Review of A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I know I usually post on a Wednesday and Saturday but yesterday was International Outer Space day, as such I thought it would be timely to review a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Happy International outerspace Day,  selfie in space

I have read this book previously but it is one of those books you can read and reread and in some cases it is just as deliberately unintelligible as the first time you read it.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams book cover,

The forward written in my version by Russell T Davies, highlights how much of a phenomena the book, and radio series was at the original time of release. He likened it to Harry Potter. As a member of the Harry Potter Generation was initially shocked to read this. However the book has stood the test of time and while some elements of the story do age the book slightly…£5 for six pints, or the mentioning of cassette players and digital watches, the plot and humour contained within its pages are still relevant today.

The book explores a vast number of things but in my humble opinion the over arching theme of the book is the needing to know the reason that we exist. A variety of absurd actions occur throughout the book and in a number of cases completely inexplicable things occur.

The book explores human’s self importance. Imagining that we are the only species to have achieved space travel in the galaxy is at the least statistically unlikely. It highlights the insignificance of a single life, while also showing that one life can make a massive difference. Humans are shown to be one of the more selfish and self-important species (which considering the Vogans is saying a lot!).

The descriptions that Adams uses often brings a smile to my face at the minute detail he is willing to describe. Conversely in some places Adams doesn’t describe at all he just names some made up species which you have no reference for what they could possibly look like (like the most intelligent shade of blue?!) but simply allows your imagination to take over. The imagery that is produced is very strong.

If you haven’t read this book before, please be aware that this book is in places laugh out loud funny, which can be a little awkward on your lunch in the office.

This book is a great read, if you are looking to dip your toe into the Sci-fi genre, as it is light enough for you to find enjoyment, even if you decide that Sci-fi is not for you.

I will add that the sequels are equally baffling and humourous, so if you enjoy this one there are four more parts to the trilogy for you to try.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I will give this a solid four stars. It was enjoyable, but I was happy to pick up the next book on my list wihtout wanting to read the rest of the series.

3 Reasons Twlight is Overhyped

In my previous post I wrote about a series that I thought was underhyped (if you want to read it you can do so here). Today I want to write three reasons I think Twlight was overhyped.

Now don’t mistake me I have read it and I did so when Twlight was being read by everyone. Now I did enjoy it the first time I read it however I have looked back on it and settled on three reasons to not read it again.

1. Poor Quality Writing

As someone who reads a lot, and someone who writes in their somewhat limited free time I have learnt that there are vast differences between a story well written and one which needs a bit more added to it. There are areas within the book that now drives me crazy, and I can tell you with complete honesty that I have read fanfiction with better writing than the writing in this series.

There are so many books in the world which are of a higher writing standard for you to choose from, and for this reason alone I will not be picking up Twilight again.

2.Lack of Character Development

The driving factor of your books should be your characters. An common challenge for some writers during Nanowrimo is that the characters decide to do something completely off the plot that they have carefully plotted. I personally have had this issue.

That does not feel that this was the case in Twlight. The characters feel one dimensional, and while through out the series you learn about the characters and this helps to inform as to why they act certain ways. The characters do not seem to change in any way.

While I understand that the Vampires would be fairly stuck in their ways, the other characters which are younger do not seem to change at all, which should be the case when writing about teenagers.

3. Unsatisfactory ending

I enjoy watching films and reading stories which mainly have ‘happy endings’ though that is probably because I tend to cry easily. I have no problem with the characters having a happy ending (though living forever is a double edged sword).

The entire final book is geared towards a battle. The building of tension. It was all geared towards a battle. Which didn’t happen. I was geared up for a little cry (not that I really cared for most of the characters due to the lack of development) but there was nothing. The last book just felt like a whole of of nothingness. Nothing to hang your hat on. No blood shed or character deaths, something that would have prevented it from being a perfect ending for everyone. It shouldn’t have been. Something should have happened.

Do you have an overhyped series? Why did you not enjoy it?

My Favourite Under-hyped Series

Every reader, gamer and film watcher has their favourite series. For me growing up my favourite was certainly Harry Potter. As I have discovered more and more series, I have had a few new series to add to my favourites list, most of which you will have heard of.

Today, however, I wanted to write about a series that I love which I don’t think gets enough recognition. This may be because it did not become a worldwide phenomena but if you are looking for a good read to get your teeth into this might be a good one.

book covers of Skulduggery Plesant  by Derek Landy

The first book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy, is aimed at readers aged 11+ but don’t let that put you off, after all Harry Potter is aimed at a similar age range and most people love that!

The plot follows a Skeleton Detective and his human side kick who gradually learns to do magic. The books are filled with twists and turns, action and a side dish of humour. As the series goes on the plot gets gradually darker and more and more about the characters are revealed.

I love this series because of the way it is written and the unexpected twists and turns. The characters are well developed and the world that is built, is added to ours in a similar way as Harry Potter or the Shadowhunters world.

