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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

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Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Finally! Thank you Audible!

Being a fan of the world of Middle-Earth since I was about ten or so, I was delighted when in Middle School I discovered the unabridged audiobook recordings produced by Recorded Books. As with most of what RB does, they picked the perfect narrator. British stage actor Rob Inglis does an excellent job of bringing the many characters to life, in this case Bilbo and Thorin and Company, not to mention the many characters they meet o their quest to recover the Dwarves' treasure. And unlike most narrators, Mr. Inglis actually sings the many songs sprinkled throughout the story and, while he doesn't always choose what I would consider the right tune for all the given songs, he does have a good tenor. His regular narration style is also extremely pleasant on the ears, and his pronunciation of the names of characters and places is also excellent. Needless to say I was extremely disappointed when Audible removed these recordings from their site some years back and extremely delighted a few days ago when I discovered they'd made them available once again. I used this month's two credits to buy The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring and plan to use next month's two to buy the remainder of the story. If you're a fan of the Lord of the Rings and were disappointed or at least not completely satisfied by the other adaptations out there, you may just be in for a pleasant surprise if you give these unabridged productions a listen. It's much more convenient having them available in digital format since you won't have to worry about tapes or discs wearing out, which they inevitably do eventually. I just need to get myself a bigger IPod.

62 of 68 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic

I read this as a child and wanted to revisit it now as an adult and I'm so glad I did. I had forgotten a lot of the details and the depth of the story. It was nice to listen to it this time because it gave it a different perspective. What a classic what a treasure.

58 of 64 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Everything is great...except the songs!!

Where does The Hobbit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The Hobbit is an all time favorite. Great narrating too...except for the singing!! Dear God, I've never heard such tone-deaf, tuneless singing. Tolkien's songs have such beautiful lyrics, and can be read as poetry. I wish the narrator would have taken that approach.

104 of 116 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 10-09-12

Victory after all, I suppose!

There are a rare handful of children's books and fantasy novels that definitely deserve to be experienced in different ways (books, movies, audio) and at different times (youth, middle age, etc). I remember my first exposure to this wonderful piece of high fantasy as a child. I loved the world Tolkien created and the way he was able to balance fantasy, poetry, humor and drama. I read it again during the whole 'Lord of the Rings' (LOTR) movie period, and now I've just listened to it on Audible with my own kids in anticipation of taking them to the movie. Wow!

When judging 'the Hobbit', it is tempting to grade it straight against the LOTR trilogy. There is a trap, however, in reading 'the Hobbit' AFTER reading the LOTR. While these works by Tolkien are obviously related, they are very, very different. Tolkien's approach, tone, style and intended audience was a different. If you separate LOTR from 'the Hobbit', gently, it is easier to see the greatness of 'the Hobbit' on its own.

As an adult, I now view 'the Hobbit' more as a Bildungsroman rather than a traditional quest novel. Listening and reading this with my kids, I found myself once more transported not just to middle-earth, but back to my own youth and innocence.

133 of 149 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quite a journey

I read this book the first time many years ago. I was hooked instantly, and went on to read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I have loved these books ever since.

It was great this time 'round to have it read to me by a fabulous narrator. As I have read other reviews, I was struck by how many people were lucky enough to have a parent read this to them as children, or to read it along with a parent. I did not have that experience and am envious of it. So having Mr. Inglis read it to me is second best. That is not to say his reading is anything but amazing! and I also loved his singing of the songs. I want to believe he made the melodies up himself.

All in all, I was charmed again by this book, by the characters, the journey, the deep meaning, and the flow of Tolkein's writing. I rarely reread fiction, but this one is, and will be in the future, and exception to my rule.

44 of 49 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Candace
  • Amarillo, TX, United States
  • 10-09-12

Absolutely Amazing.

I am so glad that this is finally available on Audible! The book is one of my favorites, great all ages. Full of elves, dwarfs, dragons, wizards, goblins, giant spiders... Absolutely fun and engrossing.

I love the narrator as well. He brings the characters to life and his voice is very pleasant to listen to.

Anyone can, and should, enjoy this book. It was written for everyone! As another reviewer said, this is a book (and series) that defined the genre of fantasy. I can't wait to listen to all of them.

And THANK YOU Audible for, when finally releasing the series, and knowing it would be popular, having each book only 1 credit. Certainly worth more, but it means that people who haven't read these amazing books are more likely to take the leap and find themselves enchanted.

I plan on fully enjoying the next 65 hours and 17 minutes of my listening.

97 of 110 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Even more fun on audio

I've lost count of the times I've read the Hobbit, but picked it up on audio with the deal of day. What a delight! I'm so happy to add this to my audio library now. The master, JRR Tolkien never fails to enchant and this is a really nicely done audio with the songs actually sung and special, fitting voices for the sweet, the mysterious, and the scary inhabitants of Middle Earth. If you have read it before, try it again on audio. If you haven't read it, why not???? Great for audiences of any age.

39 of 44 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • B.
  • Greenville, SC, United States
  • 10-09-12

Absolutely the BEST

Rob Inglis's narration is clear and crisp with characters finely enunciated--from the individual dwarfs to Bilbo, from Gandalf to the spiders and the dragon! This reading is better than any dramatization (although there are some good ones) because it combines the best of narration with the value of the unabridged text. Inglis also sings the poetry--haunting and stirring melodies performed beautifully. In a way, Inglis paints the text vocally in the manner that Alan Lee painted the text visually. I am thrilled that audible has made the recordings of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series available in the US. Worth every penny/credit!!

62 of 72 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful