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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 August 2017
After finishing the silmarillion I was drawn to this book, of which is a more full and complete story of, arguably, Tolkien's most shocking and tragic tale. This is not the hobbit or LOTR, this is a very dark and very disturbing story that I believe deserves to be up there with the great annals of literature. Turins path is a twisted and cursed one, and Glaurung is without a doubt the most terrifying dragon I have read about in a story.
Do yourself a favour and read this.
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on 12 April 2017
Imagine a young man of 20 or so, caught up in the trench warfare of World War I, experiencing the daily reality of mud, rats, lice, and bombardment, and writing stories about elves and dwarves, dragons and men of valor, stories of doomed heroes set in a time remote from the present. Before “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” there was a manuscript called “The Book of Lost Tales.”

One of lost tales, those stories of the First Age or what J.R.R. Tolkien referred to as the “Elder Days,” was “The Children of Hurin.” It is a dark story, a tale of a curse, but it is a fierce story, a moving story, a story whose ending you know but you keep reading anyway because you’re caught in the grip of a master storyteller and he won’t let go.

Hurin is a heroic king, married to Morwen and the father of the boy Turin. He has set off with his allies to fight the Black Enemy, named Morgoth, who is seeking to dominate the worlds of men and elves with his own armies of Orcs and evil men. Hurin and his allies are defeated; Hurin is taken prisoner but is not killed. Instead, he is made a permanent captive and Morgoth places a curse upon his children.

“The Children of Hurin” is a rousing tale, a wonderful story in its own right but also one containing hints and foreshadowing of what was to come later with Tolkien’s greatest works.
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on 4 July 2017
Hmm, it was ok. The start was intriguing as it offered background on the familiar characters from the Lord of the Rings.. but the story was average. A few exciting parts, but otherwise fairly slow and more like a historical account. Pitty.
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on 20 April 2017
Another well written treasure of Tolkien, thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 19 April 2017
The tragedy of Turin Turambar forms the focus of this book set in Middle Earth during the First Age. The tale is mentioned briefly in the Silmarillion so this is an excellent opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the time of the Heroes of the First Houses of Men and set exclusively in the doomed West of Middle Earth - Beleriand. Chronicling the rise and fall of the House of Hador, mostly around the Doom of Turin and his dealings with the great Worm Glaurung - Father of Dragons.
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on 6 June 2017
not necessarily improved by lengthening. I've never really got on with anything other than The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. The rest seem more reruns to extend the franchise.
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Just when you think they can't find another draft, note, poem or shopping list written by J.R.R. Tolkien, something new pops up.

But in the case of "The Children of Húrin," the result is a surprisingly solid and lucid story, full of familiar characters from other books about the history of Middle-Earth. Tolkien's timeless, formal prose and richly-imagined world make this novella pop from the pages, especially without his son's stuffier footnotes.

It opens with the story of Huon and Hurin, heroic brothers who lived back in the first age. But when battling the terrible Morgoth (the Middle-Earth Satan), Huor is slain and Hurin is taken prisoner by Morgoth, who torments and curses him. The Easterlings overrun his lands, and in fear for her son and unborn baby, Hurin's wife Morwen sends her son away to be fostered in Doriath.

And so Turin grows up in Doriath, until the day when he feels the need to go out and defend his distant family. His adventures take him through Middle-Earth, encountering great elves, orcs, lives with outlaws, and Mim the petty-dwarf. But his life is cursed by Morgoth -- as is the mysterious girl he falls in love with -- and his downfall will be one of horror and disgrace, even as he slays the most terrible dragon in Middle-Earth, Glaurung.

This book is actually a jigsaw puzzle -- Tolkien worked on the interrelated stories and poetry throughout his lifetime, but he never quite finished a solid cohesive story. So Christopher Tolkien cobbled together these various stories with Tolkien's unfinished works, pasted them together, and the result was "The Children of Húrin."

Surprisingly, the resulting story is very solid and strong, with a darker finale than "Lord of the Rings." While the main storyline is about Hurin and his son, it's sprinkled with familiar characters, such as Melian and Morgoth. And the rich, tragic storyline is full of noble elves, great human heroes, ancient lost cities and even a vengeful, talking sword.

