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Not a book for everybody.,
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Silmarillion. (Taschenbuch)
It is impossible to give an objective rating to the Silmarillion. I have only met two kinds of people - the kind that thinks it's the best book ever written, and the other that says that it isn't even possible to read this thing. There is no middle ground ("Oh, a nice read"!), and you won't know which group you're in unless you read a few chapters - preferably, past the first few chapters.
It can't be compared to the Lord of the Rings, which is this book's main problem. People who have seen the movies and have fought their way through the books (very probably skipping "all those boring landscape descriptions") are often completely frustrated when they read the Silmarillion. There's a six hundred years war but little "action". There are hundreds of characters and very little dialogue.
The reason why so many people love this book nonetheless is that it just exudes history, a deep and rich history that Tolkien developed for around fifty years. It is the driving force behind Middle-earth and the heart and soul of Tolkien's legendarium. It is the bigger picture of everything of which even the Lord of the Rings offers only glimpses caught through a keyhole. Reading it, you can feel how much there is to a simple sentence, a sentence that has been revised and rewritten for so long that it's incredibly dense. If you allow yourself to dive into this book, you will find a whole world to dicover, a richly woven tapestry of myth and heroes and villains and love and betrayal, of hope and despair and endurance. The Silmarillion follows the storytelling tradition of classical and medieval myths - the Iliad, the Edda, the Mabinogion, the Beowulf poem. People who are not familiar with these will say that "it reads like the Bible!", probably because the Bible follows similar storytelling traditions, but it has nothing to do with it.
Unlike some of the above, the Silmarillion is driven by a vision and purpose from the very first sentence, which makes the reader embark on a truly epic journey if he's willing to - and if he is willing to follow this epic journey down sad paths to its bitter end.
It is the story of the creation of Middle-earth, the Valar (Powers) that govern and reign it, the creation of Elves, Men, and Dwarves, and, in the main part, the story of the Downfall of the Elves, who rebel against the Valar, and are driven out of the Blessed Realm and come to Middle-earth as exiles. Unable to return to Valinor and sworn to fight against Morgoth, the Dark Vala (to whom Sauron of the Lord of the Rings was only a servant), they wage a hopeless war against the forces of evil - and driven by a terrible oath, wage war upon one another as well.
Then follows the tale of the island of Númenor in the Second Age of the world, its rise and corruption and eventual fall, as well as the events leading to the destruction of the One Ring in the Third Age.
When you read this book for the first time, you will probably need to keep a thumb in the index of character names at the back of the book. Most of the people I know who love the Silmarillion have read it at least twice. But you *should* try it, and find out if you belong to the people for whom the Silmarillion *is* the greatest book in the world. If you have a love for old-fashioned storytelling and epic tales in the old traditions, there's a good chance that you will.