Monday, May 16, 2011

King Solomon's Mines by Sir H. Rider Haggard - A "For the Classics" Guest Review

This month For the Classics we have a lovely favorite blogger of mine here to review one of her favorite classics - King Solomon's Mines by Sir H. Rider Haggard.  Please welcome Small Review!


A little bit about Small:
Thank you so much for having me here, Sierra! I often think of Sierra as my book soulmate, so I’m super excited to be able to take part in her feature For the Classics. On my own blog, Small Review, I mostly babble about the YA books that make me happy (and not so happy), but I do try to sneak in a few mentions about classic books every now and then.

Visit her Blog.
Visit her Goodreads.

Her review:

Working in a library and considering myself a book lover, I know I’m supposed to hail classics as paragons of literature. But I have a secret to confess: the fact is that a whole lot of them just bore me to tears. *Runs and hides*

I often find myself helping kids locate the latest classic they were assigned to read for class. Usually my library kids are a mix of annoyed and apathetic over the prospect of slogging through whatever classic they’ve been assigned.

My heart breaks for those kids, but I also feel bad for all those great classics that get unfairly lumped into the “boring” category. Somewhere along the way “classics” has become synonymous with “boring” for my library kids and, admittedly, me. This is a shame though because so many classics are actually really great stories.

King Solomon’s Mines is a classic book that most certainly is NOT boring. Here’s what you get:

Three rugged British men
A missing brother
Questing for hidden treasure
African safari hunts
A war between the true king and the man who exiled him and stole his crown

Sounds pretty good, right? The three men band together to search for a missing brother and, with any luck, discover King Solomon’s famed treasure. They set out across the African plains where they battle great beasts, the harsh desert, and treacherous mountain passes. Their adventures lead them straight into the middle of a tribal war surrounding a despot and an heir wrongly removed from power.

I should include a warning here: King Solomon’s Mines is a product of its time and would probably offend a lot of people today (HRH’s views of Africa/Africans and women in particular are so NOT PC anymore). If you can get past all that, then you’re in for a rollicking good time. One of my favorite parts is the super-creepy Gagool—an old hag who advises the false king. She is as hilarious as she is spine-chilling. Gagool is a character I absolutely love to hate.

Throughout the whole book I was gasping and giddy over all of the totally kick-butt events. The pacing could be a little better, but I blitzed through the slower parts with no problem because I was completely wrapped up in the adventure and I wanted to see what would happen next. The final showdown toward the end of the book makes the whole thing so worth reading.

And that showdown? Totally NOT boring.


And let me end this wonderful post by saying:  "Thank you Small!!!! You rock!"  If you haven't visited her blog or followed her yet, do it now.  You really, really won't regret it!!  :)

Want to read last month's For the Classics Guest post?  Click here!


  1. I love it when people review old sci-fi/fantasy/lost world novels such as Haggard's. I intend to do some of that on my own blog, but haven't gotten around to it yet...I love books like this and want to get the word out to other readers that, as you pointed out, classics aren't all boring.

  2. Thank you for having me, Sierra!

  3. Ok, I have to come clean too, classics bore me to tears, also! I usually end up with a headache because I'm concentrating so hard on them.

    This one does sound like its action packed. A very nice review.

    The only classic I've enjoyed recently is called The Handmaid's Tale

  4. She posts a picture of Swayze and I'm on my way! Lol!

  5. Gina, Yay! We can be bad book lovers together :P I don't care if I'm "supposed" to like it. I just want a good story, and really, some are actually great stories. Like this one! (but I didn't like The Handmaid's Tale *scurries away*)

    Bookish Brunette, :D I thought he'd be a good teaser pic!

  6. Sounds fascinating! I've never heard of it. I would hate for people to avoid classics just because they're products of their times. Look at the Little House books. I think it just creates opportunities for discussion.

  7. Great review. I love the movie, but have never even thought about the fact that it was first a book. I aslo love that you talked about the fact that it is a product of the time frame it was written in.

  8. I agree with Alison - don't avoid them because they're products of their time! They're, to me, some of the most genius works of literature! :) Some do bore me, but I think that's like 1 out of 15. ;)

    Glad everyone enjoyed the post - Small, you are awesome! :)