This is a powerful and disturbing novel -- the tragic story of a man crippled by external misfortune and by his own proud and violent temperament. I began this book in paper format when it first came out but soon gave it up. I found the story to be grim and unappealing. I then decided to give Audible a try, and I'm glad I did. Christopher Lee's brilliant narration saved the book for me. He gives full justice to Tolkien's musical prose and The Children of Hurin carried me happily through several weeks of commuting. I have to say that the story is easier to take when split up into 20 minute chunks.
The text that we have was not completed by Tolkien, but was edited by his son from rough drafts and notes. This accounts for a lot. The novel is repetitious. In fact, it feels as if one is hearing the same story several times over. The same themes of heroism, followed by rashness and failure, occur again and again throughout the novel in slightly different episodes. And throughout, Turin, the hero, never seems to learn anything or to be changed by what he experiences. It occurred to me at the end, that perhaps what we have is precisely that: several attempts at the same short story, strung one after the other, rather than a complete novel with a fully realized narrative arc.
I suspect that if Tolkien had managed to finish the work to his liking, it would have been shorter, or more varied. It is one aspect of Tolkien's genius, evident in the Hobbit and the LOTR, that he never tells the same story twice. Every chapter of the Hobbit, for example, is not only a different adventure, but a different kind of adventure. That inventiveness is missing from The Children of Hurin. For this reason, I give the book only 4 stars instead of 5.
Nonetheless, I am glad that I bought this recording. Christopher Lee is first rate and the work is a masterpiece, albeit a flawed and unfinished one.
I have read many of the reviews and it seems that you will not like this book if a happy ending is essential to you. For me, happy endings are nice, but I dont need them to enjoy the story. I agree that you will enjoy this book more if you have read the Silmarillion-- oh darn, another great book to read... Personally, I prefer these tragic epics to the Ring & Hobbit series -- they are dense and complex and the characters stay with you -- these stories are facinating. The narration is a bit mello dramatic and the music is terrible, but it didnt bother me too much. This is a great winter book to read by the fire.
Wonderful book for Tolkien fans. Christopher Lee, who played Saruman, does a wonderful job narrating. A Tolkien fanatic in his own right his reading lends an almost palpable weight to the story, helped by how easily he reads Tolkien's imagined languages. Non-Tolkien fans or new readers may find this book difficult to follow at times and would be better served to start with his more well known works.
An excellent rendition of this newly-reconstructed tale. Tolkien fans should take note, however, that this recording does not include Christopher Tolkien's introduction or notes on the text. You'll want to supplement your listening with a print copy for these, as well as the map, geneologies, reference sections, and beautiful illustrations by Alan Lee.
someone got a clue! fabulous, perfect narrator, now please: the silmarillion, the ring "trilogy" and the whole tolkein corpus, unabridged and with narration of this quality, should mr. lee prove unavailable for the enirety of such a mammoth project. how can no one have done this yet?!
Christopher Lee's narration really makes this book accessible and enjoyable. His pronunciation of the difficult Elvish words is accurate and spry in a way. I love his different voices for the different characters, especially Morwen. His interpretation of her really adds to the listener's imagining of the character.
I have really enjoyed this book. I think Christopher Lee does an amazing narrating of the book, I highly recommend it!
Poet, Writer, Novice Planetary Scientist, Musician, Hooligan, Former Audience Guy, Protector of Stupid Princesses.
Having read "Unfinished Tales," I was familiar with this story already. Christopher Tolkien does a wonderful job with fleshing it out into a full novel. Christopher Lee reads it like only Christopher Lee can do. The only think I would have like better then having him read this story is if Christopher Tolkien had read it himself. I was very happy and now I'll actually have to buy the book while it is still in first edition. Go Christopher(s.)
If you want the true experience of Tolkein's genius, you need to read the Silmarillion, not the Lord of the Rings. This is an expansion of one of the tales from the Silmarillion, which deals with the great tragedies of Middle Earth eons before LOTR, and the epic battles between the stranded races of Humans, Elves and Dwarves with Morgoth/Lucifer. If you love true literature, not just modern trash, then this will bring great joy. Those who found this book difficult, need to read the Silmarillion, as you cannot possibly understand what is happening in the "Children of Hurin" without it. Highly Recommended.
This book requires the listener to be patient and skim over the alien sounding names. Eventually you gain an understanding of the characters and the story line. I have to admit it was a lot easier to listen to than to actually read as pronunciation was handled by the reader. Christopher Lee did a stirling job and presented a wonderful story in a appropriate and entertaining tone.