Frodo and Sam more compelling than that of their social superiors. To me there is something about ordinary people (in this case, literally "small people") doggedly working to achieve a goal through great suffering and adversity which captures the imagination more than the tales of kings and their battles. Which is not to say that I found the rest of the tale uninteresting - it's just that the story of Frodo and Sam spoke to me more.
Rob Inglis' narration was entirely satisfactory. If his style made some of Tolkien's more wordy passages come across as even wordier, that was a small price to pay for otherwise good characterisation.
I'm so glad I finally decided to read an author in whom I thought I had absolutely no interest. This has been a buddy read and while I know I'm ahead of schedule, I will continue to enjoy participating in the discusssion.