I got to cross another of the 30 books that I want to read by the time I turn 30 off my list, which puts me within spitting distance of the half way mark. This time it was with J.R.R and Christopher Tolkien’s Children of Húrin. Originally forming part of Tolkien’s Silmarillion and deals with some of the events of the first age of Middle Earth.
From the get go I must point out that this book is really only for the Tolkien completists out there, as it adds absolutely nothing to the stories of Bilbo and Frodo and their quests for dragon gold and property destruction respectively. It shows the rise of the world of men and how they are shaped by dealings with elves and dwarves as well as the malignant influence of the evil being Morgoth and the constant fear of his servants burrows into the hearts of men, shaping their actions and deeds.
If you were expecting a novel, this book is recounted more as an oral history of the Children of Húrin rather than a first person narrative. Most notably it focuses on Húrin’s son Túrin, and the story follows the boy from late childhood spent in the care of the elves to manhood in the company of outlaws (paralleling the life of Aragorn in the lord of the rings trilogy) right throughout the the course of his life. As a story set during the early days of Middle earth it is ok, however it really is reliant on a lot of knowledge of what has gone before and after, so if you haven’t read the Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings, Unfinished Tales, The Silmarillion, Beren and Luthien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and the 12 volume History of Middle Earth series, you may find yourself a little confused at times.
That being said the illustrations by Alan Lee were superb and really added something special to the feel of the work. But I don’t think it was enough to save it from itself.