I loved the first two books in the Hitchhiker series, and had heard that the rest aren’t quite as good. I’m afraid I have to agree on that with this book, though it isn’t a bad book by any means.
In this exciting novel from Douglas Adams, we find Arthur Dent where we left him – on prehistoric Earth. Having been separated for a few years, Arthur and Ford Prefect are reunited, in time to find a sofa appear before them. Something to do with eddies in the space-time continuum… The sofa takes the pair back to modern day Earth, on the Lord’s Cricket Ground to be precise. They witness the Ashes being stolen, and Slartibartfast teaches them about how the people of Krikket decided to destroy the universe on the discovery of there being one. The whole planet was encased in a Slo-Time envelope, except for one battle ship. This ship, armed with deadly robots, seeks the key to unlock the planet – part of which happens to be the Ashes.
Ford, Arthur and Slartibartfast take it upon themselves to save the Universe. But Arthur finds himself separated from the others, alone in a dark chamber. It turns out that he had been brought there by Agrajag, the soul of several beings he happened to have killed over the years. Most creatures aren’t aware of having been reincarnated, but Agrajag remembers each time he had been killed by Dent.
While escaping Agrajag, Arthur accidentally learns the art of flying – and is hit by a flying party. Ford and Slartibartfast – as well as Trillian with Thor the Thunder God – happen to be there. The robots soon arrive and steal another part of the key before the others get a chance to take it. Eventually, the robots gather the entire key, and Trillian figures out who has been manipulating the Krikkiters into destroying the Universe the whole time.
I’m a huge fan of this series, but I didn’t like this book quite as much. The random rambles seem to be just that at times, and although they are important to the plot in some way, I did tend to feel a little lost sometimes. And there are barely any new characters – certainly no main ones. While the original characters are all great, they just aren’t quite the same as they were.
It’s still eccentric, it still has subtle hints of humour, and it all fits together in a peculiarly clever way, so I have to give this book 4 stars.