Book Review: The Hobbit by Tolkien (5 stars)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

5 out of 5 stars

Read most recently in November 2009.

A delightful introduction to the world of Middle Earth. Follow the adventures (or misadventures) of a respectable hobbit turned burglar, a wizard and a baker’s dozen of dwarfs in their quest to slay the dragon, redeem the lost treasure and restore peace and prosperity among dwarfs, elves and men.

Along the way, the young audience will learn the pitfalls and consequences of greed, pride and arrogance, tempered with a hobbit’s good sense, good cheer, compassion and self-sacrifice.

Update April 2013:  I decided not to re-read the novel before watching the recently released movie of a similar name (click here for my review of said movie).  I did end up buying the ebook edition prior to viewing the movie so I would have it available to search and peruse before, during and after.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be able to search through an ebook.  Compared to page turning and skimming, it’s better than sliced bread (well maybe not my sliced bread).

Book Review: Sailing to Sarantium by Kay (4 Stars)

Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay

4 out of 5 stars

Read in June 2010

A strangely compelling story even though none of the characters evoked compassion, laughter, anger or any other strong emotion from me. Normally, without an emotional connection, I become bored and sputter to a stop. Kay crafted an exquisite tale, a risky reckless journey into intoxicating intrigue fueled by ambitious visions and ruthless machinations.

Fantasy elements are kept to a minimum, the purview of alchemists and the occasional supernatural intervention. I read this novel with the understanding that Kay ‘re-imagined’ the Byzantine Empire of Justinian II. Sort of an alternate history where the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.