Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #6
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
Ahhh, I can't start with anything else except I should have known better. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is definitely in my top 5 favorite books I've ever written (perhaps even second, only to Timeline) and is definitely my favorite comedy of all time, but the sequels.... oh, my Lord, the sequels.
I once gave Restaurant at the End of the Universe a try. I think I made it about 50% of the way through before I had to give up. And even after that, my devotion to HG2TG was so great that even though I couldn't make it through Restaurant I went ahead and tried Life, the Universe, and Everything. I didn't even make it halfway through that. I think HG2TG was so great that a sequel never should have been attempted, especially not... five?
So after such horrible success with the others, why did I even pick this book up you may ask? Well, because of the name on the cover. My beloved Eoin Colfer, author of my beloved Artemis Fowl. I even read that adult novel he wrote, Unplugged or Plugged or something and while not nearly as good, it still had quite a few chuckles to it. So I thought hey, why not?
Well, in the beginning (or the end of the middle as this book is apparently set in), there are some one liners that definitely made me chuckle. Nothing quite as memorable as "So long, and thanks for all the fish" or as classic as a sperm whale and a pot of petunias, but still funny. But these one liners were not enough to carry the novel, and I soon found myself knee deep in a messy, thin plot with characters that - let's face it - have already been around the block before. Even Arthur Dent wasn't too excited about this go around, and I don't blame him.
I think the fundamental problem with the sequels to HG2TG is that the characters really weren't the memorable part of Hitchhiker's, and that's the part of the novel that the sequels cling to. What made Hitchhiker such as amazing masterpiece was the wit, and the randomness, and the snarky comments galore. And none of the sequels have even come close. With Hitchhiker, you didn't care that there was little to no plot and nothing really seemed to connect or make sense because it was so hysterical that it didn't matter. But none of the sequels have been able to match that humour, so the pitfalls that Adams was able to get away with in the original novel become so blazing apparent in the sequels. Colfer is guilty of this case as well.
By halfway through the novel, I was already glazing over the guide notes, just trying to make it to the end without quitting. I missed half of the "plot", but found I hardly mattered since even when I wasn't speed reading it made little to no sense at all. Thanks to the glossing over at parts, by the middle of the novel I caught fewer and fewer of the snappy, perhaps memorable one liners (if they even existed), which took the only good part from the beginning of the novel away and left me with the chore of having to finish it.
But, I will admit, I have finally learned my lesson. Don't panic! I will never again attempt a Hitchhiker novel other than the original, which I will continue to read over and over (and over and over) again.