Considered to be J.R.R. Tolkien's great masterpiece of imaginative fiction - in the invented world of Middle-Earth, Tolkien created a new mythology and a vast epic story which has proved timeless in its appeal.
Well, clearly the publishers have spent some time thinking about how to add both quality and usability. There are two fold out maps printed in black and red. Not spectacular and in size these cover no more space than if they were printed across two pages. However, because they are fold out they are easier to read and if left "folded out" can be referred to whilst reading text on other pages.
The slip cover works well and is has a sturdy feel. The paper has a quality (non glossy) feel and is much whiter than other versions (especially the paperback) I have seen. Combined with a very crisp font this makes the book easy to read, something I struggle with in some of the cheaper published versions. Somehow when the book is closed after use the pages easily compress back to their original size making the slip case easy to use without the case being oversized.
It would have been easy for the publishers to have fallen into the trap of printing this book in the larger format of some Lord of the Rings books. However, the Lord of the Rings is a long story and these larger formats are very difficult to read due to the weight of the books. This book can actually be used!
Overall the book has an understated feel of quality which will grow on you. However there is no getting away from the premium price. If you are looking for something to give a more immediate impression there are cheaper versions, printed on glossier paper, in larger format and with more illustrations.
This makes this a book for the dedicated Lord of the Rings collector, if you just want a book for everyday use or to read for the first time I would suggest one of the mid-price versions.
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