I'm still behind with this challenge- I just finished The Hobbit yesterday and this month is the month of Fellowship of the Ring (so expect a FotR post sometime in the next few days).
I'll admit that probably the main reason I took so long to finish The Hobbit is because I wanted to savor it- it's one of my very favorite books.
January's blog host for the Read-Along gave us some questions for the final half of the book, so I'll answer those rather than doing a regular book review (I have a feeling a book review would just sound something like "I LOVE THIS BOOK", lol).
Did you find the book’s second half consistent to the first, in tone, plotting, etc.?
There is a lot more action in the second half of the book than the first, and I will admit that I wish the book had been longer because it seems like the action is over far too quickly. I love this book, so of course I wanted it longer, but the battle and everything at the end was too rushed.
What did you think of the ending?
I'm glad that the dwarves eventually come to their senses and come to the aid of the good guys. That's probably why dwarves are my least favorite (good-aligned) fantasy race; they're so materialistic and greedy! I just can't bring myself to particularly like characters like that. It's always sad reading about how the two dwarves I do like don't survive the Battle of Five Armies, though. :(
Did your view of any character change since our last check-in?
Well, I always start to like Thorin and most of the older dwarves less (with the exception of Balin- he's pretty cool for an old dwarf) when I see how greedy and mean to Bilbo they become near the end. I just can never understand dwarves.
I suppose Thranduil (the Elvenking) isn't much better in that respect; he's far too grumpy and into shinies (and wine), which is rather strange for an elf. He's still my favorite minor character, though, maybe because he does have faults (and that's rare for an elf), but he's a good king and protective of his forest and people. Plus I have a soft spot for wood elves, of course, and that includes their leader even though he isn't technically a wood elf.
My respect for Bilbo definitely increased as the book went on; I'd forgotten just how much character growth he goes through and how wise he becomes. (And he sticks by the Elvenking during the battle; granted he stays invisible, but that ups my respect for Bilbo since that's where I would have picked for my last stand, as well.)
What surprised you most in this half of the book?
Just how competent Bilbo becomes. I've read the book many times, but this always comes as a bit of a surprise.
What delighted you most?
I just love the scene when the dwarves and Bilbo escape from the wood elves in barrels; I love how the youngest dwarves pretty much come out of it going "Wee! That was fun!" .... well, that and complaining about the smell of apples, lol.
My favorite quote has to be what Thorin told Bilbo near the end:
"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
I also liked the section about wood elves and how they are different from high elves, but "still elves they are and remain, and that is Good People".
Can you see yourself rereading The Hobbit some day?
Of course! I reread it fairly often- I have to be up to almost a dozen times over the past two decades.
Are you planning on continuing on to The Fellowship of the Ring?
Yup! I already started rereading it and am up to where Gandalf is explaining about the One Ring and Gollum to Frodo (and Sam is eavesdropping).
Would you say that doing a group read enriched your reading? Anything in particular written by a fellow participant that stands out?
I enjoy reading what everyone else has to say about the books- I love LotR, so it's cool to hear what everyone else thinks about it and who their favorite character and what their favorites scenes are.