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This is not a novel in the modern sense
on 3 January 2009
To all the people who've given this a low mark, and all seem to have the same gripe with it - you all fail to understand that this is not a novel in the sense we've come to understand as a fantasy novel these days, so it's not fair to judge it as such.
Tolkien was not a career author, he didn't set out to write a searing page-turner, a wizzbang tale of derring-do in 500 sizzling chapters. Gandalf doesn't hurl raging fireballs at enemies, Aragorn doesn't have a sex scene with Arwen while doing Eowyn behind her back, there's no pandering to the lowest common denominator to flog a few more copies.
Tolkien barely cared if no one ever read it. He was writing it largely for himself and his friends and family.
You're all guilty of confusing the result of Tolkien's legacy and influence (virtually every other fantasy novel, movie or game) with his actual work, and expecting to see in the father what you've seen in his unruly children.
Judge it for what it is, not for what you wanted it to be as a modern fantasy reader.