Book Review: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Reading a book like A Princess of Mars you have to make certain allowances.

The story is almost 100 years old and pre-dates science fiction as an estab­lished genre and it was written in a pulp style. Inevitably the tone and refer­ences are dated. Addi­tion­ally some of the elements which would have seemed bold and orig­inal at the time now appear heavily over-used.

It might be tempting to rate the book more highly for its huge signif­i­cance and influ­ence on the sci-fi genre, but that is really a sepa­rate issue to how enjoy­able the story is itself.

It’s certainly an easy read, moving quickly from adven­ture to adven­ture and keeping its hero in peril. But even the quick pace can’t disguise the flaws. 

There are just a few too many coin­ci­dences. A few too many times when John Carter is able to casu­ally get himself into just exactly the right loca­tion or have just exactly the right conver­sa­tion. And those story flaws are hard for me to ignore.

So in the end I come away from the book dissat­is­fied. I see the elements of what made me love things like Flash Gordon here. I recog­nize it’s signif­i­cance, that it pre-dates so many of the things I like.

But in the end I couldn’t connect with the “perfec­tion” that is John Carter and while the world is described in consid­er­able detail, I found the char­ac­ters largely one dimen­sional and just could not connect with it the way I had hoped.

Link: http://​amzn​.to/​R​r​2​lQX

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