Angela's Reviews > Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth

Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth by J.R.R. Tolkien
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Dec 21, 08

Read in April, 2007

For this, I interrupted my run through the unread Tanya Huff on my shelf--'cause all apologies to Ms. Huff and all, but Tolkien trumps her, and I'd gotten into quite the mood to check me out some of the Tolkien material I'd never read once I heard that The Children of Húrin was coming out. So I went and picked up a copy of Unfinished Tales to see what it had to offer.

If you're looking for a complete and cohesive narrative, this isn't it. Unfinished Tales is exactly what the title advertises--a collection of fairly well sketched out but never actually fully completed stories out of the Middle-Earth timeline. Some are more complete than others, such as the shorter version of The Children of Húrin which appears here. There's some good background material on Galadriel, and a fairly interesting tale of one of the Númenorian princes and the woman who wound up marrying him--and how she had to constantly fight with the sea for his attentions. Further on, you get some accounts of how the friendship between Gondor and Rohan arose, and even some basic notes on the palantirs.

Anyone who has a geeky sort of interest in how Tolkien put his world together will probably get a kick out of reading this stuff, especially any Tolkien fans who are themselves aspiring writers and want to get a better grasp of the sheer magnitude of the world Tolkien created. Be prepared for doing a lot of skimming, though. The pages are heavily footnoted, and the footnotes, written by J.R.R.'s son Christopher, are often paragraphs in and of themselves. There are also several lengthy introductions and appendices all over the place, making the book a lot more academic and formal in presentation than one might want for a light read. Three and a half stars on general Tolkien-loving principle, though half a star off for the dryness.
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