Does the Dark Tower trilogy steal from LOTR? Absolutely. Is Dragondoom inspired by the Hobbit? Undoubtedly. However, McKiernan writes a story that improves upon every idea put forth by Tolkien. Look, Tolkien is famous for being first. Unfortunately, that's about all you can say for his writing. He was a linguist, not an author or a story teller which is probably why his writing is so terribly dry, boring, and needlessly descriptive. McKiernan's stories are well fleshed out and stirring. If you can't get past the similarities to Tolkien, then pick up Voyage of the Fox Rider or Eye of the Hunter. (or from Audible, the Silver Call duology) Two EXCELLENT McKiernan books that are entirely original. If you're like me and you can't stand reading Tolkien's textbooks...pick up the Iron Tower..and enjoy the story the way it could have been...better!
As for the audio version of the Iron Tower. Once I got used to his narration, I thoroughly enjoyed Bierle's style. Only problem I had was Patrel's voice (being the smallest of the Warrow's) was the deepest..which grated on me. Otherwise I loved all three audiobooks.
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