Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out on to the floor when he caught a sudden thin ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug’s left eye. He was only pretending to be asleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance…
Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit-hole in Bag End by Gandalf the wizard and a company of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…
Before the die-hard Tolkien fans get on my back about this: I’m sorry okay! That being said, I can now freely admit that this is the first time that I’ve read this book and the only one of his works that I’ve finished. (I tried to read The fellowship of the Ring but I failed miserably…twice) So this was me finally doing what I should have done a long time ago: read one of the most important classics in this life. Especially seeing as I loved all of the movies (yes, I watched them before reading any of the books! Shame on me, I know. Now shush). It turns out that yes, I love this book. I’m just not blown away by it.
The storyline in this book was definitely one of my favourite things about this book. It had many twists and turns and you could never really see where things were going. This is hugely important to me and it made me appreciate this book intensely. A thing that I also liked about the book was that rarely anything “bad” happened to the company because they were being stupid. Usually they just accidentally got themselves into difficult situations. That’s really something that can irk me while reading: the stupidity of characters (or their inability to talk to their best friends or the likes) causing them to have all sorts of troubles.
Seeing as I’m not new to the franchise in any way I knew the characters, at least by name. The dwarves were a bit blurry from the movie, because I find that they feel more like an entity than a collection of separate characters. I was pleased to find out that the book did it better, as I had expected. All of the dwarves had their own way of going about things which I liked. But because this book was written as a tale for children I missed some extra depth to it. I would have enjoyed it if there was just that extra insight into every single one of the characters.
In general I really had a great time reading this book, as you can deduce from my rating. The reasons why I have only given this novel a four star rating instead of a five star one is (mostly) due to writing style. It’s not that I hated it, but I’m just not a fan. Somehow it doesn’t flow easily enough for me. I guess it’s just a little slow at times, and this is especially so when things get interesting of course. I do know that this is even “worse” in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is also the reason why I haven’t yet finished that series. For me it’s just hard to keep reading when the pace lulls to a slow walk instead of (at least) a steady jog.
But I will say: if you enjoyed the movie or are intrigued by the synopsis, definitely give this one a shot. It’s a quick read and still a great classic.
If you’ve read this book and you feel like letting me know how your experience was, I would be delighted if you would share all of this in the comments!