- Title: The Hobbit
- Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
- Series: None (but can be considered a prelude to The Lord of the Rings)
- Genre: High Fantasy
- Publishing Date: September 21st, 1937 (originally)
- Publishing Co.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Length: 300 pages
- Format: Paperback, hardback, Kindle, audiobook
- Acquired: Acquired a paperback at a book fair for 50 cents!
- Amazon Link: The Hobbit
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.
First Chapter Challenge:
This book has been on my TBR for nigh on two DECADES. But, I could never quite get through the first chapter. I am become spoiled with the fantasy worlds of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and the childish style of writing kept throwing me off, preventing me from actually getting into this book.
The first chapter sets the stage for the rest of the book, although it is much slower than the rest, as it slogs through describing each of the main characters and introducing Tolkien’s amazingly detailed world of Middle Earth. First chapter was not fun, but after that, it gets better!
Final Judgment: 4 Stars out of 5
I’ll save my breath summarizing the story for you, as I am sure it’s widely known by now. But I will highlight key points: Bilbo goes on a series of adventures as he tries to help his new Dwarven friends; Tolkien creates an amazing and enchanted world of Middle Earth; the writing is set for a children’s story.
Back in Tolkien’s day, Fantasy was seen as a child’s enjoyment. It belonged in the bedroom, to lull sleepy children to rest their heads upon their pillows and allow dreams to overtake them. Fantasy was a bit of a joke. Adults had better things to do, better things to read, than children’s stories! The Hobbit was written in this toxic-Fantasy environment, and so Tolkien wrote it with children’s stories in mind. As such, it reads for a much younger audience than I–probably around 12 years old or so. Because of this, my reading suffered. This being the first time I finally got around to reading it–as a 25-year-old grown woman–I couldn’t enjoy the childish aspects of the novel.
However, Tolkien’s world more than made up for it. Detailed characterization of brand-new races and beautiful landscapes were juxtaposed with humorous, unique obstacles that the characters had to puzzle themselves out of. It was amazing how many mini-adventures the characters were subjected to, and the speed with which they were able to slide themselves out of the frying pan!
I will say that the movies do NOT give this book justice, adding in irrelevant and awkward romance as well as deleting key adventures and scenes. Even if you have seen the movies (as I have), this book will still offer you something more. Do not be afraid of the movie spoiling the story for you, because it doesn’t.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I know that I would have enjoyed it much more had I read it as a child. I recommend that fantasy-loving parents get their children into this book as soon as possible! Now, onto the darker, more adult, series of The Lord of the Rings. Wish me luck!