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on December 21, 2000
Everyone knows the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are wonderful stories, and I fully agree. The reason for my bad rating of this PARTICULAR edition of JRR Tolkien's works is that the books are riddled with typographical errors, some so severe that they change the meaning of sentences, effectively reversing the author's intent. One example: "The Breelanders locked their doors at night, which was also not unusual in the Shire." The word "unusual" should have been "usual"--i.e., the Shire Hobbits don't usually lock their doors at night. But exactly the opposite idea is conveyed by this typographical error! And there are many more errors where that one came from. I counted THREE errors on ONE PAGE! AVOID THIS EDITION at all costs!
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on December 19, 2001
The ONLY reason why I chose to buy this particular edition was because of the incredibly low price tag it carried for FOUR books. However, once the package arrived and I had worked my way past the first and second chapters (of the Hobbit) it became obvious WHY this particular printing had been such a steal.
For someone like me, who has read the ORIGINAL Hobbit (Unwin Publication), this edition was as close to a rip-off as one could get in the book-publishing world. Let me make a list here.
1. Typographical errors
2. The RUNES of the map are not correct either. It should read, "When the Trush Knocks", instead it reads,"Hwen the Trush Knocks"
3. The ENTIRE introduction by the author, (On Runes and their history, from where I learnt to read them 15 years ago) is MISSING! I wonder what anyone who reads this publication will think of Tolkien's runic writing without the authors guiding words.
Sadly, I have now lost the original Hobbit book (I lent it to a friend who lost it) so I will have to make do with the one from this boxed set. It's something. But it certainly WILL NOT PLEASE ANY FAN OF TOLKIEN.
If you are a Tolkien fan, or want to enjoy the TRUE magic of the Ring, DO NOT BUY THIS BOXED SET!!! This is strictly for the casual reader who cannot tell Tolkien from Eddings!
(...)
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on December 29, 2000
As someone else mentioned, we all know the Lord of the Rings to be by the far one of the greatest works of writing of the 20th century. It is all a game we play with Tolkien, for he too took it much more seriously then any other Fantasy of Science Fiction writer ever has. He made up languages that existed in relationship to languages and dialects that we have in english, and thus created a nightmare for Translators. He told stories of all sorts of perils of creation, and made sure everything was done right. Thus, when an edition like this comes out, it is truly painful. For one, originally, Tolkien created some of the most beautiful maps of Middle Earth, spending time making sure that all of the proportions were accurate. He didn't just jumble down some lines for the coast line, for example. He spent many hours making sure everything was proportinate and made sense. However, sometime after 1988, Ballantine started to release editions of the triliogy with completely new maps, all signed by some Shelly Shapiro. In either case, these new maps were plauged with problems, from being too cartoony and unproportinate to having names of locations from the original maps done away with. The maps, from the very beginning, have been essential to the LoTR books, and having cheap maps made is annoying beyond belief. It shows a sign of disrespect from the editors. To me, it says, "People won't notice anyway. Lets make a smaller sized book with less detailed maps and save some money." If you truly want to expierience this epic (or history, more accurately) as Tolkien envisioned it (not some editor at Ballantine), spend some extra cash and either get a different edition or buy a good map (there is currently an excellent one made by Christopher Tolkien, which is much larger and detailed). Of course, were the map adequate, this edition still suffers from annoying miscopies and misprints and so on. Don't sell out for cheap editions. You've been warned.
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on May 27, 1999
I got this very boxed set the other day and The Hobbit fell apart on first reading. The cover just peeled right off as I read through! Boo to the publisher (Ballantine Books, NY) for messing up a classic of literature. Worse, I found spelling errors too... needless to say I got a refund and will get myself the Deluxe Edition.
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on September 19, 2001
The Hobbit is one of my favorite novels, but I found this 5-disk set unlistenable. The abridgement is poorly done, and takes unnecessary liberties with the book, the diction is unclear and muddy, the transfer from tape was botched so that everything streams by at a too-rapid clip, with unnaturally squeaky voices and sounds, and the special effects are laughable (the Trolls speak through vocoders ("Were you in D'Nang?").
I bought this and couldn't listen to even the first disc of five; I returned it.
