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Publisher's Summary

Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all - a treasure-troving dragon named Smaug.

In this fantasy classic, master storyteller J.R.R. Tolkein creates a bewitching world filled with delightful creatures and thrilling dangers. Narrator Rob Inglis will hold listeners of all ages spellbound with his skillful portrayal of hobbits, dwarves, and enchanted beasts.

©1966 J.R.R. Tolkien (P)1991 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    21,132
  • 4 Stars
    4,769
  • 3 Stars
    1,165
  • 2 Stars
    271
  • 1 Stars
    260

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    18,447
  • 4 Stars
    4,580
  • 3 Stars
    1,329
  • 2 Stars
    269
  • 1 Stars
    213

Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    20,092
  • 4 Stars
    3,558
  • 3 Stars
    1,014
  • 2 Stars
    204
  • 1 Stars
    172
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Almost perfect

What can I say? The story's almost incomparable, so let me switch to commending Rob Inglis' performance. I tend to shy away from dramatizations, but Inglis' delivery is mostly narration. He does just enough variation in delivery to make the characters distinctive without resorting to silly vocal tics. It's masterfully done and a great example of how a good narrator can enhance a book just as easily as a poor one can ruin it.

42 of 49 people found this review helpful

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Great story, occasionally painful reading

If you could sum up The Hobbit in three words, what would they be?

"Please. Stop. Singing."

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Granted, it's very hard to deal with a cast of 14-15 characters, but many of the characters' voices made me want to stop listening altogether. The narrator's default voice for every person other than most of the dwarves is a stuffy, old-fashioned sounding affair. Think of how you would imagine a stereotypical, British, upper-middle class grandfather of the 1940s to sound. Congratulations. You have heard Bilbo, Elrond, Gandalf, the LakeTown Master, and pretty much everyone over 4 feet tall. Thorin gets more of the same, but with an extremely affected, trying-to-be-posh inflection to top it off. However, on the dwarves, the narrator goes to the opposite extreme. Every single dwarf has his own "unique" voice, and most of these are incredibly annoying. Fili and Kili sound like idiots. They speak in a veeeerrrrrryyyy slllloooowwwwww, overly deep voice and mumble through consonants. They sounded, actually, rather like Crabbe and Goyle from Harry Potter. The voice made me think that the author was implying that they were extremely stupid goons.I would have preferred less "personalization" and more "reading what Tolkien actually wrote," as he's pretty good at identifying the speaker. The mixed-up, everyone-is-arguing parts are supposed to be muddled, so it's extremely unnecessary to inject a separate voice for everyone.This became utterly unbearable during the singing portions. In the narrator's defense, it is hard to come up with tunes for Tolkien's stuff, and it is acutely awkward to expect someone to sing a page's worth of unwritten melody, but augh! I had to fast forward through the elf songs. Rather than "elvish" or "merry" or "different but appealing" or anything Tolkien implied, the elvish music is closer to, "stuffy old guy blissed out on something very relaxing and probably illegal." By contrast, the narrator seems to be trying to rush through the dwarf songs, setting them at an overly brisk cadence and singing them as if he wants to get through as quickly as possible and is rather bored of the song. Awful stuff.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No; I liked parts of it, but the songs always made me abandon the story for at least a day or so, and the voices grated on my nerves.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

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BILBO DIDN'T HAVE ADVENTURES

I liked this better than LOTR. Bilbo is such a likeable character and their are more dwarfs in this. While it made a good movie, I still don't see why today's readers are so enthralled. I have read this cover to cover, but I could not sit through it one more time.

Kelly you are not alone, not everyone follows the crowd.

110 of 132 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful story ruined by narrator.

What would have made The Hobbit better?

A narrator who did not sound as though he had a mouthful of marbles. Needs a new narrator who can handle the material and is able to tell the story...not mumble his way through JRR Tolkien's wondrous work.

What did you like best about this story?

The story, obviously. All of it.

How could the performance have been better?

By having, as I noted earlier, a narrator who could handle the story . Someone who would sound energized to be chosen to read Tolkien's work. The present narrator, who, I believe, was employed to 'recite" all of Tolkien's audibly performed work, as well as the recording itself, is old & outdated. Needs a top notch recording studio and top notch performer! Please redo this! Being in my late 60's, my eyesight is not able to handle reading long stories, such as this one. I was so pleased when I discovered "The Hobbit" available as an audio recording, but shattered after hearing the first 5 minutes of this monotone, grumbling, rumbling narrator whom I could barely understand. I could not listen to the rest of this recording. Very disappointed Purchasing This recording was a waste of my "credits".

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Hobbit?

Keep all scenes, get decent narrator!

Any additional comments?

