It starts with the finding of a journal by an old scientist, which inspires our narrator's uncle to go on a journey in search of whether it is possible to reach the center of the Earth.
I was really excited when I started this. I had loved Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea when I read it this summer, so I knew I was going to be in for a Vernian treat. I've also been teaching a small science-fiction unit in my sophomore English class, and since I talk a lot about Verne, it was fitting that I read one of his novels.
I had to force myself to read this one. Perhaps it was the timing-with school stuff piling up, random drama elsewhere, me being distracted from reading-but I really didn't feel this book calling to me from my nightstand. By the time I finally finished it, I realized that there were a lot of things that I wanted to happen in the book that didn't. I expected the narrator to be like the narrator in Leagues, smart, educated, and determined. Instead, I had a whiny boy who complained almost the entire time they were on the journey. Say what you will, but if the main protagonist isn't interesting, then the book won't call to you.
I also struggled with the believability of this one. I was fine with all the science, etc that was presented in Leagues. It made sense, and it translated well to modern time. Everything here, didn't. I didn't buy that they could climb down miles into the Earth with no change in temperature, or that there would be a cavern in the middle of the earth with a sea-complete with sea monsters. I think that when this was published, people would have bought into that aspect of the book. It just didn't come across as powerful or as magical in modern times. We know that the middle of the Earth is molten and extremely hot, so that logical sense of myself couldn't buy into the magical qualities of the land below ours.
I also felt the book lacked just a little something to draw me in. There was a great sense of wonder in Leagues that wasn't here. This might connect to the horrid narrator, but nothing was presented in that mystical sense that I so admired in Verne's other book.
By the time I finished, I was just grateful to be done with it. This is just a book that didn't come across right to me as a modern reader, but I do see how it could have inspired many when it was first published. I think that acknowledging there might be other worlds out there would have drawn people in.
It just didn't work for me.
That's a shame, I've not read this one but have always thought that it sounds interesting. Maybe I'll try 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea instead.ReplyDelete
Aw, it's too bad it didn't work for you. I don't remember it that well from when I read it, but I think I liked it well enough. It's good to know that Leagues is better though, as that's on my Classics Club list!ReplyDelete
I actually enjoyed this one, even though I found the adventurous aspect of it to be lacking; I remember there being a lot of science talk in the book. I really like Verne's writing, though, which I think is the main reason I enjoyed Journey despite the story not being at all what I expected. I'm definitely going to have to check out Leagues.ReplyDelete
I'm glad I chose to add 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to my Classics Club list instead of this one.ReplyDelete
It's so true what you say about the protagonist. If you don't connect in some way with the main character, it's hard to buy into the rest of the book.
I love that you call it a "Vernian treat," even though it didn't quite live up to that hope. Love the cover though! That's just stunning.ReplyDelete
I have seen the movie, and at that time I thought 20.000 Leagues is much better. Nevertheless, I think I'll read this book anyway, because it's Verne's style that I love (from 20.000 Leagues as well as Around the World--have you read it by the way?). Thanks for the review!ReplyDelete
Note to self: Stick with Leagues. :)ReplyDelete
This is on my to-read list, but maybe I'll read Twenty Thousand Leagues and then stop.ReplyDelete
This is how I felt about 20,000 Leagues. Jean @ Howling Frog Books mentioned there being different editions of that book, with the older editions not having all of the content that was in the original French, and my edition was older and didn't even list the translator, so I think that contributed to me not liking it that much. I wonder if that could have happened here? The science issues would still be there, but maybe the translation could have impacted some of the other issues.ReplyDelete
My 5th grade son is obsessed with the works of Jules Verne and has had me reading right beside him through the journey, sometimes reading aloud to him. And I have to say it has been very enjoyable - both the books and his enthusiasm. Sorry it did not work for you.ReplyDelete
This was my first (and only) Verne. I didn't enjoy it much, either... which is why I never picked up another of his works.ReplyDelete
Yesterday I finished reading this book and posted a completely different review but I really liked yours as well. I'm doing a Jules Verne Readalong on my own right now and I still haven't read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea but I will sooner or later.ReplyDelete
Huh that's a shame cuz this book seemed more interesting than leagues would have been.ReplyDelete
I haven't read this since I was a child and I liked it then. That being said, I just saw a movie version of this with Brendan Fraser and that was so terrible, that it almost scared me off from Verne completely! But I do love Captain Nemo and 20.000 Keagues ...ReplyDelete