Monday, January 16, 2017

She and Allan by H. Rider Haggard

She and Allan
H. Rider Haggard
3/5 stars

Published in 1921, She and Allan brings together Haggard's two most popular characters: Allan Quatermain and Ayesha.  Allan seeks out Ayesha, through the encouragement of the witch doctor Zikali, in hopes of finding answers about dead loved ones.  He becomes involved in the rescue attempt of a young Portuguese-Scotch woman, as well as a battle between Ayesha's followers and her enemies.

I thoroughly enjoyed She, which introduces Ayesha, and am a long-standing fan of the Quatermain books.  I found this one to be sub-par for Haggard, as there is frequent pseudo-philosophical screed that was often mind-numbingly dull for me.  I did like, though, how different Ayesha's relationship was with Allan as compared to that with Leo and Holly.  I also liked that she told Allan a just-sightly different version of her history that than which was told in both She and Ayesha.

 Allan's skepticism, though, kept the preternatural abilities of Ayesha from being fully enjoyed, leaving the reader to figure out the truth in between her speeches and his thoughts.

The action was, as is usual with Haggard, excellent and exciting.  Allan Quartermain is a hero I particularly enjoy reading about, and I think Haggard has done a wonderful job of developing his character.  I also liked getting to know Umslopogaas and wish that I had read his story in Nada the Lilly prior to this, and look forward to reading it later.

Sadly, I can't rate She and Allan any higher than 3 stars, due to the long, dull speeches and explanations of Ayesha.  If one is willing to skim over those bits, though, and focus on the rest of the plot, this is a good yarn.


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