Wow. Those three words perfectly describe this book (and the entire Lord of the Rings for that matter). This book is the culmination of an amazing epic story. What makes LORT amazing are its characters, and in the final book you finally know their ultimate fate. I haven’t seen the movies, so I can’t really compare the differences between the novels and films. The part of the book that had me the most on the edge of my seat was The Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The only “What The Fuck” moment that I head while reading this book was the penultimate chapter, The Battle of Bywater to be exact. I certainly did not expect this, and it was somewhat amusing to read.
Return of the King is indeed the longest book in the LOTR, however I was surprised to see that only 2/3 of the physical book was for the content of the Return of the King. While the rest was the appendix, and holy shit the appendices are incredible! Like probably most of people reading LOTR for the first time, people can easily be confused on who is what, what is the x role of this character, etc. The appendix gives you a vast amount of back story of the people of Middle-earth, as well as new stories of what happened to some of the characters. Reading the appendix gave me an even bigger appreciation towards Tolkien and his fantasy universe. In my opinion, what makes a good story amazing depends how immersive its world is, Middle-earth is certainly one of them.
Regarding the author, I was surprised to find out that J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Catholic and that the LOTR and much of his writing has a strong underlying Christian and Catholicism message. Having read the books, I can certainly see the connotations. I think Tolkien is an absolute genius. He created an amazing fantasy world with a massive amount of interesting characters, while at the same time he was able to bind his religious beliefs in his work.
Many people mistakenly believe (perhaps because of the films) that The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, when in reality it is one massive novel. I read the Lord of the Rings (75th anniversary edition), and I see this amazing piece of fantasy literature as an absolute masterpiece of which people will continue to love and cherish for many centuries to come.