Bilbo Baggins doesn't go on adventures, he likes to stay in his warm hobbit hole drinking tea and eating through his pantry. But when Gandalf the Grey introduces him to Thorin and his gang of dwarves something deep inside needs to follow them to the reclaim their treasure and help Thorin become King Under the Mountain.
A cult classic is difficult to review because everything that can be said has already been said. The story is known widely but the writing is something to behold, just by creating Bilbo's character through his joyful outlook (for the most part) and reactions to different situation made this such an enjoyable read. Bilbo is a wonderful main character to follow as his thoughts were always communicated to the reader and nothing was left for me to guess about. One of my favourite parts of the novel is Bilbo's exchange with Sméagol/Gollum, it instils fear and terror for both Bilbo and the reader, Tolkien made this a logical and thought-provoking conversation for the reader to follow which beautifully contrasted the magical and mystical setting of Middle Earth.
Picking up on flaws in a book that is loved by millions is always daunting but I didn't love the segregation of world building and narrative really made The Hobbit difficult to read for me. I'm used to seeing this combined so having to change reading technique between world-building and actual story progression was something that didn't come easily. This equally made the flow of the book really stiff with the stop-start progression.
Similarly I had a small issue with the depth of the world-building, whilst it is key for fantasy novels to completely submerge the reader into the world it is easy to distract from the actual story by getting caught up in this. I feel this is what Tolkien did, at times the scenery, whilst beautifully described, was overwhelming.
This is definitely one book you have to read before you die, it isn't popular because of the films, it isn't popular because of the Lord of the Rings franchise, it is popular all in it's own right and deserves it's place on the list of top reads. Whilst I ran into a few issues it didn't completely take away from the beauty of the story itself and the theme of friendship and perseverance.