Book review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

June 7, 2008

Title: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Pages: 280

The author

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer and professor who is best known for his epic fantasy trilogy – The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien was born in South Africa and returned to England at the age of three when his father died. He began reading when he was just four and started writing soon after. His mother died when he was twelve.  He and his brother were subsequently brought up by a Catholic priest.

The immense popularity of The Lord of the Rings led to Tolkien being called the father of modern fantasy literature. The Times named him one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

The plot

The book follows a Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins,  after he is invited to join a group of dwarves and a wizard in search for treasure. Although he has no apparent skills that could prove useful, the wizard Gandalf insists that Bilbo join the group as a burglar/thief.

The dwarves are on a mission to recover a fortune that was stolen by a dangerous dragon, Smaug, who initially looted it from the dwarves ancestors a long time ago.

Using a map given to Gandalf by one of the dwarves’ ancestors the group must navigate through a desolate and treacherous path in order to reach the mountain where Smaug guards the stolen treasure.

Bilbo, true to Gandalf’s predictions, proves surprisingly useful and gets the group through some tight spots. Gandalf does not accompany the group throughout and often leaves them to fend for themselves.

The verdict

I did not know The Hobbit was a children’s book and bought it because it is a prequel to his famous Lord of the Rings trilogy which I plan to read soon. The language and plot are both quite childish.

I did not enjoy the book at all. Not reccommended if you’re an adult. Although it seems to set the stage for the Lord of the Rings (that much I could conclude  from the sample chapter included in my copy) much of the similarities seem contrived to sell copies of The Hobbit. Skipping this book shouldn’t affect your capacity to understand or enjoy the Lord of the Rings.

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One Response to “Book review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien”


  1. […] The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien […]

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