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on May 15, 2001
For the life of me, I can not figure out why so many people live by this series and preach about how good it is. Now, I've been reading fantasy novels for many years, and have found many I like, and few that I dislike..but this series is truly one of the worst. There is no doubting the excellence of the plot, and its originality at the time. My biggest problem with it, howerver, was the lack of any real character depth. The only thing that actually told you what type of person, or hobbit, Frodo was, was the adjectives Tolkien used...he said words like brave and strong, but the story itself didn't impress any real sense of character on me. I like to read a novel and put it down feeling like I 'know' the main characters, as if they were friends of mine that I just shared an adventure with. I never had the pleasure of doing so with this book. I also felt the book was unrealistic in that you knew that nothing truly bad would happen to the characters. You discover early on in book one of LoTR that two of the hobbits are 'eaten' by a tree, but both pop right back out again with no scratches. Heck, the only thing that comes of it is one shivers and says he doesn't want to talk about it again. What kind of way is that to deal with a situation that had so much potential for character developement, and even pure old fashion action?? This combined with simplistic character interaction, I just got an impression the whole way through that the books were written for children, with a whole bunch of pretty words thrown in to please the adults who get off feeling smart reading intellectual gibberish. Perhaps I'm bitter after waiting so long to read what is known as the first real fantasy novel after reading so many from the genre, only to be disappointed, but I honestly feel that authors like Jordan, Brooks, Eddings, and Goodkind blow Tolkien away, and should certainly recieve more credit than this dusty old book
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on May 22, 1998
I love to write and read and understand the difficulties of writing a really great novel. I read "The Hobbit" with high expectations, having heard how great it was. I mean...it's like a classic, isn't it? I just about died trying to finish the book. It was so boring. There were too many side adventures that were pointless to the story and distracted from the main plot. The book dragged on way to long, and I thought the ending was awful. I think it should have ended right after they killed the dragon, instead of going on about the war over the treasure. The ending definitely took away from the story even more and didn't let the book end with any kind of finality. The story ended but he kept on going. Babbling and babbling and babbling. It was like he started writing the beginning of a new book right at the end of this one. Contrary to what most think I thought this was a terribly written book and series. But you should all probably read it anyway so you can develop your own opinions.
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on September 6, 1999
I just wanted to make you sit up, there are just too many reviews of this book and I can see why. There are not enough words in the vocabulary of the English language to describe the sheer excellence and majesty of the book. I am interested in history much, and one of the things I loved was how Tolkien created such a detailed world with immense histories and legends and tales. This series was simply the best I have ever read, and Im sure at least half the people in the world agree with me. A lot of history only alluded to in the Lord of the Rings is given in Appendix A(although I felt Tolkien could have written even more!). In fact, The Silmarillion does not have enough about the history of the rings and the races in the chapter - Of the third Age and the Rings of Power, and Appendix A in the return of the King does not have nearly enough pages about the history of all the peoples and such. I feel Prof. Tolkien has not given us more than a tantalizing glimpse of Middle Earth, and there are a lot of things I want to know such as where are the other lands in Arda, why the Valar took no interest in the rings and a lot of other things. If anyone has any answers, please email me! I really wish Tolkien had created at least two more books to decribe what happened after the War of the Rings, and about Moria and Mordor and other places. The series Was JUST LOVELY. I recommend it anyone who has enough patience to read a few pages and get hooked. There is absolutely no racism in the book except if you choose to make it up. This series is a definite read and reread and rereread. Also the Silmarillion is a must for people who get interested, and you have to read the hobbit to understand the series.
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on July 1, 1998
I cannot believe all the hype this series gets, it is a boring, stereotypical fantasy that leaves all its wizards being REALLY old farts with long white beards, diminutive characters in more way then one (Yes, I know that this was a really bad pun)I have never disliked a fantasy other then this one, and I have read more then enough to make this claim (well over 300 books of this genre in the last 5 or so years) His Dwarfs are well, Dwarfs, his elves stray so far from the Traditional Celtic and Norse types it is pathetic. Sorry to anyone who still worships from these books; but if you need a good story Read Robert Jordan's Wheel of time, C.S. Friedman's Coldfire trilogy, and and Gene Wolffe's book of the New Sun Series. All these books have a fresh, wonderful setting that will hopefully convince you that the "Lord of the Rings" is no longer king. But don't get me wrong, I do still respect Tolkien for getting this genre of to a good start. But the simple fact is that a story this boring, (the detailed descriptions of every blade of grass being foremost in my mind) with undetailed, unhuman characters(yes, I do know that they are not really human in most cases, but they do not seem to have any flaws whatsoever until they get the Ring, and even these few flaws seem to get them out of trouble rather then into it!) Although I have tried, I just cannot get into this series and cannot believe that so many people let themselves get caught up in all the hype and become very stuck-up about it. (I will be the first to admit that at one time "The Hobbit" was my favorite book. But Tolkien seemed to lose his creativity after that book and could not get it back and that was a long time ago)
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on December 26, 2001
There have been two dramatizations of The Lord of the Rings available for over 20 years now. One is the Mind's Eye which is essentially the American version and the other is a BBC production made in England. In short, the Mind's Eye production is very poor in both performance and sound quality. Listening to Gandalf and Sauruman speak to each other in one episode was like listening to two demented elderly people exchange pointless barbs in a nursing home. It was stunningly bad.
In comparison, the BBC production is marvelous. With at least two Shakepearean actors who have been knighted for their acting virtuousity, Ian Holm and Michael Hordern, the BBC version is awash in fine acting. Peter Woodthorpe portrayal of Gollum is inimitable. Brian Sibley also does a superb job of writing the play. He did such a good job, he was asked to consult on the film version that Peter Jackson just directed. Did you like the film? Then buy the BBC dramatization.
It took me years to find the BBC version to buy. Only the Mind's Eye version was available in the United States for years, nay, decades. In the end, I was forced to buy the BBC version in London itself. How times have changed. Now Amazon offers both productions -- Mind's Eye and BBC. Do yourself and your family a favor. If you are going to buy any Tolkein dramatization at all, but the BBC version written by Brian Sibley. It is marvelous.
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