Tag: Gandalf

J. R. R. Tolkien – The Hobbit | Review

Title: The Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 288

Rating: 9/10


J. R. R. Tolkien - The Hobbit

J. R. R. Tolkien – The Hobbit


The Hobbit is easily the most easily readable of Tolkien’s books, and it’s the best introduction to his work that you could hope for – that’s probably why it’s so iconic. It was the first Tolkien book that I read, when I was about fourteen, and I enjoyed it so much that I’ve gone on to read almost a dozen more of his books. But there aren’t many of his works that are this easy to read, and so it’s definitely recommended as a starter book. Besides, it introduces you perfectly to Middle Earth!

In this story, Bilbo Baggins is recruited by Gandalf the Wizard to join his party to enter the lair of Smaug, the dragon, and help to reclaim the birthright of Thorin Oakenshield. At least, I think that’s right – it’s been a little while since I read it, and I didn’t bother to check. Either way, something like that happens, and then Bilbo finds this thing that sort of changes everything, and then some other stuff happens and there’s a big battle with a guy called Dain of the Iron Hills, who was played by Billy Conolly in the movie. That would be the guy I’m named after, although my mom insisted on changing the spelling so that my name was a little bit more… normal.

Overall, then, The Hobbit is just a vital part of your reading education, even if you don’t enjoy it and go on to read The Lord of the Rings. After all, there are always the movies if you don’t manage to stick through the books – they are heavy going.


J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien


Click here to buy The Hobbit.

Paul Durham – The Luck Uglies: Dishonour Among Thieves | Review

Title: The Luck Uglies: Dishonour Among Thieves

Author: Paul Durham

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 464

Rating: 9/10


Paul Durham - The Luck Uglies: Dishonour Among Thieves

Paul Durham – The Luck Uglies: Dishonour Among Thieves


Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

I’ve already reviewed the first book in The Luck Uglies series, and I’ve also interviewed Paul for the blog – I’m a big lover of The Luck Uglies series, and I make no secret of it. In fact, there’s an interesting story behind this – I usually don’t talk much about the actual process of speaking to PRs and receiving books for review because it’s honestly not that interesting. But I had a lovely e-mail from someone who I’d already spoken to before who’d noticed my review of the first Luck Uglies book and was in a position to send me the second one – how good is that?

Anyway, I explained before how Paul’s world is one of the most instantly realistic fantasy worlds that I’ve come across, and the characterisation is great as well. I can’t say too much about what to expect here because I suspect a lot of you won’t have read the first book either, but we’re looking at probably the best young adult series to feature a teenaged protagonist since Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Encouragingly, both series were written by men and featured a strong female protagonist, too.

In this book, you’ll see a lot of characters that you know and love from the first series, and you’ll also get to travel outside the Village of Drowning to the Isle of Pest, for the first time. There are lots of new folks to get to know too, including distant family members of the O’Chanters and a whole new set of villains for Riley and her family to deal with it.


Paul Durham

Paul Durham


One thing that I noticed in the first book and that continued here, is the fact that Harmless, the principle badass in this story, doesn’t show up too often. In fact, in keeping with his character, you never know where he is, what he’s doing or whether he might show up, and he has this knack of showing up only when he’s needed, a bit like Gandalf. In fact, he’s effectively the Gandalf or the Dumbledore of the series, despite the fact that he’s younger, he can’t do magic and he relies on his twin swords to get him out of trouble. But he’s got the wisdom, and he’s also got the father figure status, so what more do you need?

I can’t rave enough about the Luck Uglies books, and I think Durham did a fantastic job of continuing things with his notoriously difficult second book. I can’t wait to see what happens next!


The Luck Uglies

The Luck Uglies


Click here to buy The Luck Uglies: Dishonour Among Thieves.