It has been since middle school the last time I read The Hobbit and with the release of the book on Audible.com and the first of the three movie versions in the theater, I decided to give it a listen. The audio version has a great narrator named Rob Inglis who actually sings the songs and does fantastic voices for all of the different characters. It was also a very quick read and a lot of fun to listen to.
The story centers around a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. One day he gets a visit from the wizard Gandalf inviting Bilbo to go on a grand adventure. Hobbits aren’t the type to go on adventures and Bilbo refuses. But Gandalf put an invisible mark on Bilbo’s door and before he knows it, 13 dwarves show up unannounced and uninvited (by Bilbo at least) and commence to eat everything in his pantry. They finally talk Bilbo into going on the adventure and acting as the burglar for the troupe. The dragon Smaug had taken over the dwarves mountain and gold and is currently guarding it and the dwarves want it back. That is the reason for their quest. Over the course of the journey, they meet trolls, the elves of Rivendale, and then they head into the Misty Mountains where they are attacked by goblins and Bilbo gets separated from the group. In the depths of the mountain Bilbo meets Gollum and finds his “precious” ring which turns out to be super helpful throughout the rest of the journey. They escape the mountains and continue east toward the Mirkwood Forest and finally to the Lonely Mountain where somehow they have to slay the dragon Smaug.
I loved all the creatures and people they encounter along the quest. It also brings up some issues such a greed and helping others. All along the way Bilbo is homesick for his Hobbit hole, but even he grows and learns courage and bravery throughout the course of the adventure. The Hobbit is obviously a children’s book and that may be my one small complaint about the whole thing. Tolkien, in some instances, seems to be talking down to his readers. For example Tolkien will insert himself into the story as in “Gandalf. If you had heard a quarter of what I’ve heard about him. . .” Most of the time, this isn’t that big a deal, but there were occasions where it took me out of the story. Overall, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I never was able to get through the print version of Lord of the Rings, but now that all three books are on Audible, I may give the audio versions a try, especially since they are read by the same fantastic narrator.