If you enjoy young adult fantasy series you should give this one a try. Plus as a bonus the first series is complete so if you find you do love it you can at least read all of it, waiting for the next one is one of my biggest pet hates.

Interestingly while I was researching this post I was pleased to discover that there is a second series which will probably at some point make an appearance as a review on here.

What is your favourite read that isn’t very popular? Why do you love it?

Review of City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

I know I said that I would be changing the fandom I was reading about but that didn’t go as planned…I reverted to the Mortal Instruments Series. One of the reasons for this is because I have been reading three books at once… meaning that when it came time for me to post I didn’t have a review ready to go, so I picked one of my ongoing books and committed to it.

I read about half of it in one day which is a lovely way to read a book, it is why I tend to read so many books when I go on holiday.

Book coverof City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare, book four of the Mortal Instruments series

From the start of this book, it was clear that Simon was going to play a bigger role in this part of the series than he had previously. The start of the book shows Simon sitting in a restaurant, waiting for a date. I felt that the start of the book is slow and I was tempted to put it down and concentrate on something else but after a few chapters the tempo starts to increase, and before long it felt like I was being dragged along a placid looking river by a dangerous current.

The book continues to look at good verus evil, and the moral challenges that you can face, in Simon’s case he doesn’t want to feed on human blood but it is made clear in the story that fighting against nature can be useless… like me not reading this book….

There were a number of twists and turns in the plot which I did not predict unlike within the previous three books, and as each is revealed the tension that the author manages to build gets just a little bit higher.

I was very impressed that in a specific scene the setting really reflects the mood of both romance and despair, regardless of the fact that the two scenes were written in the same setting. I felt it was a very cleaver bit of writing.

In this book I started to really relate to Isabelle’s character. I love how sarcastic and sassy she is and that she is a strong female, who while she is happy to have ‘girl’ talk, she is just as comfortable with her weapons in her hands. You also get a better glimpse into Jace’s character and how despite his arrogance you start to understand that he is hiding his insecurities, which in my opinion make him much more rounded and likeable.

I also enjoyed reading a little about Magnus Bane’s background, and it highlights just how sad it could be to live forever, to see all your loved ones pass away and be the only one remaining.

I like how the author builds tension slowly but effectively, making the reader want to read on, pulling you into the ever darkening world filled with deamons and the creatures of nightmares.

I really enjoyed this book and would give it four stars. Now I may well have to finish the series before I move on to a standalone or a different series.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read this what do you think of it?

5 Reasons I love Young Adult Literature

I can no longer say that I am the target audience for young adult books, and if I am being honest… I haven’t been for a while. However that has not stopped me from reading a high number of YA novels over the past months, or years. In truth is it probably the vast majority of content that I consume.

5 Reasons to love reading young adult literature

There are a number of articles complaining about these books which are flooding the shelves but today I am going to write my top five reasons why I love young adult literature.

1. Easy to Read

I often read to escape into a different world. A world where I don’t have any deadlines, or house chores. I want to be fighting monsters, or be the world’s best assasin. I want to be surrounded by the biting cold wind in the middle of summer (preferably on a sun lounger complaining to my long suffering partner that I am too hot) or battling through a stormy sea while hiking up a mountain. I do not want to try and decipher difficult or words rarely used. The vocabulary used within these books is more often than not well within my grasp. This helps me to immerse myself in the story.

2. Shortness

While I don’t seem to manage to find masses of the shorter YA books, they are on average a little shorter than the books aimed at adults. When you have committed to reading 40 books in a year like I have in my 2020 Aims it is helpful to know that the books have your back if you start to fall behind.

Now if only I could find them rather than the 450 page epics that I tend to pick up….

3. Tackles serious issues

Most of these books will tackle things that can be difficult to talk about or discuss. Highlighting challenges that teenagers are often dealing with. You can have a character clearly trying to hide their homosexuality, worried about how those around them would react, or struggling to deal with their changing friendships.

All of this is usually interwoven with strong character development allowing the readers to feel empathy for the characters and can allow the reader to see these challenges from another’s point of view, if you haven’t been through them.

4. Relatable

A lot of these stories have a coming of age element tied within the plot. Something the reader has either done or at least is going through it. I can still relate to the characters finding it difficult to transition from a teen to an adult.

Going through the different levels of ‘adulting’ can be daunting. Having your first full time job, paying your rent, your first driving lesson, or your first legal drink. All of these things seemed daunting at the time but now they are second nature, is doesn’t prevent you from relating to the characters and in some cases understanding more than you did when you were going through it.

5. Entertaining

At their core the reason that YA books are well read and enjoyed by a large number of people is that they are ultimately entertaining. I continue to read them because they are often attention grabbing, amusing, heart racing stories. Stories which once I have started them I do not want to put down.

Do you Agree? Do you have any other reasons you would like to add to my list? Let me know in the comments below.