Tag Archives: The Silmarillion

The Best and the Worst of 2013

The year 2013 ended with my 23rd book read, which missed my initial target of 25 books.  But that’s okay.  I read some pretty long books last year.  This year’s target is 30 books.

In the past year, I rated nine of them a full 5 stars.  Why so many?  Well, I think I chose some pretty good books to read.  Many of them are popular and highly rated.  On the other hand, I did read two that I rated 2 stars.

So, I thought that I’d show you my top 5 books of the year and the worst of the year.  Let’s start at the bottom.

Worst of the Year

moonrush#23 – MoonRush

This book was set to be a fun one to read.  I was expecting an adventure, and I did get one.  However, it was plagued with problems.  The characters were unrealistic and cliche.  The science in this science fiction was so incredibly wrong, I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.  They got basic things wrong, including how to create artificial gravity with a spinning space station.  The narration was filled with terrible puns and conversational language.  Some people like it, but it wasn’t for me.

Top 5 of 2013

dune#5 Dune

Although this was written in the 1960s, I found it to be just as incredible to read today as it must have been back then.  I enjoyed this thoroughly.  It showed a distant future with some great world-building, an evolved culture, new religions, and more.  It also showed what it would be like to live in a high tech society without computers.  It’s definitely one of my favourites of the year.  But there are 4 more!

 

thegreathunt#4 The Great Hunt

The first book of The Wheel of Time didn’t get a full 5 stars, but this one did.  It came out quickly with a thoroughly enjoyable story.  The first book started slowly and was quite predictable, but this one was quick and had plenty of twists.  I have a feeling that this will continue to be a great story in future parts.  I really look forward to that.

 

 

silmarillion#3 The Silmarillion

This isn’t really a novel.  J. R. R. Tolkien created this as a kind of way to keep his mythology straight in his mind while he wrote Lord of the Rings, but what he has here is great.  I absolutely loved it.  It reads like a combination of history book and mythology book, and was in a way a kind of religious book.  It was the basis for the history of Middle Earth.  It wasn’t dry at all, and was utterly fascinating.

 

aclashofkings#2 A Clash of Kings

Last year, my number one book was A Game of Thrones. This year, the second book exceeded the first.  I liked it more.  But it only gets #2.  Why?  Well, you’ll see soon.  However, this book was a great one to read.  More death, more drama, more realistic war and politics.  It had everything I liked in the first book and made it even better.  It’s a big book, but it was a joy to read all the way through.  Can’t wait for the next part.

And the Best Book of 2013 Is…

redmars#1 Red Mars

This is the book I’ve wanted to read all my life.  I love space travel, I love planetary science, I love realistic stories about colonising other planets.  It was incredible to read.  A lot of research went into writing this book, and it shows.  Robinson made a great novel here, and I would love to see it made into a movie.  I’m looking forward to the second and third installments.

So, do you agree or disagree with my choices?  Leave a comment.

Book Review – The Silmarillion

silmarillionThe Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is an epic fantasy book based in the world of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It was published after Tolkien’s death and edited by his son Christopher.  What this isn’t is a novel.  It’s the history of Middle-Earth and Valinor from the creation of the world, and mostly about the First Age.

In this book, there are several tales: Ainulindale, the creation story; Valaquenta, the story about the Valar and Maiar; Quenta Silmarillion, the main story in this book about the Silmarils and the First Age of Middle-Earth and Valinor; Akallabeth, the story about Numenor; and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, which is self-explanatory.  Some familiar characters from Lord of the Rings appear, such as Sauron, Galadriel, and Elrond.  There’s a bit about Gandalf, and a very short bit about the Hobbits, naming only Frodo.  Basically, Tolkien considered The Silmarillion to be his most important work.

I went into this book knowing that it does not read like a novel.  It reads like a holy book and history book combined.  Tolkien used language that was poetic, as well as very descriptive.  This can turn some people off, so just be aware of this.

It’s difficult to describe the characters in the book, as they’re written as historic figures, so we don’t get a detailed account of what happens.  However, we do get to know their personalities and thoughts.  There is a lot of sadness and grief for many of them, as there’s a large amount of destruction and death.  It features all of the races from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, though only touches on the Hobbits and Gollum’s people.  There’s a vast number of characters, which can be hard to keep straight.  However, the genealogical tables and index really help.

Tolkien painted a vivid picture of Middle-Earth, Valinor, and Numenor in this book.  The history was extremely detailed and developed very well.  He developed languages for it, as he was a philologist and was very talented linguistically.  Included in this book are maps and a section on languages and pronunciation.  It’s packed with information.

I found this review a bit difficult to write, as it’s completely different than any other book I’ve read.  However, I thought it was beautifully done and absolutely fascinating.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s a Tolkien fan or really enjoys world building.

This gets a full 5 stars.  Great stuff!