Friday, October 28, 2016

Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #2
Published January 1st 1980 by Pan Books

Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbability and desperately in search of a place to eat.
Among Arthur's motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and expert contributor to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who's gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android who suffers nothing and no one very gladly. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.
Will they make it? The answer: hard to say. But bear in mind that the Hitchhiker's Guide deleted the term "Future Perfect" from its pages, since it was discovered not to be!
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is the sequel to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and picks up right where the first book left off. I was pleased with that because the first book left off with a promissing new destination being put out - namely heading out to this restaurant at the end of the universe - and I was really curious if the characters would indeed go and what would happen once they got there.

Plot-wise, this instalment was similar to something you'd see on Doctor Who - something that didn't come to mind when I was reading the first book. I know that Douglas Adams penned some Classic Who episodes so it makes sense.  There was a trip to the actual end of the Universe, time-travel, lots of different alien races and a fair share of hijinks with some good old fashined nonsense mixed in for good measure.  The plot tends to be quite random in this series so you just kind of have to go with it and have fun with it, which I did for the most part!

Character-wise, the story seemed more focussed on Zaphod Beeblebrox, instead of Arthur and Ford -especially for the first half. I actually prefer Arthur and Ford so I found myself missing them in this instalment, even though Zaphod is fascinating in his own right. It's just that Zaphod is incredibly alien, even more so than Ford so it's a challenge to relate to his character. The commeradery between Arthur and Ford seemed overlooked too during the first half but then it went back to being front and center for the last half and I was glad for it. They're an unlikely pair, a true odd-couple but I enjoy their dynamic.

For some reason, I felt less invested in the story this time around - I'm not sure why but it might have been a mood thing. I've been on a pretty serious book hangover these past few weeks and I haven't been able to pick up a single physical book. If it wasn't for this book^^ I wouldn't have been reading at all. Lukily, these books are relatively quick reads so I didn't feel like I was struggling at all, just the connection to the story was a bit lacking.

However, this instalment was narrated by Martin Freeman and usually I'd bitch about the narrator switch but it's Martin-fucking-Freeman.  He actually played Arthur Dent in the film adaption of the first book so naturally, he had Arthur's character down perfectly.  I liked how he did Ford, Trillian, Marvin and all the new characters, but I wasn't a fan of his take on Zaphod - mostly because I got used to and really liked how Stephen Fry portrayed him but I got used to the change quick enough :)

Despite a few minor issues which were mostly personal preference things, I'm still having a lot of fun with this series.  It's still laugh-out-loud funny, it's still deliciously random and it's still one hell of an adventure!  I can't wait to see what's in store next for this bunch of misfits.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

5 comments:

  1. This makes me want to get back to these books. I've probably mentioned before that I started Hitchhiker but never finished, just got sidetracked and never went back. I've been meaning to and maybe audio would be the way to go. This sounds like a fun sequel and I really want to read these.

    Great review! I love that cover too...

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    1. Yes you did and I really hope you'll get back into the series soon so we can chat about it :D It was a really fun sequel, I can't wait to see where the series will go from here!

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  2. Gosh I read these so long ago so I barely remember anything, just that they were super random but super fun haha. Great review!

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  3. Good to hear you enjoyed this one overall despite it not being as good as the first one. I'm def going to have to check out the series on audio if it has Stephen Fry and Martin Freeman as narrators!

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  4. Ooo... This is another series I need to just get to, Micheline! Not sure why it is that I haven't read Hitchhiker, because it's definitely my kind of book, and it's been on my shelves forever!
    Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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