Unfinished tales by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Out of all the posthumously published works of Tolkien, and this being the primary right after the Silmarillion, I have to admit it is the most interesting. We do get more expanded treatments of some of these tales in subsequent books, but all in all, the narrative structure of this tome is quite pleasing.
Why? It's written as actual stories. Not just excerpts, or not only just as excerpts, but as full-fledged stories in themselves, complete with all the storytelling conventions we are used to.
That is to say, it doesn't read super quick like Silmarillion, but full of detail and meat like LotR. I appreciated that little detail. :)
Of personal interest and joy, I absolutely loved the way this filled in so many of the blanks within the LotR stories, giving a much more detailed history of the Ring Wraiths, their creation, the Palantirs, the Maiar, (including such personages as Gandalf, Saruman, AND Sauron), the full histories of the Rohirrim, Gondor, Numenor, and EVEN the Wild Men!
There's a lot that was left out of the Silmarillion, and THIS HAS IT.
I'm not saying some parts could be classified in the OTHER category, such as the extended appendix at the end of LotR, only more so. Or the full damn concordance including an index of all terms, proper names and places with references to their original first-mentions. I.E., Silmarillion or LotR.
This work is an awfully necessary addition for any would-be scholar of Arda. I can't say if it beats the FULL The Return of the Shadow: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part One, The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two, The War of the Ring, or Sauron Defeated: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Four scholarly works, but for my poor, lazy-reading self, Unfinished Tales does a FINE job. :)
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