Urgh. This was rough, even after starting off so well. The idea that the story of The Lord of the Rings is a romanticised tale of a war told by the winners is very intriguing. The Last Ringbearer makes ample use of this in the first half, playing out both new and familiar characters against each other. Mordor is a progressive technology driven place, while the Elves are conservative and steeped in the old manipulative ways of magic.
That twisting is great and it makes you hunger for more details, but even though it sets up an analogy to the original tale, it starts to crumble into overly detailed tales that keep their connection to the main tale very loosely. It’s almost like the writer finally gave in to the temptation of fan-fiction and ran with it.
Yes, the writing style is different and more Russian-like in rhythm (reminded me constantly of Roadside Picnic) but that works in its favour as a contrast to the original. It’s really the tale itself starting to forget it’s still connected to Tolkien’s placenta that renders this almost unreadable. Interesting as a curio, but I’d skip it in hindsight.