Having been one of the relative few who have made it through The Silmarillion, which is often referred to as the bible for Middle-Earth (where The Lord of the Rings is set), I’ve waded through dry, exposition-heavy material before, but I was hoping this would be different. Needless to say I was somewhat disappointed to find more of the same.
The story of the children of Húrin, Túrin and Nienor, is covered in The Silmarillion and not much is added to it here. Some additional detail, but the main points were already covered. It’s a depressing tale, which is by no means a bad thing, but it’s told in a slow, disjointed way with a protagonist you quickly learn to loath and prose that distances you from any engagement. It spends too much time being austere, seemingly in an effort to sound like classic writing, arguably in an effort to match Tolkien’s original work, published more than 50 years ago and written long before that.
It means that, like much of the work written after Tolkien’s death, it lacks the character of his work and, as such, is simply boring. There are plenty of tales in The Silmarillion, not many as well developed as this, but I think the time would have been better spent working on them.
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Reviewed: 10th November 2008