I agree with master Clayborne. The sleevenotes of the book read as follows: That is not to say you have to like it, I'm just pointing out that it is not meant as a consistent, continuous narrative story, and so it should not be read as such. You either like it for what it is or you don't. Personally I like it. I agree that it can be difficult to keep track of everyone and it is dense by nature, but I find it interesting. The story of the creation at the start I think is really cool, and the way the valar interact with the elves, and how we get an overview of everything panning out according to the designs of Iluvatar (and sometimes not). It feels like I'm delving into an ancient, fabled tome. Thats just my view on the matter.