This second novel in the John Carter series is every much as classic as the first novel. I admit that with some classic series I only rank the first as a classic. Take [b:The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|11|The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1)|Douglas Adams|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327656754s/11.jpg|3078186] series. I think the first book is a classic of sci-fi, comedy and literature in general, however while I do enjoy the next few books I don't think they are classics since they are very similar in humour and plot. However this novel branches out from [b:A Princess of Mars|40395|A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)|Edgar Rice Burroughs|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1332272118s/40395.jpg|1129624] and exhibits the fuller and larger world of Barsoom.
Another reminder about my rating is that I rate within genres. So while this may be a classic science fiction novel and a classic in general I don't think that it's as strong a novel as [b:A Princess of Mars|40395|A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)|Edgar Rice Burroughs|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1332272118s/40395.jpg|1129624]. That said is The Gods of Mars
a good book? It is definitely a good book worth reading, albeit one with what look like technical flaws.
The one thing that seemed more noticeable in this novel was that with John Carter now an expert of life on Barsoom he was a rather unreliable narrator, referring often to just how much better he was than anyone else on the planet. The term that many people would use for that is that John Carter is a 'Mary Sue'. However I think that the aim was to make him more like a superhero, a larger than life warrior who can do many impossible things. At the same time John Carter still fails at times and is often overpowered by his enemies in this book. Another more noticeable thing was that Burroughs used deus-ex-machina to fill in plot holes from time to time.
That said Burroughs, as with many writers from his older time periods, possesses a greater clarity and beauty in his vocabulary and word selection than most modern authors. His word choice has that archaic beauty that makes it at times dated for today's readers but also unique and powerful for anyone who loves language.
As for other reasons that I feel that this is a classic? 1)
It has stood the test of time and is still being read by readers almost a century after being written2)
It is a key novel in the genre of science fiction having influenced modern films like Star Wars and Avatar, creating the form of science fiction which is involved with space travel on other planets, aliens and the merging of fantasy and science fiction ideas3)
There is an interesting look at hierarchies and religion as well as being an entertaining novel4)
It builds on the first novel, helping to create a mythology for much other science fiction as well as Barsoom
On the whole an entertaining novel, reasonably well written for being nearly 100 years old and I will be looking to read more in the series at some point as a completist type reader. I almost forgot to add that this book is also a book to be read as 'literary pulp'!