I’ve been umming and ahing about writing this review for a while. Most of my reviews are for books I have never read before. This, however, is a review of a book that I have read many a time. The Hobbit is in fact the book that really sparked my love of fantasy, and as such, I will try my best to not be really, really gushy here. I’m not making any promises though. Now, let’s get started…
The Hobbit follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins – a rather content, well-heeled and respectable hobbit – after he is unexpectedly caught up in the plans of Gandalf the Grey and Thorin Oakenshield’s plans to defeat the monstrous dragon Smaug and reclaim Thorin’s home. Along the way, our quiet and unassuming protagonist encounters trolls, giant spiders, goblins and the fascinatingly, creepy Gollum. Everyone kind of loves Gollum, right? Oh, and he of course learns a lot about himself!
Now, for the things that make me love this book. There are so many! It might be an idea for me to get these down in bullet point form. This is a new type of review for me. How exciting!
- Nostalgia: I can’t get away from this one. Reading this book feels a little like coming home. My dad read it to me as a child, and I have read it countless times since.
- The Message: This is a story about how the smallest person can make a difference and be the hero, and how everyone matters. Bilbo, after all, is no great warrior or adventurer, but in the end, it doesn’t matter because he is brave, loyal to his friends and beliefs, and smart. He uses these traits to save the day.
- Middle Earth: This book really is the perfect introduction to Tolkien’s amazing creation that is Middle Earth, which is almost the prototype for fantasy worlds in modern fiction. This is because it was done soooo well; Tolkien’s writing is just so vivid and descriptive, you can’t help but feel the world come to life around you. Even after all these years, and with hundreds of books copying so much of it, Middle earth still feels amazing and fresh.
- Gollum: Sure, Gollum really comes into his own in The Lord of the Rings, but his cameo in this book is amazing. Riddles in the Dark is possibly my favourite part of the whole book because it really shows off everything great about Gollum; he is creepy, funny and tragic all at once. On top of this, this character and chapter really highlights one of Bilbo’s best qualities: his compassion.
- The Friendships: Friendship was always a big theme in Tolkien’s books and this book is no exception. Sure, the best ones are probably in The Lord of the Rings, but you should read this book before that anyway. Bilbo, through his tenacity, loyalty and cunning, earns the respect and friendship of the dwarves throughout the course of this book, and even surprises Gandalf himself, leading to some really heart-warming moments.
Okay, so that was what I liked; what about what I don’t like so much?
- The songs and poetry: I don’t really care a huge amount for these. I have read them a few times, but actually, I often skip them. The riddles are the only parts like this that impact the story.
- The pacing: Okay, so I am scrapping the barrel here. I don’t actually have a problem with the pacing, but I can see why some people would find issue with it: the book is quite old-fashioned and so the writing is as well, so it isn’t as action-packed from the go as many modern fantasies. This issue is really just a product of its age, the same goes for other books from the same era, e.g. The Chronicles of Narnia.
Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone! That shouldn’t be a surprise… It is my favourite book. If you like fantasy as a genre, you will have probably read this book, but if you haven’t, then go give it a go. If you are new to the genre: give it a go. It’s almost required reading! 😀