Book Review: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Title: Journey to the Center of the Earth
Author: Jules Verne
Published: 1864
Genre: Historical Fiction – Western

Summary: Descend into the Crater! Once an ancient book is opened by the eccentric Professor Lidenbrock, his life – and the life of his nephew Axel – is changed forever. An old piece of paper has tumbled from the book: a priceless parchment that will lead them on an incredible adventure. So begins the voyage thousands of feet under the sea as the pair embark on a terrifying journey to find what lies at the centre of the earth…

My Rating: 8igbk4dbt8igbk4dbt 1/2

Yes, this one comes with a photo of Misha! 🙂

So, decided to pick this one up because I wanted to make a comparison between H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Wells published a good 25 years after Verne so I can see where Wells might be influenced by Verne. Truly, Verne is ahead of his time both in scientific thought and in accessibility of his storytelling. Despite being published in 1860s, this read incredibly modern which I appreciated as some of the Victorian writers could be a bit verbose.

Our story follows 3 explorers as they enter a dormant volcano crater with the intent of reaching the ‘Center of the Earth’. As you can imagine, it’s filled with scientific holes simply based on the science afforded nowadays. This really does cater to the earth within the earth theory and our explorers find amazing things that are impossible but nevertheless entertaining. My problem was that I was so incredibly bored for a good 70% of this book. Mostly because, as the title suggest, most of the time is spent on this journey describing rock, lava, theories upon theories, etc, etc. It was just not my thing but I plowed through it and once they got the the ‘center’ I enjoyed it much more.

I did think the characters were one-dimensional and this lack of vivacity made the book lack in human tension. The Professor was just that – a man of science with little want or need for human compassion or understanding. Our narrator, Axel, was the screaming voice of reason and an overall weak character that crumbled under the Professor’s will and then there’s Hans, a character afforded the most disservice. Hans was a simple-minded Icelander and his personality was comparative to a rock. The stereotypes were cringy and because of the lack of connection I was not concerned if they would survive or not because I didn’t become attached to any of the characters. Overall, the book did not make me feel anything. That to me is incredibly problematic in a novel.

Perhaps it was because I went in with the image of the 1950s film adaptation, I expected more. There was literally one female character and she was as pleasant and bland as you can expect. Now, I have to keep in mind that this is a 1860s sci-fi novel but I think with all of the retellings going on nowadays, a retelling of the classic Sci-Fi books would be absolutely awesome. Inject some modern science along with kick-ass ladies and morally ambiguous characters and it could be a trend.

I already own 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea so I shall be reading that at some point but definitely not right now. I’m Verned out.

 

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