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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Recently Read: The Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien

Unable to leave the ancient Library just yet as there are so many remarkable books to keep you fascinated, the librarian seizes the opportunity and starts talking about yet another book...

(Today it is Trustdale in the 5th inquart, 0 S.D. and the sun still rules the sky this late afternoon)

ast night I finished reading the latest novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Children of Húrin. This novel - the result of his son Christopher Tolkien successfully putting together different fragments written by his father into one complete narrative - takes place in The First Age, long before the Third Age events of The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings.

I read in a review of the book before I decided to buy it, that this novel stylistically could be seen as a novel somewhere "between" the archaic prose of The Silmarillion and the more accessible books about the ring. That is actually a very good description of this book. If you don't like Tolkien's two most famous books (The ring trilogy is actually one single work), you will probably not be intrigued by this one. If you want to know more about the history of Middle-earth and experience an epic - albeit dark - story in one of the most detailed fantasy settings that will ever be created, then this is definitely something for you.

The story is not as elaborate - or exciting - as those about Bilbo's and Frodo's quests. But it's a dark high fantasy saga with captivating characters and marvellous settings. The beautiful illustrations by Alan Lee (smaller ones in black-and-white as well as some colored full-page ones) makes it an even richer experience.

Highly recommended for Tolkien fans but probably not for a more "mainstream fantasy" reader, looking for an easy-to-digest novel of a more casual style.

Fantasytree tip #5: If you have never read Tolkien before - and still haven't experienced some of the best fantasy ever written - my advice is that you to start with the two "ring-books", The Hobbit and Lord of the rings.

As a comparison I would rate these three works by Tolkien as follows:

Children of Húrin: 8 out of 10 Leaves

The Hobbit: 9 out of 10 Leaves

Lord of The Rings: 10 out of 10 Leaves (FANTASY MASTERPIECE!)

Each one of these three novels offers a fantastic experience of Tolkien's Middle-Earth though. Enjoy your travels.

Related links:

The Tolkien Society (includes a HUGE link-collection about practically everything related to Tolkien)

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