Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
As many already know, J.R.R. Tolkien was a master of the written word. He was a master of prose, fantasy, poetry and creating a picture within the mind of the reader. This was all evident in the prequel to the Lord of the Rings series, The Hobbit.
The Hobbit (1937) began with Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit that lived in the Shire. He was a normal hobbit, with many family members and friends. And then one day that all changed.
Bilbo received a knock on his door and in stepped a dwarf. Then another came, and another, until there were twelve dwarves and Bilbo’s friend Gandalf the Grey, a wizard. They sat for dinner and then spoke of a mission to reclaim captured gold from the dragon Smaug.
Bilbo’s part in the adventure was to be the thief, though he refused to join until the next morning, when the dwarves had all left and he had time to himself to think. He raced to meet the dwarves and was very nearly late, but he finally reached them.
From then on, he and the dwarves went on many adventures together. They met trolls, spiders and elves. They traveled in barrels down a river and slept in a stone tunnel for well over a week. The troupe, however, continued on in search of their treasure.
I loved this story. The first time I read it I was in junior high, sick on the couch and my mother bought it for me to pass the time, and it was the perfect way to pass the time. That was the first book I remember reading that was in the fantasy genre. After that I had to continue on and read The Lord of the Rings.
This fantasy was great because it’s a blend of childish imagination and adult concepts. The characters want revenge against the dragon, and they will tackle any danger thrown their way to achieve that revenge and reclaim what was rightfully theirs. Tolkien succeeds weaving the story through his simple yet descriptive, plain but exciting descriptions and dialogue.
I try to have something to critique, if only to see what makes really great writing work and not work, but unfortunately I had difficulty finding something that Tolkien could have made better. His character development fit nicely with the storyline because he didn’t dwell on all the characters, but still managed to explain their lives as a whole. I guess maybe if he used a bit less description, especially at the beginning, it would have flowed better. I’m not sure knowing what colors the dwarves’ hoods are and what they were carrying was necessary; however, at the same time I enjoyed reading that because I was able to develop individual characters through those simple characteristics, and since stories must be written down, a paragraph or two of physical description was probably needed.
Overall, this is the perfect story for anyone. It is easy to read, it flows nicely, the characters are all vivid and the description is never underwhelming or overstated. It’s a great imagination story, blending fantasy with real life emotions and using wonderful language to get the message across to the readers.
J.R.R. Tolkien is also the author of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, the novels that form the Lord of the Rings series, as well as The Silmarillion. Tolkien’s novels are available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. If you are still interested in Middle-Earth, the films based on The Hobbit are currently available in stores. The Lord of the Rings series is available in stores in the theatrical and extended versions.