Tales Before Tolkien Book Review

Random Rae's picture

What comes to your mind when I say, "Epic fantasy stories" ?

One name.. J.R.R. Tolkien, the writer of Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The guy who gave life to the Hobbits, the Shire, Mordor, Saruman, Gollum and so much more iconic characters that even our grandchildren's children will know about.

But.. Have you ever wondered what were the iconic stories before he wrote the trilogy? Then this book, will come to mind.

Tales Before Tolkien is a compilation of classic stories that may or may not have inspired the author of The Lord of the Rings. The book comes with 22 stories written by various authors from the 1800s, each with themes that are similar to the Tolkien style of writing or setting.

It is an interesting read, because you would feel that you are transported back to Tolkien's place, as if you were this schoolboy/girl that are reading the "bestsellers" of your time. It is a book filled with diverse subjects with one recurring theme, fantasy. The book contains a foreword from J.R.'s son, Christopher Tolkien with bits of stories that would let you in J.R.'s life. And at the first page of every story, there is a little introduction.. story of the author, and how it might have influenced Tolkien.

The stories are written by different well-known authors of their time, Andrew Lang, George MacDonald, James Cabell, Arthur Machen and many more. Some of the stories include: The Golden Key, Puss-Cat Mew, and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. My favorite story would be Black Heart and White Heart by H. Rider Haggard. The setting was in South Africa, Tolkien's birthplace. A story of love and war. I know.. I know.. The topic, "love and war" , is one of the most basic foundations/plot of a story but the setting and the story itself is entirely different.

The stories are entertaining in themselves, and if you're a fantasy theme buff, you would like this separately from the trilogy as well. Some of the stories are recommended for kids too! (Just read it to them with parental supervision, as some of the settings are a bit violent.)

And for our generation, this is also a good way to learn about Old English and/or difficult/rarely used words in our dictionary. *wink*

I do feel sad, because most people would buy this because of the name on the cover. (Thus, the huge font size for his name on the front.) I bet I can get this at a cheaper price if this did not have his name on it. This book should be read, even without it. Nevertheless, we cannot deny the success of this market strategy.
You can easily download the book in Amazon and/or from bookstores near you for the printed word. And if you've read this book, drop by the comment box below and tell me what you think! =)

'Till next time~! :)