Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth - J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien This is the first work that showed us how Tolkien's obsessive perfectionism was a double-edged sword. On the one hand it gave us the wonderfully deep world and implied distances of [b:The Lord of the Rings|33|The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347257199s/33.jpg|3462456]; and on the other hand it left us with a jumble of tales in various states of revision and development that had to be compiled by Tolkien's son Christopher into some form as [b:The Silmarillion|7332|The Silmarillion|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1336502583s/7332.jpg|4733799]...a jumble of tales that, if they had been finished, would have given us a truly staggering body of work. Just reading the fragment that makes up the entirety of "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin" makes me weep for what might have been. Given the chance to expand even half of the partial tales from _The Silmarillion_ into something equating the full treatment of the LotR would have been a wonder indeed.

Even given the incomplete nature of the works herein, the reader is greatly repaid the effort of reading them even though many tantalizing questions are left unanswered. We get perhaps the only significant view of the land of Numenor in the Second Age; intriguing glimpses into the nature of the Istari, the Woodwoses, and the Palantiri; and expansions on the background of the Third Age and the events that led up to both [b:The Hobbit|5907|The Hobbit (Middle-earth Universe)|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353852111s/5907.jpg|1540236] and the LotR.

A really amazing work and enjoyable read if you're a die-hard Tolkien fan.