Audio: Martin Shaw is a great narrator for this book. His reading is clear and concise, and he translates the importance of certain events and people by the tone of his voice. I really enjoyed his narration.
(picture taken from Goodreads)
First Impression: This book reads a lot like the Old Testament of the Bible. You get all the parts about the creation of the world and the multitude of confusing names. Maybe the context is closer to Greek myths, but it's not exactly written that way. There's no cap on the story like, "And that is how the stars came to be;" it's a continuous line of evolving and interlinking stories. Although it's hard to keep all of the characters straight without their names listed in front of me (especially when some of them have multiple names), I'm enjoying the storytelling quality of the book very much. The shaping of knowledge and of the world through song is beautiful and unique. I wonder if this book is easier to understand if you've read Lord of the Rings? I've only read The Hobbit, and that was a long time ago. I guess I'll find out after I read the rest of them.
Conclusion: Tolkien was a fantastic author of epic fantasy. Even though The Silmarillion is hard to follow at times, it is a wonderful work of art. Tolkien weaves his tale around the reader so that I felt connected to the characters and their various stories. I felt the weight of each battle and death, as well as the joy of each celebration and creation of life. It seems so crazy that each tale...each character, even, is unique and memorable. I loved this and will probably need to re-read The Hobbit now before my maiden voyage through Lord of the Rings.
Recommendation: I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the creation and history of Valinor and Middle Earth, the settings behind Lord of the Rings. Also if you just enjoy an old English style of fantastical worlds and battles, this would be a good choice.