Earlier this year I read a graphic novel adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. I wasn't overly thrilled with it, but wondered if it it might simply have been a mediocre adaptation.
Now that I've read the original, I'm not sure. I did enjoy it marginally better than the graphic novel, but I can't say I'm really much of a fan. I know a lot of people say they prefer it over the Lord of the Rings, but I definitely wouldn't say that (though the Hobbit does have the shorter length in its favour). I found it much harder to get behind the premise. Bilbo goes out in search of adventure with a group of dwarves who in turn are in search of long lost treasure. It's much harder to get behind this mission than that of the Lord of the Rings, in which the travelers must destroy a ring that threatens to enslave the world. Therefore, when Bilbo complains (as he often does) about missing home or being hungry, I found it hard to care or find sympathy.
Plus I find Tolkien very long-winded. The Hobbit goes like this: geographic description-journey-whine about journey- battle-repeat for 300 pages. I suspect that if a reader was to start his exposure to fantasy novels with the Hobbit, he might like this book more. The hobbits, dwarves, elves, goblins, wizards, talking spiders and other mythological creatures would no doubt capture the imagination of children who have not yet come across such beasts in other books, but they certainly didn't save the book for me.
At least I know I'm forever done with Tolkien books, and for a long while, fantasy.