Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (John Carter #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good story and great characters
Cons: One section slowed things down
The Bottom Line:
Early sci fi tale
Still entertaining today
As you visit Mars

Barsoom is Calling

I seem to be one of the few who really enjoyed the movie John Carter last year.  After seeing it, I kept meaning to pick up the books, but it’s taken me this long to get to the first one, A Princess of Mars.  While the story was very familiar after seeing the movie, I enjoyed it.

When John Carter is being chased by Indians, he ducks into a cave in the territory of Arizona.  Only something strange happens to him there, and the next thing he knows, he’s on a different planet – Mars to be precise.  There he is partly captured by aliens.  But then he meets Dejah Thoris, a beautiful woman who is definitely a prisoner of the aliens.  Can he free them both before she is executed?

Of course, the book proves to be more complicated than that with various episodes as we travel from one location to another.  Most everything ties in to the overall plot, although one section seems to be pretty much on its own, slowing things down for me.  Once we got past that, things picked up again.

The characters are interesting, both human and alien, and I really came to care for many of them.  They helped draw me into the story and made me care about the outcome.

The language and writing style are a bit dated, but that’s hardly a surprise.  Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the story over 100 years ago, after all.  Still, it was readable.  If you try, you’ll find that you get into the story before you know it.

And as far as the book/movie comparison?  I could guess many of the plot points thanks to the movie.  However, there are some that aren’t in the film.  After all, no adaptation is completely faithful, right?  Still, the fact that I could guess broad plot strokes didn’t really bother me.  Things were different enough to still be entertaining.

So I’m glad I picked up A Princess of Mars.  I enjoyed it enough to consider getting the sequel.  Now, to find the time to read it.

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