I started this book possibly an entire year ago.
And I guess you could say I was caught up with other things, but I finally finished it a few months ago. SO, I decided to review this. Now, you may be thinking, what book could this possibly be? And WHY did it take you so long to read?!
Well, as you can tell from the title, this book is Journey to the Centre of the Earth. And it sure as heck was a journey. Not exactly right from the start, however. Let me explain.
So I began the book. Frankly, it was boring. I was just waiting and waiting for the action to begin. Dozens of pages were spent explaining how the code was deciphered and their grand plan for how to get to the center. I was becoming really impatient and so, I dropped the book.
A few months ago, I picked it back up. In that short period of time in which I didn’t read the book, I had developed a newfound appreciation for good literature. This time, I took interest in the writing more so than the action. That mindset was really rewarding, and the book didn’t seem so dense and boring anymore.
Now, the journey really began. I reread the beginning (which honestly, was still a bit slow) and finally, the group made it to the crater.
Wow, I’ve been so caught up explaining my experience that I haven’t even introduced the book properly. Okay. So, JttCotE was written by Jules Verne, and it was first published on November 25th, 1864, in the language of French, under the title of Voyage au centre de la Terre (side note: I started taking French this year and am happy to report that I can fully understand the title. You proud? I’m… kidding.) So the edition that I read is technically not the original.it was translated by a guy named Robert Baldick. Poor guy. Never gets much credit. So I can’t say much about or criticize the writing itself… Because that’s not going to be relevant. Nevertheless, I liked the writing. This edition was published by Puffin Books (side note #2: I love the covers of their classics and that they all match…)
So where was I? Ah, yes. So, one of the main characters is a young man named Axel. He’s not an extremely dynamic character, except that he is generally level-headed, quiet, and has a fiancee named Grauben. He’s not too fond of the idea of traveling thousands of feet under the surface of the Earth, but as time progresses, he eventually comes around to his uncle’s way of thinking and becomes enthusiastic about the discoveries and making it to the center.
In contrast, we have
Uncle Professor Otto Lindenbrock, Axel’s uncle. He’s a rather eccentric character, but very accomplished. His level of patience is as low as the bottom of Sneffels itself. He’s the one who organized this whole… trip, and he never loses hope that they will reach their goal and live to tell the tale. He could literally be sitting in a volcano about to explode and he won’t panic a bit. 😉
A simple, strong, and silent Icelander who’s technically just a tour guide. I think he’s said like two words in the entire book even though he’s always present. But Hans was extremely helpful in many cases with his knowledge and strength. For example, the time he found the group an underground river when they were dying of thirst, he was so appreciated that the river was called the Hansbach.
Lindenbrock finds a secret code written by Arne Saknussem hidden in an ancient manuscript. He and Axel (mostly the latter) decode it and find that it’s the secret to getting to the center of the Earth: to hop right into Sneffels, a dormant volcano in Iceland. With Hans, they make like Saknussem (who, by the way, died trying to make the journey) and follow his instructions. Thus, they travel through the underground, making exciting discoveries (the Professor is more than thrilled), and finding themselves in fatal danger. And throughout it all, Axel wonders if they would ever reach their goal.
Okay. This book surprised me. I like science fiction (although I don’t read it too much for some reason). I didn’t really like classics at the time. The thought of a science-fiction classic novel kind of repulsed me. As I mentioned before, I stopped reading it after a bit because it was getting quite boring. That’s the only thing that was kind of ‘eh’ about this book. I feel that the beginning was too slow. Who knows, maybe I’m just another “impatient Gen Z who doesn’t appreciate literature”.
*ahem* Anyway. Other than the slow beginning, I liked a few other things about the book. For example, the fact that (spoiler). The author was also super ahead of his time. This must have been an extremely unusual read in 1864. The characters and their actions were very 1894-esque. There wasn’t a very large amount of character development. It was mostly just the adventure and descriptions. I suppose that’s a refreshing perspective since I’ve read a lot of self-discovering books lately.
This was a good book. Not a fantastic, life-changing book, but definitely one I’ll talk about and recommend. I say that if you don’t read classics, but you like sci-fi (or vice versa) then don’t be afraid to give this book a shot. It’s a good bridge.
I give this 4/5 stars, because of the slow beginning and lack of dynamic characters and development.
This is fine for anyone 13+, only because the vocabulary is a bit old-fashioned and it requires patience. However, there’s nothing ‘inappropriate’, so if a 10-year-old picks up this book and has a lot of patience and has a huge vocabulary, they’re good to go.
Thank you guys for reading this review! This is kind of a mixture between my freestyle reviews and organized reviews, but it was really fun. Also, peep that header I made? I actually like it a lot. What’d you think? And side note, I wrote over 1K words for this review. *thumps chest* BE PROUD.