I think I've made my point.

25 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Derek B.
  • A strange midwestern city, United States
  • 12-08-12

A grand literary adventure!

What a comforting audiobook. How nice it is when you buy an audiobook that repays you with a great story and a comforting and riviting reader/actor. I had never read "The Hobbit" before so I had only a vague familiarity of the characters to start my literary adventure, but let me tell you how wonderful and exciting it was to go along with Bilbo, Gandalf, (and the Dwarves) Thorin, Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Oin, Gloin, Ori, Dori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur. We met up with the Elves, Wargs, Goblins, Trolls, Humans and Smaug the dragon who lives in the Mountain that he had stolen from the Dwarves many years before. Oh I miss it already. I guess it's a great thing that I have a bad memory so I can enjoy this one again before too long (LOL). I refuse to spoil the story for you so I will have to leave off after adding that I hope you give this book a chance, that is only if your up for a grand literary adventure.

25 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Aden
  • LAFAYETTE, CO, United States
  • 10-10-12

Excellent Overall, A Nit-Pick Here & There

1. Not A Prequel--love of god, can we at least separate the literary masterpieces from the mass market movie productions? The Hobbit was written first, whether or not Peter Jackson filmed it last.

2. Finally! Someone does an unabridged audiobook version!
3. It's Tolkien and brilliant.
4. The reading is great, but only one nit-pick: some characters and scenes should be read a little darker and not so upbeat. For example, the songs of the Dwarfs--these should be dark and foreboding, but the way that they're read/sung in this recording makes me think of lawn ornament Gnomes digging in the garden. Minor nit-pick. Overall, a very long awaited and welcome recording! Thanks!

65 of 81 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • Colorado Springs
  • 05-08-17

Am I the only one?

I may be the only reviewer of The Hobbit who does not think it is perfectly enchanting. Honestly, I wavered between 3 and 4 stars... and I cannot quite explain why. So, I will start with saying that fantasy and young adult are both book genres that I mostly avoid, and that is influencing my view I am sure. But, I made up my mind to read the classics and this one was picked by a book club I am in so I read it. I actually had high hopes as I read the Harry Potter series finally a few months ago and it blew me away. Wow! It was such a revelation and pretty much had me convinced that I had been wrong about myself and that I was a fan of both fantasy and young adult books. And, perhaps this book simply doesn't live up to the HP standard.

I did wish that I had watched the movie at some point. (And that is something I cringe to say as a person who always finds books far superior to movies.) Perhaps the movie would have made all the creatures found in this book more real to me. Perhaps I would have better pictured the countryside, the characters, the details. But generally my favorite books paint such vivid pictures that I cannot help but see what the author wants me to see. And I wasn't quite there with The Hobbit. Several times I stopped the app, rewound and listened again. Several times I stopped the app and asked my son to describe a certain character. I just did not follow the story well enough. This may be all about me... or it may be that the book simply wasn't as good as HP and I had set the barre high.

Also, if I had not listened to the incomparable Jim Dale read those books I may have given Rob Ingliss 5 stars. He is very good. But, he is not even close to as good as Dale and I think -- because of the genre of book -- I was expecting that level of superiority.

30 of 38 people found this review helpful

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Still doesn't thrill me

Would you try another book from J. R. R. Tolkien and/or Rob Inglis?

Nope.

What was most disappointing about J. R. R. Tolkien’s story?

I read this when I was young and was bored with it. The performance helped me get through it again but I was still bored. I know a lot of people love these stories - so I tried to like it, really I did.

Have you listened to any of Rob Inglis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The performance of all the characters was really quite remarkable. My only complaint would be the annoying little stops and starts in the recording.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I tried. Didn't like that either.

28 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Hurrray audible has the Hobbit unabridged!!!

So happy for The Hobbit to be on to be on audible unabridged. Abridged versions of books are just so wrong it's a crime. The narrator is wonderful. He is very able to carry this story and separate the voices. His tone and the depth of his voice, it's a pleasure to listen to. The story is after all the Hobbit. It's wonderful and fantastical and an adventure that everyone must take at least once in their lives.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kim
  • Spokane, WA, United States
  • 10-31-12

Fantastic!

I tried to read Tolkien when I was young but it just didn't hold my attention - too many weird names (I hate when I don't know how to pronounce a name in my head) and songs and maps to keep track of. Even though I've seen all the movies (and the animated version of The Hobbit of course), I've always felt left out - I knew that true Tolkien fans had some inner level of cool that I lacked. Now, I am SO glad I missed out as a kid because it made listening to the audio version so much better! The narrator is perfect and of course the writing is superior. I am going to listen to the rest of them and really hope they are as good as The Hobbit.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful