The Silmarillion
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Amazon rating
Critique Circle rating 
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date2004-11-15 (added to CC 12 May 2009)
Amazon Sales Rank13,694
The tales of The Silmarillion were the underlying inspiration and source of J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative writing; he worked on the book throughout his life but never brought it to a final form. Long preceding in its origins The Lord of the Rings, it is the story of the First Age of Tolkien's world, the ancient drama to which characters in The Lord of the RIngs look back and in which some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part.

The title Silmarillion is shortened from Quenta Silmarillion, "The History of the Silmarils," the three great jewels created by Feanor, most gifted of the Elves, in which he imprisoned the light of the Two Trees that illumined Valinor, the land of the gods. When Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, destroyed the Trees, that light lived on only in the Silmarils; Morgoth seized them and set them in his crown, guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth. The Silmarillion is the history of the rebellion of Feanor and his people against the gods, their exile in Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all the heroisim of Elves and Men, against the great Enemy.

The book includes several other, shorter works beside The Silmarillion proper. Preceding it are "Ainulindale," the myth of Creation, and "Valaquenta," in which the nature and powers of each of the gods is set forth. After The Silmarillion is "Akallabeth," the story of the downfall of the great island kingdom of Numenor at the end of the Second Age; completing the volume is "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," in which the events of The Lord of the Rings are treated in the manner of The Silmarillion.

This new edition of The Silmarillion contains the revised and corrected "second edition" text and, by way of introduction, a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1951, which provides a brilliant exposition of his conception of the earlier Ages. It also contains almost fifty full-color illustrations by the artist Ted Nasmith, many of which appear for the first time.

Member Reviews
(15 Oct 2017)
(22 Aug 2017)
(30 May 2016)
A must read for any Tolkien enthusiast. The Silmarillion is written in a style somewhere between a history book and the Bible. For those who do not like slower works, this may not be for you. However, the writing style is beautiful and magnificent. Never before have I read a book such as this.
(13 May 2014)
Tolkien is a master writer - so much so that reading this is no longer fun. Many reviewers have said "It reads like a history book." I disagree - its more like reading the Old Testament. That's what Silmarillion is, The Lord of The Rings Old Testament. The story is interesting as any of the other books Tolkien wrote but 10X as painful to trudge through. If you are a die-hard fan of LoTR and Tolkien - it's a must read. If you're not ready to break out a notebook and pencil to take notes while reading - leave this book alone.

I give Tolkien 5 stars for his imagination and biblical writing ability, and I give the book (from a modern standpoint) 1 star. If this book were written today it would never be published - it just starts way too slow and feels like you're at Sunday School taught by a highfalutin Elf.
(8 Feb 2013)
For the true Tolkien fan. The book is amazing and told in the tradition of Greek and Norse mythology. The book is more than a casual read, it's a study. I loved every page.
(5 May 2011)
(15 Mar 2011)
(15 Mar 2011)
Tolkien's masterpiece The Silmarillion reads like a history text book—with elves, dwarves, dragons and demons clashing in wars of cosmic proportions. There isn't a single traditional narrative structure here. It's more of a chronologically arranged collection of closely related and overlapping stories. For an avid fan of The Lord of the Rings, this is a must read. And it answers most of the unanswered questions raised by LOTR.
(21 Jan 2010)
(20 Dec 2009)
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