And Tolkien's writing is somewhere between his "Silmarillion" style and his "Lord of the Rings" style -- it's formal and archaic, but he includes strong descriptions ("A flash of white swallowed in the dark chasm, a cry lost in the roaring of the river") and dialogue ("You are one of the fools that spring would not mourn if you perished in winter". One of the best scenes is when Morgoth and Hurin argue about theology and the "circles of the world" on a tower.

Despite the formality of his writing, the characters really pop out of their stories -- Turin is fierce, passionate and tragic, and his last scenes are absolutely stunning. His noble father and moody mother also come across well, and we get plenty of other colourful characters, from snitty elves to the evil Morgoth himself, who torments Hurin by forcing him to see everything Morgoth sees.

Since the actual story is only about two hundred pages long, it's fleshed out considerably by Christopher Tolkien's introduction and appendices, which explain about the writing and construction of the stories and poems, as well as a pronunciation guide, and a series of family trees.

And Alan Lee provides several beautiful drawings (both black-and-white and color), including Doriath's forests, eagles carrying Hurin and Huor, elven smiths, the dragon, Elf warriors, and finally the death of Turin, over a grey river under some burned trees.

Despite its brevity, "The Children of Húrin" is a stunning, brilliant piece of work, full of Tolkien's vibrant storytelling and memorable characters. Definitely a must-read.
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2008
This could well stand as one of Tolkien's greatest pieces of work other than the Lord Of The Rings. It is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word as Tolkien once again combines imagination with great deeds and wonderful imagery as he weaves a magical tale of the Elder Days In Middle Earth during the first age.

I have read much of Tolkiens earlier work, such as the silmarilian and the unfinished tales and these novels are a little heavy going at times so I was a little dubious as to whether The Children Of Hurin would be of a similar literal tone. I couldn't have been more wrong. Although I have come across this tale before I have never read it in its entirety. As you read through the story I was surprised to be so drawn into it, you do get a real feel for the woes of all the characters in the book as you urge them on whilst reading it.

Tolkien really has a remarkable style, his imagination has no bounderies and his skill with the pen is apparent as he takes you on yet another adventure from deep dark forests, to glorious rivers, epic battles all you expect from Tolkien is right here, so much of the lore that gets talked about in the later Lord Of the Rings is all here too. But it isnt Sauron who is the major threat it is his master the evil Morgoth, who puts a curse on the House of Hador and the Children of Hurin for defying him.

The story is often woeful, a far cry from Bilbo and the Dwarves on the Treasure quest. But for any Tolkien fans this really is a must read. Much lighter to read than most of his early essays and gives you a feel for Middle Earth in days long before Lord Of The Rings and the Days of Gandalf, Arragorn and the rest. Yet another great story from the master and one that is more than worthy to sit alongside the Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit.
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on 18 December 2012
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.
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on 23 February 2015
This book is fantastic, it will grab you by the throat. I read it in two days, two weeks after I read The Silmarillion for the first time.

So, why I said "I hated it"? Simple: after reading this book, I just imagined if (IF!!) Tolkien could have published more worls in hit life time, works like this one that spreads thing that happens in The Simarillion. Imagine a whole book about Beren and LUthine, about Eol, about the dog from Valinor, about the Valars, some books about the details of one of the battles, about the battle between Elves and Dwarfs... gosh, the option are infinite...

BUt it was not so... I do not see this book as a false attempt, a false job jsut to get cash for the state. It is a very good stan alone book, everyone that like fantasy I think would enjoy it.

Also, the dialogues.... Here we have much more dialogue than in The Silmarillion, and, not surprisingly, they are very good. Tolkine was a master of the craft, every word counted.

Just loved this book.

Bear in mind that this book is kind of an expanded version of the tale already contained in UNFINISHED TALES, under the name "Narn I Hin Húrin" (the longest chapter in that book, by the way). The differences between the versions are clearly explained by Christopher Tolkien at the end of "The Children of Húrin".
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