Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Book Review: The Hobbit; J.R.R. Tolkien.

Strangely, I have quite mixed feelings on this book. I did really enjoy it and there were so many good aspects to it that of course I gave it a high rating. It was an enjoyable, charming children's story with some wonderful attributes. But at the same time, I found myself a little underwhelmed. I'll try to explain it as best I can in my review!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Hobbit
AUTHOR: J.R.R. Tolkien
SERIES: --
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PAGES: 300
GENRE: Classic, High Fantasy, Adventure, Children
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars


Blurb:
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon.



What I Liked:
  • The world-building was what really drew me into this story. Most people that I know have told me that Tolkien's Middle Earth is a superb example of a Fantasy world, so it came as no surprise to me when I fell in love with it while reading 'The Hobbit'. The places, the creatures, the various races that lived there, they were all so imaginative that I really look forward to meeting them again in the future when reading the LOTR Trilogy and some of Tolkien's other works.
  • Every character was unique and memorable, and that's something to admire about Fantasy works such as these. Though there wasn't a huge cast of characters, I thought that it would be difficult to tell thirteen different dwarves apart. They were each blessed with a very individual personality however, and I loved them all. Bilbo, as the hero of the story, rose above them all as having one of the most interesting viewpoints that I have read from in a while. He was eccentric, a little grumpy, quirky and above all very clever too and a delight to read. Also, I would like to add that Gollum was the perfect mix of funny and terrifying. I would not like to meet him on my own that's for sure!
  • The plot-line certainly kept me interested. Though I felt a few of the events could have been expanded on (they were a little rushed at times, I'm speaking of the Battle Of The Five Armies in particular), it meant there were plenty of fast-paced twists and turns to keep me going. At times the book did slow right down in pace but never enough to bore me. It just made me hungry for the next bit of action! 
What I Disliked:
  • Now here's where the general feeling of dissatisfaction comes in. This book has been recommended to me countless times, and so much hype surrounds it that I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed when I had finished. Watching the movies first probably didn't help, but I really felt like I should have loved it more. It was a very good book, but didn't manage to provoke that feeling in me that I get when I have read a wonderful story. My honest feeling is that this is mostly down to the less mature, light-hearted tone to the book. I like my Fantasy a little more serious and I have high hopes for the 'Lord Of The Rings' series, aimed at older audiences.
Overall Conclusion:
There wasn't a whole host to dislike about this book as such. As I said: great characters, phenomenal world-building and a steady plot meant overall it impressed me. Tolkien's writing is absolutely beautiful too. He goes off on tangents a lot and takes a while to get to the point, but I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the language. Unfortunately I feel like the youthful tone didn't sit as well with me as I thought it would. The slightly silly scrapes that he characters wound up in meant that I couldn't take the intimidating idea of facing-off against a dragon quite so seriously. This was a wonderful introduction into the world of Tolkien however, and I hope to enjoy many more of his books.