We started The Hobbit with an unexpected party, and to start us in Tolkien's next instalment of hobbit adventures we are introduced to the long-expected party. Bilbo Baggins, who we are already familiar with, is turning eleventy-one. A very curious age for hobbits, as it is described. It is not Bilbo we are interested in this adventure but his cousin Frodo, who he adopts as his heir. They share the same birthday, making this eleventy-first extra special with Frodo coming of age by turning thirty-three. However, there are more plans hidden beneath and secret intentions that, once the party is over, spiral Frodo and his friends into a whirlwind of danger revolving around Bilbo's mysterious treasure: the ring.
This adventure involves more than one hobbit and a company of dwarves compared to the last. With a task fraught with fatal perils much greater than any hobbit (or human) could image, Frodo is joined by his close friends Sam Gamgee, Meriadoc (Merry) Brandybuck and Peregrin (Pippin) Took. Gandalf the Grey, who also ventured with Bilbo, reveals to Frodo that he is in danger as long as he possesses the ring but does not join the group until later after an unexpected tussle with Saruman the White. Other major characters are introduced and become a part of the party to assist the ring-bearer (Frodo) to get to Mordor to finally destroy it in Mount Doom. This group finally eventuates to the four hobbits, Gandalf, Aragorn (otherwise known as Strider), Boromir, Legolas (an elf) and Gimli (a dwarf).
'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.'
This is the first paragraph we are greeted with as we enter J R R Tolkien's world of hobbits, elves, dwarves and other fantastical creatures. We are given descriptions of comfort and sensory images that make us feel warm and invited into the hobbit-hole being described. We are given a tour around this home, making us feel welcome in the foreign space. And then we meet Bilbo Baggins, the inhabitant of this home, and the story begins. This is the charm, the magic, that fills the pages of Tolkien's famous story of The Hobbit. The simplistic use of language to beautifully describe the surroundings and tell the story is what captures the reader, and we are soon taken hand-in-hand on an adventure with the unlikely venturer (soon burglar), Mr Bilbo Baggins himself.
This tale, first published in 1937, hit high acclaim instantly. It was originally written as a story for Tolkien's own children but we are lucky enough that it was open for the rest of us to experience. The characters have risen to immortality with the increasing popularity of this tale, helped by the trilogy of films released based on the book. This is a story many know and have read, so I will do my best in reviewing it in an original and interesting way to hopefully inspire you to read or reread this story and experience Tolkien's magic.
Welcome to Urte, a world split into two continents called Yuros and Antiopia (or Ahmedhassa). Do you belong in Yuros where mages are well-known and are seen as the better of their non-mage counterparts? Where mages study in the best colleges specifically for them, and families are chosen based on the blood-ranking of their gnosis? Or do you belong in Antiopia, a place built on strength and the man's word? Where family means everything and trading spices, foods and other wares is the profitable industry? Find yourself mesmerised by the depth created in David Hair's fantasy world, a quartet of books that follows the lives of many characters that lead you through the failures and successes that life throws at you, and the political games played in the midst of corruption and destruction.
The four books in this series are called Mage's Blood, Scarlet Tides, Unholy War and Ascendant's Rite, and they all follow the stories of characters spread out across Yuros and Antiopia. It is a series written with an omniscient narrator where many characters perspectives are portrayed. Of all the people we are introduced to the main voices that are followed are Alaron Mercer and his best friend Ramon Sensini, both young mages who attended college in Yuros together; Cymbella de Regia, a gyspsy with an unknown mage blood-ranking and is taught by Alaron and Ramon; Elena Anborn, a mage protector of the Nesti family with a dark past; Cera Nesti, a young princess in Javon, Antiopia; Gurvon Gyle, a mage spy with a lot of power in the politics in Yuros; Ramita Ankesharan, a young trader's daughter in Baranasi, Antiopia, who will be wedded to the love of her life, Kazim Makani; and lastly Malevorn Andevarian, a determined pure-blooded mage who desires power to bring his family back from ruin.
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.