Tolkien Novice: I'm writing this review for those who have not yet strayed far from 'The Lord of the Ring' or 'The Hobbit'. Much like myself a couple of years ago you were probably swept up by the movies and decided to read the books. But now that the adventure is over your looking for more, let me take you by the hand and lead you down the dark and brooding path of middle-earth's past. But be warned, this journey should not be taken lightly for middle-earth is vast and varied, even more so than the events of 'LOTR' let on, and it's history is as long as the history of our own world.
But if you are willing and strong of heart then follow me.
There is no better place to start on your journey into middle-earth's past than with the tale of 'The Children of Hurin', but there are two things you should know before embarking. 1) The story is a tragedy of epic proportions so be prepared for much heartache and hardship and 2) It is not 'The Lord of the Rings', in fact the story takes place a few millenia before those events.
Middle-earth's history may seem like a sprawling and confusing mythology at some times and it can be easy to get lost in the massive laberynth of detail, but if you can piece it together, starting with this book and working your way outwards to works like 'The Lost Tales' and 'The Silmarrilian, then you'll be greatly rewarded for the effort when re-reading 'The Lord of the Rings' as the knowlegde you have gained will lend such a depth of history and meaning to all of the charachters, races, places and events that made that book so very timeless in the first place.
You might not need it but this vast history is there, in every page of 'The Lord of the Rings', it is what makes it's heart beat so strongly.
All you have to do is choose to take the harder road.