Nobody asked:

I know that this is a respected classic, but I didn't find it very enjoyable to read. It lacked a certain something. Am I the only one who felt this way?

To answer questions about The War of the Worlds, please sign up.
Amazingbollweevil When I read people complain that this book is .... uh, lacking or something, I can't help but shake my head in disappointment. The story is one of survival in the face of overwhelming opposition. The protagonist is totally helpless as he watches his civilization be destroyed by monstrous invaders. He's no hero trying to save the day, but an everyman just trying to get by. This story is now an archetype, having inspired countless other novels and movies and television episodes. Because you have seen these later stories, you already know how this novel will go, so it's no wonder there are no surprises.
Daniel Por
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Kay I felt the same way their was no Ta da moment, just constant dribble. I found it very hard to finish took me weeks.
Josie No, you are not. There are plenty of classic titles of similar vintage that are far more enjoyable; War of the Worlds is just tedious.
Stuart Bushell Actually I must come to the defence of the book. It was my very first novel I'd ever read and it was Jeff Wayne's musical version that led me to get the book from the library. I've read it since and I find the ideas relating to colonialism and Empire more relevant and the fact that we have a superior race inflicting war on an inferior one through 'land grab' fascinating. No it's not a Jerry Bruckheimer Hollywood extravaganza but in my mind the better for it.
Marian I feel the same way . I am working on the "1001 Books..." list – I've read many, many books that it doesn't come naturally to me to just choose off of a shelf, and have enjoyed most of them -- but this one felt like a bit of a chore . Reading The War of the Worlds brought me minimal to no real enjoyment and took much longer than it should have.
Kevin Varney I know what you mean. Nevertheless, it must have been explosive to read when it first came out.
William Wehrmacher I listened to the book and found it very engaging. Clearly, a narrator can either add or detract from the book itself. I must admit that I somehow wished I had not seen the 1953 movie. While the movie sticks to the main themes, it casts it in that era with the weapons available at that time. As in so many cases, I liked the book better than the movie, although I quite liked that particular version.

Someone suggested below that the story is about British imperialism, while I don't see that, I guess it could be a treatise on the folly of arrogance. I think it is about the relative strength of the tiniest of creachers and mankind, or martian-kind for that matter.

So, Nobody. I recommend you finish the book, or listen to it. I got a copy from my local library's digital collection. I expect you will enjoy it and understand why it is a respected classic.
My No. And because I´ve been on a sci-fi reading period (and I´m only reading classics), I really think that there are better classics to read.
Chuck Miller As I stated in my review of The War of the Worlds, I was greatly disappointed. I found it a tedious work that lacked a gripping conclusion and one that failed to make me care much about the characters of the story. While the work had some interesting portions, overall it was a lackluster experience.
shaili i feel like i'll just end up summarizing opinions, but here's what i thought:

majority of the first part of the book, was filled with just 'waiting for it to get exciting.' (also, random brother anecdotes. why?)

i like to think the second part picked up pace, or at least piqued my interest. characters got more interesting, and the martians were given faces to their personalitites.

the ending, opinionatedly, is the major deciding factor in how people perceive this book. was it ingenious that microbes killed the martians, or was it merely a lacklustre ending? i prefer the former, but it is arguable, to say the least.
Melinda Lilly So, I'm not finished with it yet but I am getting really annoyed at the repeated juxtaposition related to the chaos of what was happening and then how people/nature carried on with business as normal. After the first couple of examples, I got it. I'm not sure if this is a literary style or the way people wrote back then or what but it is really annoying me. I'm finding myself scanning past these descriptions of anything besides action. I used to do the same thing with Koontz.
Kalin I saw the movie first and I was expecting at least some action and character development. A majority of the story felt like a textbook.
Jules.Bookverse I totally agree with you! It was repeating descriptions all over and they were sometimes way too long.
Emily No you're not alone, I just finished it and I didn't feel as engaged as I thought I was going to be.
chris fidler I read this a little while ago and I don't remember it being boring or tedious. I did totally forget that it was written pre-WWI though, because it really felt like a metaphorical look at the modernization of war in the early 20th century. So, everything I based my experience with the book on was incorrect. I guess I'm saying I have no idea why I liked it so much.
Laura No! I felt the exact same way. When I started reading it I was expecting some action but at some point of the book I felt like the story was going nowhere! It was extremely tedious. I liked The Invisible Man better, maybe because it was less complex...
Nicole Cenkova I felt the same as some parts of the book were unnecessary - like the chapters with the brother of the main character. I have read some of Wells' other books and I can truly say they're amazing, yet this one was a bit disappointing.
Phil Rigby
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Mel Foster Don't tell Wells, but I like Jules Verne better! HAHA!
Kyle Took me over a year to read, and I had to do audio to finally reach the end
Laura Lynn
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Peter Vari What I think this book lacks is a climax. It's very flat, no ups and downs, just the protagonist narrating what he sees. The first person narrative and that the descriptions are so long and repetitive makes it sometimes uncomfortably boring. The phrase "My brother" had me desperate in certain parts.

However, we cannot ignore that at the time it was written, the pain and emotions of the characters were greatly emphasized. I didn't find it entertaining but I did find it interesting. "SPOILER" The reason that brought the invaders to an end, was undoubtedly what I liked most about the novel.
Hannah Yes! Dialogue. Literally dialogue. Not read anything in a while with such a dearth of direct quotations, and near-pure reported speech apart from one segment near the close. The writing and concept are still formidable but I found the cumulative effect suffocating, like wading through treacle. Being charitable, this may be as Wells intended?
Greg Nobody, I get how you feel. For a while, we had no earthlings to care about. But then other people get involved, so I liked the last half very much.
Ami There felt like a lot of filler in the middle of the book.
Petra Hyklova
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Gaby I just finished Reading it and i felt the same way. Maybe my expecattions were too high, as a classic I thought it will be at least enjoyable.
Natalie I'm feeling the same and came here to see whether others felt the same. I'm listening to an audio version so I wasn't sure if that was causing the issue. It's hard to stay focused listening to the endless description of random people and I wasn't sure if it was about the narration style. I keep finding I have to rewind my audio by five minutes because I tuned out! I'm about half way through and I will finish. Glad to hear that his other books suited people better as I bought the set.
Vincent Lombardo No. I did not like it and abandoned it.
Image for The War of the Worlds
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more