'She' is a highly intelligent, well thought out story with a lot of unexpected twists. Ayesha, herself, is an incredibly powerful character and I mean that with the respect to the effect she'll have on the reader. One could believe that someone who has lived for more than two millennium would have acquired some powerful tricks and such is the case with Ayesha. Haggard doesn't dwell on her abilities but near the end of the book when she makes plans to leave her seclusion and rule the world the reader will believe it's no idle boast. Victorian age characters tend to be very flat and archetypal but Ayesha feels real. Having lived such a long life she has risen above normal ethics and even religion. The main character (Holly) attempts to have a religious discussion with Ayesha and although I suspect Haggard was sympathetic to the religious argument Ayesha ancient wisdom was such that Holly broke off the discussion on the premise that someone was going to lose the argument and it wasn't going to be Ayesha.
The beauty of Haggard's use of language is reason enough to read him, but he also knew how to tell a wonderful story. I hate plot summaries so I won't give one. But this is one of those books that just stays with you, lingers on in the mind long after you've read it, and never truly goes away.
Haggard didn't write throw-away fiction, "boy stories," or dime store "adventure": but his work is packed with deep moments of philosophy and life-reflection that make literary experiences truly beautiful. There are moments in his work that give me pause and I simply just have to put down the book and THINK for a bit. And I know that is exactly what he was going for.
The only remarcable feature of this novel is that, although written at the end of the XIXth century, its style is very modern. An easy read.
This provides an interesting look into the popular culture of the Victorian Age. Its literary merits...not so much; but its cultural merits and sheer entertainment value make it worth a read.
I’d read King Solomon’s Mines when I was 12 and first moved back to England and I didn’t like it at all. But decided I would give Haggard another go as sahra_patroness had recommended this one VERY highly and she and I have very similar taste in books so I thought I’d give it a try. It starts with a very interesting beginning; a young man is given an ancient text telling of a unique family history. The text itself is reprinted in two types of Greek and Latin and English. This was very impressively done. I have to say that after that I was rather disappointed. The author’s style is not really one I appreciate. He doesn’t have the charm of Scott or the emotional depth of Wells. The first half seemed a rather dull typical adventure story. When She finally did arrive it took me awhile to warm up to her. But about half way through the book I did get thoroughly hooked and found myself enjoying it greatly and longing to read the sequel. The old dead civilisation, the people buried beneath the mountain, the quest for immortality, the shades of grey morality, all added together to form a fascinating world and tragedy. It is slow going but worth reading for the last half. (Note to those who’ve already read it the torches were what finally convinced me what I was reading was pretty fantastic and not your every day fare!)...Continua