Andy's Reviews > The Children of Húrin

The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien
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's review
Apr 19, 08

it was ok
bookshelves: sci-fi-fantasy, fiction
Read in April, 2008

This book, sadly, has "collector's edition" written all over it. It re-tells one of Tolkien's many "Elder Days" legends that he never published as full-length novels and were posthumously packaged in shortened form as The Silmarillion. The ostensible purpose of this book was to present one of these tales to an audience that may have read the Lord of the Rings trilogy but had not tackled anything else in Tolkien's quite rich and expansive mythology of Middle-earth.

The problem is that the text is almost completely redundant to the story as presented in The Silmarillion, with minor padding and clarifications to make it a cleaner product. This kills the appeal it would have to an unfamiliar audience, because it is not sufficiently "casual," as the Lord of the Rings is, to have broad appeal to someone who does not know who the hell are "Thingol" and "Beren" and these "princes of the Noldor." It's still written too grandly and biblically to win over the common man. However, the redundancy also kills the appeal it would have to die-hard Tolkien fans, because there is almost nothing in here that is new to them.

On the plus side there are many pretty paintings and illustrations and a fold-out map attached in the back, yippee. Five stars for the story, minus three stars because this book occupies a somewhat useless place amongst Tolkien's works.
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