Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Children of Hurin, Not Dead Enough, One Step Behind

My latest reads are The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkein, Not Dead Enough by James Patterson, One Step Behind by Henning Mankell and Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler

The Children of Hurin is the Pre-History of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It tells the story of the lord of Dor-lómin's, Hurin's, children. Hurin is captured by Morgoth, who is similar to Sauron in the LotR trilogy. Morgoth tries to break Hurin, but cannot and susequently curses Hurin's family. Most of the book is about Hurin's son, Turin, who is a proud, but upright man, who, either through curse or pride, brings death and sadness to those around him. Everything he touches goes well for a time, but then goes wrong. Often, this is a result of Turin's poor judgement, but it is implied that it's the curse at work. Turin is constantly going in quest of one thing or another, but keeps changing his goals as he wanders through Middle-Earth. Perhaps his greatest failing is lack of constancy and direction. Had he stuck to one goal or another instead of constantly changing his mind and fleeing from his problems, he might have spared himself and his family much pain. The book itself reads like a cross between the Bible and a Greek Tragedy. It's a fairly dark book, but enjoyable all the same. I listened to this rather than read it, but think it might have been better to read it in print what with the elvish influence on the language. I might go back and read it one day, just to give myself a better grasp of the novel.

Not Dead Enough is a crime/mystery novel along the lines of Ian Rankin's works. It centres around a man whose wife is murdered in their own home. The next victim is a friend of his, with whom he is alleged to have had an affair, but of which he knows nothing. To say more would give the story away. It is a good read though. Not quite as good as Rankin's books, but high enough up on my list to warrent reading more in the series. I wish I had started with the first in the series, but Audible doesn't have it (yes, surprise, surprise it's an audiobook). I will go back and start from the beginning though. It will give me something relaxing to read on a Sunday when I have time and can manage not to fall asleep after two pages.

Speaking of which, I just finished Henning Mankell's One Step Behind, which is out of the Wallander series. I enjoyed this one much more than the first in the series, Faceless Killers (also good, but not as good as this one). Another good crime/mystery novel, perfect for Sunday reading (yes, this one was an actual book).

I also recently finished Ten Second Staircase, another one of Christopher Fowler's Peculiar Crime Unit books. Again a good read. Very perplexing, as all the PCU books are, with comfortable characters and pleasent dialogue. His books are something of a cross between Agatha Christie and The X Files (more "Scully" than "Mulder"). This one had a rather ingenius solution which is acutally quite chilling if you think about it. Again, if I say any more, it will give the plot away. Another good Sunday read, although this was a weekend audiobook. Still, perfect for relaxing at the weekend.


Mari said...

i haven;t read any of Tolkien's books besides LotR and The Hobbit. the husband has, however, and loves them. That last book sounds intriguing. i love the XFiles. If similar I need to get myself a copy.

How are the Ian Rankin books? I was looking for books set in Scotland and these came up. Good book to take on my trip in July?

Jeane said...

I have tried reading a few Middle-Earth-History books of Tolkien's like The Silmarilion and the Book of Lost Tales, and the archaic bible-sounding language just did not work for me. Not at all fluid and reader-friendly like the works published during his lifetime.