35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
The Macbeth of Middle Earth,
This review is from: The Children of Hurin (Hardcover)
Here is my perspective - I've read the Hobbit, seen the Lord of the Rings movies, passed on the Silmarillion (too complex) and have now read The Children of Hurin. So I am not a Tolkien expert with limitless tolerance for genealogical trees, but I enjoy Middle Earth.
As the title of the review suggests, The Children of Hurin is definitely a tragedy worthy of being compared to Shakesperean or Greek tragedies in its depressing finality. In considering the major novels covering middle earth, the dark tone of the Children of Hurin provides a nice balance to the lighthearted novel The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings trilogy falls in the middle with a mixed bag of good and evil, tragedy and triumph. So overall Children of Hurin is dark, but adds more breadth to the good and evil transpiring in middle earth.
When I sat down to read it, I felt like I was in for a treat of long lost history. We all know it is pieced together from J.R.R. Tolkien's drafts and notes - the preface makes this very clear. Nevertheless it is a wonderful read. Enhancing the mood of the novel, Tolkien's writing is an archaic style that makes the text seem as if it could have been passed down verbally and as old as the first age itself.
This work may be faulted for a lack of secondary character development and somewhat disjointed nature. I certainly did not mind the episodic nature of the work or the heavy focus on the main character, Turin. These characteristics added to the mystique of the book. If it had been a well-polished epic saga, it wouldn't have had the same feel.
Christopher Tolkien did an excellent job of assembling this novel for all of us to enjoy. Alan Lee's accompanying artwork is perfect in its reserved nature. I truly enjoyed the book and intend to read it again. I hope you will too.