Review: ‘And Another Thing…’ by Eoin Colfer
This might be the one and only book review I will write and publish on this site. I absolutely adore reading. I have read a lot of books, and I love recommending books to people.
However, when I picked up the newly released (October 2009) book, And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer, I felt the strangest urge to write a review on it.
Eoin Colfer is most famously known for his Artemis Fowl series which have been enjoyed by children and young adults alike.
The common (and rather annoying, in my opinion) misconception with his new book is that it is just another great reseller by him, much like The Supernaturalist. But no – these die-hard fans of Colfer need to learn a little something before they move on.
The book is the sixth book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, written by Douglas Adams. There were five books in the series, and prior to his death in 2001, Adams had ideas for a sixth book. Colfer was the one, given permission by Adams’ widow, to write the final book.
My expectations were happily met – I couldn’t think of anyone better to continue this wonderful series I am a huge fan of.
The book starts just where Mostly Harmless, the fifth book, left off. The fifth book was a tad poor, but that’s another story. The setting at the beginning gets you immediately – you’re in there and you’re set. After this it gets a little confusing as the story jumps to multiple locations. It’s a lot like watching a movie with flashbacks, so you have to think and engross yourself in the book quite a bit.
Colfer does a fantastic job keeping the personalities alive, especially that of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Arthur Dent seems a little more mature though, and his daughter Random has quite an outstanding personality. Colfer brings out the child in Random, and puts such a heartwarming personality to her, Arthur, and Trillian. In doing so, though, this seems to have become a focus theme in the novel, and Adams’ zaniness we are so familiar with seems to have been lost a bit in the intricate plot of And Another Thing….
The shifting back and forth between scenes is appropriately marked with gracious subheadings. Not the most desirable way of writing a story, and a tad different from Adams’ sudden and obvious shifts, but one way to add definition to a scene. Most of these scenes/sections tend to be pretty short from one to the other, creating some sort of flow like you might see in the scenes of a movie – as I mentioned earlier.
The “Guide Notes” (ie. notes from the Hitchhiker’s Guide itself) are useful, and make the book seem a little more realistic. Probably one too many interruptions with these guide notes, as they weren’t so evident in Adams’ writing but were included throughout the movie (I would critique that, but again, it’s another story).
The further “humanising” of the Dent family is really quite nice. It is in stark comparison to Zaphod’s craziness, making the ending not-so-climactic. The ending is slightly disappointing – in actual fact, it’s a little unexpected but still remains one of those possibilities in the back of your mind. Colfer certainly does a good job making me feel such pain for the character/s at the conclusion of the novel – thus, the humanising of the characters has seriously left me with more insight than laughter.
Speaking of laughter, while Adams tended to be a little long-winded with jokes and humour, Colfer gets it right to the point, which left me laughing out loud at some of the blatant remarks.
Colfer’s story has much more plot and much more thought. The story takes a while to settle and it really drags along. The book is about twice as long as the others in the series, making it out of place straight from the off.
Readers who are attached to Adams’ ways should give Colfer a chance – as a reader of both authors’ books I believe it is safe to say this is so.
Overall, a great book for lovers of Hitchhikers, maybe not so much for those who aren’t. It works alright as a standalone book, but be prepared to read it slowly, or read it again. You need full concentration on this one.