I have read the original books, and listened to the unabridged audiobook version (narrated by Rob Inglis), and while not necessarily better than the print version, this adaptation is phenomenal.
This version retains almost all of the original dialogue, with very few modifications. For example, almost all of the dialogue between the hobbits, Mr. Butterbur, and Strider in the inn in Bree is retained. It is edited for length by omitting certain lengthy side-plots such as the trek through the old forest and Tom Bombadil.
I gave it 4/5 stars for performance for two reasons. First, any scene involving the ring includes a sort of background resonance/feedback noise that I found to be rather unpleasant when listening in the car or with headphones. Second, the dramatic sequences are not described, they are performed (e.g. a battle sequence) so you hear swords clashing and shouts, but it is hard to tell what is going on. Any significant outcome is mentioned later by one of the characters, and this is the chief source of non-original dialogue in the adaptation.
This is an interesting change from the typical way a story is told, with a narrator describing what is going on and also performing the character dialogue.
In this version, it is entirely dialogue. There is no narration whatsoever. To support this, the story has been adapted slightly so that events that were described in the book from a narrator's point of view are written in as dialogue when possible, or described after the fact in a conversation.
Surprisingly, this doesn't negatively affect the impact of the scenes where these things are happening. I found the dialogue-based version of events to be even more evocative. There is a lot more dialogue with Col. Graff and his fellow battle school administrators, and they do much more exploration of Ender's motives, thoughts, and actions.
As someone who has previously read Ender's Game as a novel, I get the sense that this version of the story might be harder to follow for someone who is experiencing it for the first time. However, I find the cast performance adds more than it takes away. It is easier to feel empathy for Ender and the other characters in this version.
Overall, I found that as a prior reader of the novel, this was a completely new way to enjoy the story, and definitely worth the listen.
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