4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester,
This review is from: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded (Hardcover)
In this work, Simon Winchester has proven that he has the ability to research, compile and write in an engaging way.
However, if he wanted my five stars, he should have kept it up for the whole book.
I started reading this book, engrossed in the many details provided by the author about the exotic world in which this book was set. I could look around and see Batavia and the other settlements in this tropical part of the world. What impressed me greatly was the way that the tension built up as you read - especially as you neared the part where Krakatoa erupted in 1883. It was very masterful, the way the Winchester related the stretched atmosphere of the area preceeding the event. It made the reader feel uneasy and on-the-edge, as they knew that a terrible thing was about to happen - nearly like a novel would.
Unfortunately, after the account of the actual eruption, it felt like there was nothing else worth reading. The action was all over. The remaining 150 pages could well have been from a different text, being much more passive and slow reading.
Despite this drab, rough finish, I was reluctant to give it a low rating as it did start brilliantly. It is disappointing that I had to give this proof of great writing skills a mediocre rating, but I can compare it to nothing but a novel with the climax in the middle of the book. If you really want to enjoy this book, read up until p261. Otherwise, "The River at the Centre of the World " is a much better book by Winchester.