“The Day of the Martians”, authored by H.E. Wilburson and narrated by both Terry Thompson and Harry Preston, is a continuation of the events that occurred in H. J. Well’s “War of the Worlds”. Those who are familiar with the work of H. G. Wells, believed that all the aliens had been destroyed at the end of the book. However, this was not the case as a newly discovered alien cylinder was discovered a decade later. This short book takes listeners on this new journey. Not only this, but we learn that around the same time, an astronomer discovers an approaching invasion army and the planet has only a limited amount of time to come up with a plan to defeat it. The world is given only one chance and one hope to see if their plan is successful or not. Success means all the planet lives, and failure means humankind is destroyed. For me, the book has too many flaws to be a solid recommendation. If you enjoyed “War of the Worlds”, you may find this book interesting, yet I found it lacked much of what made the original story unique. I will say that based on other reviewers, I may be the minority in my thoughts and criticisms, so take this into consideration.
Let me get a few things out of the way up front in this review. Because I was reviewing the audiobook edition only, the sound effects and music often was found to be on top or over the actual narration. These elements need to be behind and are only there to augment or enhance the story, not replace it. In this book, both were front and center which made listening difficult and unenjoyable for me. I am not a person who wants no sound effects in my narrations, but I want them to be subtle and at times unnoticed until the book is completed. Only then do I remembered they were there and am amazed how they made the story great. Secondly, the book was very short at just over two hours of audio. Nearly half of the book’s total narration time could have been reduced had the sound effects been removed. So, be aware that this book is really a novella or addendum to the H. G. Well piece. Lastly, the writing is not on par with that of Mr. Wells. This is no surprise as the book appears to be the author’s first published audiobook work. If one goes in to this book expecting that it is not like Well’s writing, you will more likely enjoy it.
What did I like about the book? There was some good build-up and aspects of suspense incorporated. Overall the climax at the end worked even though it felt a bit rushed and unfinished. The author did a good job of portraying the feeling of doom and dread due to the circumstances those involved faced; similar to Well’s book. Carrying the original H. G. Well story idea to the author’s work I thought was well thought out and executed. I liked aspects of the weapons, aliens, and some of the new characters, yet because of the poor mixing, I could not enjoy the book nor recommend the book to others. It may be quite different for those who read rather than listen to this book as they might better understand what is happening.
The narration was decent, and I did not make note of any audio artifacts such as breathing, page turns, or other background noise. This could be because of the excessively loud sound effects and included music. Did I mention how much I disliked the added effects? Maybe the author can provide two version of the book on Audible, one with effects and music while the other does not. Just a thought. The mixing was so poor that I found it hard to really focus in and listen to the narrators themselves.
For parents and younger readers, I do not recall the use of any vulgar language or subject matter that would be sexual or crude in nature. The book, if the audio mixing was corrected, would be safe for younger readers if they were interested in a short add-on to the H. G. Well story. The book contains some violence, but nothing that is out of character for a piece of science fiction.
In summary, if you can get past every possible descriptive element in the story having an attached sound effect (rain, walking, train, etc.), and that these are so in your face that it is hard to hear the story’s narration, you may enjoy this book. I have to give the author credit for being willing to take on such a grandiose task of adding to a historic piece of well-known fiction. Yet, do the many flaws with the audiobook, I there were too many issues for me to recommend the book, but I may have a quite different review if provided a non-dramatized edition.