Artz on Books: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

For this review, I reached back in the past and plucked out this piece of classic literature: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Arthur Conan Doyle, of course, is well known for Sherlock Holmes. The Lost World wasn’t as successful as Sherlock Holmes, but it did inspire a TV series The Lost World in 1999. I chose this book, firstly because it was free (yay freestuff!) and secondly because I’m always a little scared of this sort of stuff. I feel I should read it, but I always worry it’s going to be full of old-fashioned words and sentences I won’t understand and that’d make it a really excruciating read.  So, a conquered my fears and took a step onto the mysterious plateau that is classic literature.

So did I like it? I did! Now, I hate it in reviews where people say right at the start what the verdict is, but I can’t help but say, I did actually enjoy this. The story follows Edward Malone, a journalist and our protagonist, who goes on an adventure to impress his sweetheart. He sets off with a colourful cast of characters: Professor Challenger, Professor Summerlee, and Lord John Roxton. They may sound a little stuck up and middleclass.. and well, they are. But they’re fun. You don’t get sick of them. While some of them may be a little cliché now you can sort of forgive that remembering when it was written. The least developed character is possibly Malone. I say this mainly because his reason for starting the expedition is a little weak (all that to impress a girl?), but also because the others are so flamboyant.

For someone who has an interest in biology like me, the details of the world are interesting but don’t feel detailed enough. However, saying that, the world was quite impressive. He mentions all these dinosaurs, pterodactyls, and other new creatures all of which you get a good feel for. The world feels alive and this really helps with the pacing. There are a few chapters that are a bit slow as the journey is described with great detail. It also has a curious structure that I’m not sure how to feel about: each chapter set as a letter, the reader presuming Malone to have sent each back via an assistant and collated by his editor McArdle. This layout gives it the problem that Never Let Me Go suffered from where the character begins sections with ‘I should really tell you about this’. However, it doesn’t get as annoying as it does in a modern piece and I’m surprised at how the writer managed to get this right. I sure wouldn’t want to write this way in fear of there being a lack of suspense (as you’d know as a reader the character wasn’t going to die).

Overall, this was simply an enjoyable tale. It’s probably one we have all heard before by now, and it isn’t quite politically correct at times. But, if you remember it was written in a different time and just take it for what it is, you can sit back and be taken to an impressive Lost World.

Reviewed by Rebecca! ^_^

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