19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A brief history of everything,
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
It is a testament to the Silmarillion that it makes the Lord of the Rings feel so small. The battle for the one ring forms little more than a footnote in the vast expanse of history that Tolkien has created here, and Sauron is a mere footsoldier in the armies of Morgoth (read Satan).
The Silmarillion reminded me of the early books of the bible, but fortunately without the "and Ahab begat Mephibeseth" etc. Tolkien has written a creation myth all his own, and were it not for that fact that he never published his work, it might seem as though the Silmarillion were a work of arrogance, simply a showcase for the staggering imaginative power of the writer.
As several reviewers have already commented, this is not story-telling in the Lord of the Rings genre, and it has little in the way of character development. However, I would recommend this book to anyone who is prepared to spend some time to understand their favourite childhood story a little more fully. This book will explain how wizards came into being, and will show why Aragorn is so important as the leader of men. Peter Jackson also borrowed from this work for his film, for example the very first scene in the Fellowship is nowhere to be found in the Lord of the Rings.
The book also stands alone as a work of great literary power. Although there is little room for character development, Tolkien refers to his protagonists with such awe and reverence throughout that this can be easily overlooked. To ask whether Feanor felt guilt at times, is like asking whether Nelson enjoyed sugar in his tea. In this account of great deeds, the smaller details are inconsequential.
In my personal opinion, this is a greater achievement than the Lord of the Rings, although I would not expect many to agree. It does take some patience initially, and many people will not have read anything like this before. However, those people are in for a treat.