This isn't my favorite of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, mostly because it is obviously a middle book and doesn't really feel like it has a strong ending. It functions as a bridge between books 1 & 3. However, the adventure is nail-biting, the world building is incredibly compelling, and we care deeply about the characters. I really liked the book, even if I didn't love it as much as books 1 & 3. It's a worthy addition to an epic adventure.