Book Review: The Massacre of Mankind: Authorised Sequel to The War of the Worlds by Stephen Baxter

The Massacre of Mankind: Authorised Sequel to The War of the Worlds by Stephen Baxter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Gollancz

Summary:   It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.
So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells' book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.
He is right.

Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist - sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins - must survive, escape and report on the war.
The Massacre of Mankind has begun

While I enjoyed the copious alternate history shown here to a point, I have to admit that isn't why I wanted to read this. I was all in on what humanity does when he Martians return to earth but when I'd arrived at page 250 and that still hadn't taken place, I was starting to become annoyed and frankly, bored. It's another hundred pages or so by the time the Martians actually show up to enact their plan and I had stopped caring very much and the book had lost almost all its luster with me. The tension had waned away for me and as the book is told as the narrator's retrospective, it's clear from the beginning that more or less, humanity fares well enough through the second ordeal.

Julia, as a narrator, came off as a bit bland and if not fully unremarkable, depressingly forgettable. The other characters were serviceable but I didn't much take deeply to them and sadly, none will stay with me.

Recommended if you're a die hard War of the Worlds fans, especially if you've been pining for a/any sequel. This is going on my "I thought as an officially sanctioned book, it'd be better but didn't live up to my expectations" list alongside the Sophie Hannah Hercule Poirot novels.

Many thanks to Penguin Random House for the review copy of this book so that I could share my views.

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