This is the first time that I have ever read the War of the Worlds. I have been meaning to for a while now, but just never quite got around to it.
It is written as a narrative, from the perspective of one gentleman who lives very close to the landing site of the first Martian invader. He goes to see the landing site at Horsell sandpits, and is there when the first Martian attacks. Following more aggressive attacks from the invaders, he sends his wife of to Leatherhead to be with family, and he heads into London. He meets with various individuals, some of which he gets on with, and has to hide with a curate who he doesn't like much, as the Martians rampage across the south east.
It is quite forward looking for a Victorian / Edwardian science fiction book. He is trying to describe lasers and other devices, but he does not have the technological vocabulary to describe them as we would now. The dialogue is quite stilted, but given the time this was written and set, I would not expect anything different. What Wells does manage to convey is the terror that the population, and himself and his companions experience, and the despair and helplessness that he feels.