Book: The Hobbit

Author: J R R Tolkien

Rating: 4.5

The Hobbit-J R R Tolkien

A young hobbit is disturbed from his peaceful life by the arrival of the mysterious wizard Gandalf and a troop of thirteen dwarves. They have come to pluck the easy-going Bilbo Baggins from his sleepy life in the Shire to take him to a dragon's den! Smaug the Golden, last of the Great Worms sleeps on his hoard of stolen riches. Bilbo and Co. must steal into the very heart of his cave and recover what he has been stolen from the Dwarf-lords by their most ancient foe. Already a difficult mission, it is further complicated by giant spiders, magic rings, trolls, disgruntled orc kings and the shadowy Necromancer. 

Social/Historical context:

Older readers may remember this book from their childhood. It is often described as the epic precursor to the Lord of the Rings. Here one can see the roots of the thoughts that, years later, would shake the world in the form of a modern day epic. 

Writing Style:

The book is written in the third person with a rolling, easy going manner similar to the one used by other authors for children like Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Yet the style changes tone and becomes darker and grimmer in the more serious parts to provide a feel for the scope of events occuring on an epic scale. Bilbo is the main character and often serves as comic relief besides advancing the plot. The plot is tight with little or no holes and the pace is quick and gripping so as to interest adults and children alike. 

My Thoughts:

Having read the Lord of the Rings prior to this I was expecting something along the same lines. Although it lacks the same epic style of story telling, yet it is well suited to the plot and a fitting precursor to its darker, grimmer descendant. It provides a window into a younger world, focusing on the last vestiges of carefree happiness before the War of the Ring shook Middle-Earth on its foundations. All said, it fully justifies the cult following that it has built up over the years and is an extremely relaxing and refreshing read. 

Book Reviewed by Sayan Mukherjee

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