So, you ask, what is Jonathan doing rating a Tolkien book anything less than four stars? This is surely a heretical statement from an acclaimed Tolkien lover and one who has rated five stars for each of: [b:The Hobbit|5907|The Hobbit|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353852111s/5907.jpg|1540236], [b:The Lord of the Rings|33|The Lord of the Rings|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347257199s/33.jpg|3462456] and [b:The Silmarillion|7332|The Silmarillion|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1336502583s/7332.jpg|4733799]. Well, sad to say, I give this two stars because there's very little in here that I haven't already seen. And I don't mean this in a re-read sense.
This book is Christopher Tolkien's attempt to reveal the extent of his father's lifelong work to chronicle the history of Middle Earth. However I think that it was already done perfectly in what was released in The Silmarillion
and the tales chronicling Sauron and the ring. What this book ends up as is a rougher version of the Quenta Silmarillion (which you can already read in The Silmarillion in a much nicer, condensed format) with the addition of manuscripts (with notes) by J.R.R Tolkien on the destruction of Numenor alongside a time-travel tale he wrote as part of a dare with C.S. Lewis.
Frankly, the only thing I hadn't seen in this volume was the time-travel story 'The Lost Road'. And as it was only available to read in manuscript form and didn't really fit into any of Tolkien's work on Middle Earth neatly it was an interesting look at how Tolkien wrote drafts of stories, but not exactly a polished piece. I can't help but cynically state that in some ways its things like these that give the remaining works by Tolkien the 'published shopping list' feel. The feel that Christopher Tolkien is living off publishing every last manuscript he finds. Of course I see that Christopher Tolkien is perhaps trying to combat thoughts that he didn't reveal or edit properly when he had The Silmarillion
published in coming up with these separate books. However as mentioned I think the three main books already cover enough detail and in a nicely polished form.
I would recommend this only to someone looking into Tolkien academically or if you're a real die hard Tolkien fan. That said I think you could learn much more from biographies or the more polished and less disjointed Tolkien books out there. Two stars for an okay book, however I prefer The Silmarillion