I love to read and can get very attached to my opinions, but recently I've been learning not to completely lose my head when people disagree with me, so feel safe to argue with me whenever you wish ;)
This gets four stars instead of five stars for one reason alone:
WHY ARE THERE NO WOMEN IN THE FELLOWSHIP?!?!
Yes, I'm one of those people who have to drag feminism into everything. It's a little more (or a little less?) than that though. Put this book and an 11-year-old girl together, and along with the sense of wonder, you'll also get the "where do people like ME factor in???" question.
It just always seemed to me, if you're going to create an entire universe for god's sake, it only makes sense to include half the population. I really don't get it. I know it's immature, but please, I don't think anyone could come up with a good reason why there are only three major female characters in a story of such all-encompassing scope. And if not half the world population, then maybe just ONE woman in a group of nine comrades-in-arms would be appreciated?
I'm not well read enough to evaluate how "acceptable" Tolkien's attitude of over half a century ago toward women is, and I definitely don't wish to get into a huge debate about it. Regardless, it caused me no small amount of angst in my younger years, and I reserve the right to wallow in that angst!