The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien Update:

Wow! I've alway enjoyed The Hobbit, maybe not as much as my fav, The Silmarillion, but this time around, I swear it is even MORE awesome. And for the first time, I actually like Bilbo! And even the silly poems and songs didn't drive me bonkers as they usually do. Not to mention, Rob Inglis is an AMAZING narrator.

I guess I should just say: this book was awesome and I'm bumping it up to five stars because four stars just doesn't contain all the awesome of this book.

#end Tolkien fangirling

Original Review:

"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit"
Bilbo Baggins was a respectable hobbit living in his hobbit-hole at Bag End. But things change when Gandalf the Wizard drops by--along with thirteen dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield. Suddenly, Bilbo finds himself on a pony heading away from the Shire and into the great unknown, to defeat a dragon and score treasure.

I Liked:
WOW! This was such a beautiful, enjoyable book!
The Hobbit has never been my favorite Tolkien novel, mostly because it seems so childish (of course, it was written for kids). But the audiobook (and listening to Eldest prior to this) gave me a new appreciation for this joy.
Firstly, there are the characters, primarily Bilbo. Bilbo really strikes me as a relatable guy. He's comfortable, content to live at home, and uninterested in adventures. He has to be pushed out of his home by Gandalf in order to get in on the fun. It reminds me so much of how I can be: content to go along, not trying new things until my sister forces me on a new path.
My favorite character, though, is Gandalf. I like how quirky he is, how smart and even caring he is to Bilbo. Gandalf knew that Bilbo was perfect for the job and wouldn't let Bilbo back out no matter what. Plus, it's awesome to see recurring characters from the Lord of the Rings.
The story itself is so wonderful! Tolkien writes in a third person omniscient, which allows him to employ a great sense of humor. I love how he often directs comments to the audience (explaining hobbits, trolls, and the like) and how light-hearted the tone is. As for the story proper: a pleasure! There is so much adventure, excitement, intrigue...I've read this before, but I still learned new things or was wowed all over again. I loved the tale of how Bilbo and the dwarves evaded the trolls (so simple, yet showcases how brilliant Gandalf was), how Bilbo got the ring from Gollum, and the trek through the Forest (so scary!).
And I love how this story fits into Tolkien's vision for Middle Earth. Elrond, Wood Elves, Mirkwood (Thranduil!), Gollum, the White Council...all these and more make appearances.
And lastly, the narrator...ah, he was such a pleasure to listen to! I loved his voice, and I adored how he sung the songs and poems in the book! Not many could pull it off so convincingly!

I Didn't Like:
I don't have a lot of complaints, but there are a few. Firstly, there are thirteen dwarves, and most of them have little to no character. Fili and Kili were young, Bombur fat, Balin I believe had the best eyesight. Only Thorin had any development.
One thing I've never liked about the Lord of the Rings or much of Tolkien's works was all the poetry. The Hobbit was no different; a few poems were great, but after a while, I grew tired of the lapsing into a poem.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
While not graphic, there are some intense battles between goblins and the troop in the Misty Mountains and in the final battle.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I've never been a Hobbit fan, but this time around, I might be converted. It's fun, it's enjoyable, it's a piece of your childhood in novel form. Highly recommended for those who want to be kids again.