The Soddit - Adam "ARRR" Roberts (2003)

Parodies are tricky. When they work, they can be incredibly funny - especially to those who know the source. When they fail, they can be truly miserable - especially to those who know the source. The Soddit hits neither of these extremes, landing in a middle ground which is, while not particularly inspired, at least fairly amusing.

The book is not a note-for-note or incident-for-incident parody of Tolkien's The Hobbit, rather it aims for a more general or thematic pastiche. Overlaid on the plot of The Hobbit is a completely separate plot, original to Roberts, which is actually quite good. At the conclusion of the book I was left dissatisfied. The parody was only adequate but the original plot was interesting enough that I would have preferred a book where it could be fully developed without being shoehorned into a Tolkien parody. Ironically, had it been an original book, though, I would have been much less likely to purchase it in the first place - a literary Catch-22 of sorts.

In any case, the book has it's moments, but ultimately is merely average. For those looking for a good Tolkien parody, I recommend seeking out The Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings, but for those looking for straight-ahead fantasy, Mr. Roberts' other books might be worth checking out.

Overall Grade: C

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