"A room without books is like a body without a soul." - Cicero

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

1866 Arizona, Confederate officer John Carter, Gentleman of Virginia, forever aged 30, wakes naked on Mars. Low gravity increases his speed and strength exponentially, so he impresses green alien Thark captors with fighting, wins high rank. He frees Dejah Thoris, Princess of red men in Helium, only to lose her to the Prince of opposing red Zodanga.


Normally I wouldn't have picked such an old tale to review but curiosity had taken the better of me when it came to this review. The book was released 97 years ago but it is an amazing tale. I became aware of it about five years ago when a Friend of mine mentioned a movie being released based off of the book. The movie is called John Carter of Mars. Now usually when it is a book to movie I read the book first of course, then watch as they brutally murder the literature on screen in movie form. This time was different because I had watched the movie first and LOVED it. So I had decided to take a chance with the book. Now that I have read it, I realize the movie itself is TRASH compared to the book. I knew that was going to happen. I can see how the movie was not rewarded a sequel. It wouldn't have done the tale justice. For those who have not read the book or heard of the tale of John Carter or A Princess of Mars, it is a story of a man who finds himself suspended in limbo near his body in what we as people can only closely compare to having an out of body experience; while a copy of himself, or his soul, or his being, gets slingshot onto Mars. He finds himself there for a course of ten years where he fights numerous battles with green men, Tars Tarkas, and wins the heart of a very beautiful red princess, Dejah Thoris.

What is cool about his experience on Mars is that he discovers he possesses almost a superhuman ability to jump impossible distances and has the brute force of a freight train. Its all due to the difference in gravity between Mars and Earth. Because of it, his muscles give him an unmatched advantage on mars.

I had so much fun reading this and experiencing John Carter learn the customs of a world that would only seem strange to us and thinking to myself, "Dude, he's only human." and then laughing at the irony of that statement. I would deem the book as an adventure piece. Not a lot of romance, nor murder or suspense, but TONS of action. When you find yourself immersed in the story, you get the feeling that you are right next to John Carter as all of these things are happening to him, and you feel sometimes as though you are goading him to do well. Overall the book was very entertaining. It reminds me of something that would have been read to little boys before bed. I can see this book on a shelf next to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Treasure Island and Gulliver's Travels easily. No wonder it's a classic. As a geek, it's a must read if you haven't already.

I give it 4 Stars. I would have given it 5 but as a new age literature reader, there were certain figures of speech that I didn't quite understand and certain contexts that were used that are not practiced in today's writing that slowed me down a little in the reading process.

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