"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."
Reading that sentence does not in anyway prepare me for the wonderful world that J.R.R. Tolkien sets up for his story. And yet, that magnificent world, is far more present and impressive in his Lord of the Ring trilogy. The Hobbit is a prequel of sort of that one magnificent trilogy. In fact, there are two movies that I consider must see for nerds: Star Wars and Lord of the Ring trilogies. The Hobbit is part of that world, but there's no magic in it.
For sure there are dwarves, elves, and goblins. Of course, Gandalf the Wizard makes an appearance. Is that not magic? Yes, but not of the right kind. Let me explain. The magic here can be considered special effects. Something to dazzle the readers. However, in Lord of the Ring trilogies, the magic are more of "advance science" where it is used in daily life.
In terms of adventure, this one is full of it, more troubles than you can shake a stick at. In terms of heroic deeds, there's a plenty. In terms of story telling, this ranks very high, indeed. But true magic is lacking, and that is a pity. I think that the best parts are in the beginning of the story, where Bilbo Baggins and Gollum duels in riddles. The rest must follow, and though there are heroic deeds, that is more of a story-telling adventure, rather than character development.
Plenty of cleverness abound, and in no way this is a bad book. In fact, it is an excellent book. It's just that compared to the other masterpieces, that this one can be seen as anything less than perfect. Recommended.