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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent tales, excellent story-teller, 20 Dec. 2004
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Audio CD)
The Silmarillion is a collection of wonderful stories about the creation and history of Valinor and Middle Earth. I've enjoyed reading the book: borrowed copies, old copies with flies and earwigs preserved (probably mummified) between the pages and, most recently, my very own copy. Now I've also listened to the audiobook read by the very competent Martin Shaw. I've been trying to get hold of this audiobook for ages and finally I have it. And it's just as terrific as I hoped it would be. I'm not surprised that Martin Shaw reads it well. I've enjoyed his reading of The Hobbit, so knew what to expect.
I highly and whole-heartedly recommend this audiobook to all who love Tolkien's tales of Middle Earth - but with one small reservation. There are some very long descriptions of the lay-out of Valinor and Middle Earth. There are great lists of unfamiliar place names, described as being north of this place, south-west of that place, below this range of mountains, to the east of that river and so on. It can be very confusing when you have no map to refer to, as you can when reading the book. The book also provides graphic representations of the genealogies of the elves and men in the stories. The stories tell of many many characters, some with similar sounding names. It's easy to get confused. I had access to the maps and genealogies in my book and that was fortunate for me because I would find it difficult to keep track otherwise. Under the circumstances (there being so many descriptions of distance and location) it's surprising that there is not a map included with this audiobook. There are maps in the book because they are extremely useful - indispensable for people with little or no spatial ability, like me. The BBC's audiobook of Lord of the Rings includes a lovely big copy of the map of Middle Earth from the book. Unfortunately, that won't help you to find your way around the Middle Earth of The Silmarillion because great floods and upheavals have drowned and distorted the land by the end of the second age. If you have a good imagination for geographical data and a good memory for names (unlike me), none of this will seem to be a problem. Otherwise, you'll enjoy some parts of this audiobook more if you have access to the book with its maps and genealogies.
There are 13 CDs in the box and the reading time is about 14.75 hours.
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Location: Leicestershire, United Kingdom

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