3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tough beginning but enjoyable,
This review is from: (The Children of Hurin) By J. R. R. Tolkien (Author) Hardcover on (Apr , 2007) (Hardcover)
I found this one a hard book to get into. I stumbled within the first ten pages and gave up on the book for a while. Eventually I came back to the book and forced myself to concentrate a bit harder. As other reviews note there is a lot of names to take in but it isn't just the names that are a 'problem', the language is tough too; I found the language to be very concise but also intractable when I was hoping for a casual/easy read. That said, I did find that after the first chapter or so the list of names to remember is smaller and the language flows much better.
I haven't read the Silmarillion so I can't comment on, nor criticise, any supposed similarities. I managed to get into the book and finish it just fine. Some reviewers have stated that it may be impossible to understand without having read the Simarillion, but that isn't the case. This book stands works fine without any knowledge to the rest of the universe; yes, it will be more familiar if you have at least read about the extended mythology. Melkor, aka Morgoth, is the main protagonist but he is mentioned in LOTR. Sauron doesn't appear in this story, or only has a minor role if he does (can't quite remember). As such, the plot occurs more than 3000 years before LOTR.
I'm willing to believe that Tolkien, the original, wrote most of this and that his son merely edited it without too much input. It reads like Tolkien but I wouldn't say that it is as easy as LOTR. The hardback version is nice, and comes in the usual larger size when books are first released. I think later reprints, including the paperback, are smaller although it isn't so easy to find this book in the highstreet stores. I mostly see the Hobbit and LOTR, with the odd copy of the Silmarillion.
The plot is much darker than either the Hobbit or LOTR, there is no humour (from memory) and many characters die or are cursed. The general feeling is that the heroes are fighting against themselves and the world in a bitter futile struggle. It is tragic in a way that the classic Greek plays are, or that Shakespeare is. There is an obvious comparison to make but I can't mention it for fear of spoiling some of the plot.
It is really a good read but you have to get past the first chapter, if you feel like you are getting bogged down then try your best to get past it. The book isn't that long despite how much story is crammed into so few pages. Fans of the universe should love it, while slightly more casual readers should at least enjoy it if they like to read darker fantasy.