War of the Worlds was an interesting novel for me – I had seen clips of the musical, heard the songs, the stories about it, and yet I had never read it. I had a vague idea of the story line, so went in not quite knowing what to expect.
Overall, I found it a mixed bag. Unfortunately, I knew how it ended so the impact of a seemingly invincible conquering force was lost on me. I also found it very hard to relate to the main character or sympathise with his fight for survival. Instead, I just found him very lucky. He also kept forgetting about his wife, only mentioning her very occasionally in what felt like ‘oh yeah, I have a wife who I am supposed to love and worry about, just so you know.’ Not to mention the style it was written in was difficult to get into and at times just very dull.
However, what I did like about the book was that while the Martian invasion provided the back drop to the novel, they were not the centre of the plot. Instead, the novel explored the reaction of the dominant species (mankind) to being upholstered from this position by a new foe. The darkness of humanity came across quite nicely in the secondary characters, as did the instinct to survive. The resolution was nicely done in a way that made sense to both reality and the nature of the book.
I would recommend reading the book, simply for its status as a classic and the themes that it covers. If you can read it before watching the films/hearing the radio show, do so as I imagine that would make the novel far more dramatic.