It's Good. Really.
When the sixth The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy
book was first announced, to be written by Mr. Eoin Colfer
, the fandom gathered their torches and pitchforks and proceeded to explode. To an enormous amount of readers, the fact that there would be a sequel to such a great and classic work, written by someone other than its great and classic author,
was something akin to high blasphemy. Not to me. When I read the news, the author, and the title, I felt pretty good. The way I see it, more
of something great is better than less
of it, and though there was certainly a cause for concern, I had faith that they'd picked the right man for the job. The job itself I never had a problem with.
Now, after having finished it all the way through, I feel pretty confident in declaring And Another Thing
a rousing success. Adams it isn't, that's for sure, but in saying that I'm referring to the style in which the book is written. This is a lot more structured than it used to be, with each plotline neatly tying up in the end and each of the Guide's asides marked for your convenience. If we're talking about quality, Adams it is.
The book is endlessly inventive and just as funny as any of its predecessors (well, except for maybe the second one; you can't beat that
), and most of the characters' personalities are written perfectly. The lone exception is Random, who became actively rude and vindictive, a stereotypical teenager, rather than a troubled and bipolar girl who nevertheless meant well. This one minor hiccup aside, when Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Trillian, and even old Wowbagger enter the scene, their familiar charm shines through at once. You know
Colfer also introduces two new characters. Constant Mown, the free-spirited offspring of Vogon Jeltz, is quite a laugh to read about, but the second, a sleazy, millionaire cultist named Hillman Hunter, is a bit more of a drag. He'll make you laugh here and there, sure, and as a character he's not so bad. But altogether too much time is spent following his efforts to run a cheese-worshiping cult off his Magrathean-commissioned, human-inhabited planet. After the first couple dozen pages, you'll start to wonder where Arthur Dent went to.
Overall, a fitting conclusion to the planet's finest comedy sci-fi. Four stars.