Following literally years of trying, today I finished reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien for the 2017 Reading Challenge! I first picked up this novel at primary school, read about a third and put it down; I just couldn’t connect with the story. Fast-forward 13 years (omg, I’m old) and I picked it up again as “required reading” for my intended MA English dissertation. It’s fair to say that it was no less of a struggle to plough through. Cue much disappointment.
Title: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Category: #17 A book involving a mythical creature
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something… You certainly usually find something if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
The prequel to Tolkien’s phenomenon, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit follows unlikely hero Bilbo Baggins on his quest to steal a gemstone from a dragon. Roped into the task by Gandalf the wizard, Bilbo accompanies Thorin and his company of dwarves on a mammoth journey that sees him come face-to-face with all manner of creatures, including elves and trolls, along the way.
Undeniably this is one of the greatest literary adventures of all time, but personally I didn’t connect with the story or the characters on an emotional level; it is all very clinically written, and the novel is largely plot driven (somewhat understandable given the number of characters introduced during the epic tale).
Given my sheer adoration of fantasy literature as a whole, I really cannot fathom why I didn’t enjoy this book more. It contains all the elements I love that encompass the genre, but it simply fell flat for me. Possibly my expectations were sky-high due to the hype surrounding the series? Who knows? Regardless, I refuse to let one indifferent reading experience influence my opinion on the series as a whole: yes, you have my permission to take that to mean that I will be attempting to read The Lord of the Rings in the near future.
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