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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five On A Desert Island!
A REVIEW OF 'THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND' BY JULES VERNE

'The Mysterious Island' (1874) is one of the lesser-known works of Jules Verne, who today tends to be remembered for his three masterpieces, 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth', '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' and 'Around The World In 80 Days'. However, the relative obscurity of 'The Mysterious Island' must...
Published on 16 May 2010 by Barty Literati

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars dissapointing
i was enjoying the book. its probably the longest amount of time iv ever needed to read a book, about 95% of the story was quite boring but the twists in the storyline just kept me going.

then, about 30 pages from the end i opened the book at the wrong page and saw two words that gave the end away and suddenly it was so dissapointing. iv put it back on the...
Published on 11 July 2011 by Mr. Smeaton


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five On A Desert Island!, 16 May 2010
This review is from: The Mysterious Island (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
A REVIEW OF 'THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND' BY JULES VERNE

'The Mysterious Island' (1874) is one of the lesser-known works of Jules Verne, who today tends to be remembered for his three masterpieces, 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth', '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' and 'Around The World In 80 Days'. However, the relative obscurity of 'The Mysterious Island' must not be used to assume that this is somehow a less enjoyable or less worthy novel from the master of Extraordinary Voyages (the collective name given to Verne's writings). Indeed, the many merits of the book are confirmed by the fact that Hollywood saw fit to commit numerous versions to film, perhaps the most famous being made in 1961. Another factor in the novel's favour is that it is technically the sequel to '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' and can be read as a companion piece to the more famous prequel.

The plot of 'The Mysterious Island' centres around a balloon-wreck (!), which leaves 5 escapees from The American Civil War on a seemingly-deserted Pacific island which they choose to name Lincoln Island. Over the course of the numerous years in which they inhabit the land mass, they create their own civilisation and stamp their mark upon a landscape previously untouched by man, with the growing hope that Lincoln Island will eventually form part of the American Union. However, as they endeavour to initially survive and then flourish in their new environment, the fortunes of the men appear to be being manipulated by a mysteriously beneficent and possibly supernatural force.

The story itself draws upon a range of other novels which deal with the theme of desert islands and survival. Readers familiar with 'Treasure Island', 'Swiss Family Robinson', 'The Coral Island' and 'Robinson Crusoe' will find many of the set pieces and circumstances in Verne's work familiar. However, it is the ingenuity of the characters and the author's spinning of the yarn which prevent 'The Mysterious Island' from being merely a facsimile of other writers' works. The initial balloon-wreck, and the later action set-pieces (provided both by man and Mother Nature) are delivered with real gusto and energy and continue to pack a thrill, which must have resounded even more marvellously with readers in the days before cinema. In his vivid descriptions of the scenery of Lincoln Island and the monumental events which take place on its shores and within, Verne creates a genuine sense of the reader being there and appreciating the experience.

Nevertheless, certain elements of 'The Mysterious Island' do not stand up to too much scrutiny. The fact that the 5 principal characters (whose professions include journalism, sailing and engineering) manage to co-exist on an island in such deprived circumstances without one cross word is hard to credit. Indeed, there is something almost Enid Blyton-esque in their camaraderie, a comparison made stronger by the inclusion of a pet dog and later, orang-utan to the team! Likewise, the afore-mention ingenuity of the men, which is principally the result of engineer, Cyrus Harding's, skills sees them manufacture not only a sea-faring boat, clothes, and a diverse farm, but also electricity, hydraulic saws and nitro-glycerine!!! At times it feels like the Blue Peter team on overdrive.

However, laying aside credibility at key stages of the book, there is no denying that 'The Mysterious Island' is a very entertaining read. Whereas in Verne's lesser works, the narrative retains a pedestrian pace, here the story builds to a fitting finale, which not only explains the 'supernatural' happenings, but also saves the best action set-pieces to the end.

It should be noted that those expecting '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea II' will be disappointed by 'The Mysterious Island', because Verne fails to rehash the adventures of Captain Nemo and instead offers a very different novel, which instead sheds new light on its predecessor. In short, 'The Mysterious Island' is vintage Verne and deserves (like its principal characters) to break free from its mysteriously relative obscurity and reclaim its rightful place in the world of classic novels.

Barty's Score: 8/10

PS. If you enjoyed this review, have a skim through all of my reviews to find other authors whose books I have enjoyed. For example, if 'The Mysterious Island' won you over, why not try 'The Island Of Terror' by Sapper or 'The Land That Time Forgot' by Edgar Rice Burroughs?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Implausable, 10 Sep 2012
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Although a very good story about survival, the almost super-knowledgable!! Cyrus Harding is too good to be true. Nothing but NOTHING is beyond this man`s ability to create. I almost expected him to build a helicopter from twigs and rocks and fly them all away. If you can ignore the impossibilities of his skills then this is a very good read although the ending could be guessed halfway through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of Verne's Best ., 26 Feb 2011
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This review is from: The Mysterious Island (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This was written in 1875 and set in 1865 and is a castaway novel,updated for the scientific age.We follow a group of men who,after escaping captivity in the American Civil War,crash on an uninhabited island in a balloon.This place .is located in the cold south Pacific.These men,lead by the ultra-resourceful Cyrus Harding use the islands mineral,vegetable and animal resources to not only survive but live in modern comfort.The settlers,as they call themselves smelt iron,manufacture explosives,plant crops,husband animals and even make an electric telegraph.

The story develops with pirate attacks,monkey invasions and boatbuilding.A floating message leads to a mysterious new member of their communuty.Of most interest is the unseen benevolent influence providing the mystery of the title.

This is a really enjoyable read with memorable characters who we really care about.There is a theme of redemption and forgiveness here as well.But the stories main strength is the sense of awe at human ingenuity as Verne teaches us how to tame the wild and survive with style We,as readers almost become settlers on the island ourselves,as Verne creates such a convincing place.There could have been a few lighter moments,as Verne really can do funny,but probably my favourite so far.

In the interests of not giving away the plot this is a continuation of two of Vernes previous works.One being In Search of the Castaways: The Children of Captain Grant (Forgotten Books) the other,I wont mention here.

I reviewed the 2010 Wordsworth Classics edition with some great illustrations,a map of the island,a fascinating introduction by RGA Dolby and footnotes.Best read these after the story,also dont flick forward to look at the super pictures unless you want to spoil the mystery.

This is Voyages Extraordinaires No.12
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 3 Mar 2014
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Forgotten how exciting and far sighted this book is. So pleased I decided to read again. What a wonderful imagination Jules Verne had. This book is gripping from the start and is a must for all school children as well as oldies like myself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good, 25 Feb 2014
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thank you I am still reading it, but I am enjoying very much, and so far recommend it for anybody
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic cast-away story, 23 Oct 2013
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Always love wordsworth classics. Affordable alternatives to more expensive publishers.
An amazing cast-away story. The mystery of the island is appealing and the conclusion is powerful. I'm sure the TV series Lost pulled a lot of inspiration from this type of novel
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 28 Sep 2013
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Exactly as ordered & arrived promptly & undamaged. Excellent price as we bought it for our local french school who required some english books for their library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased with the book. Thank you, 12 Sep 2013
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I was asked by my daughter to purchase this book after she had seen the film on the television. It really caught her imagination and she is now reading the book slowly between looking after the children.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great read, 4 Aug 2013
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A good old fashioned story. Written in the language of its time it still reads well in the 21st century. Great adventure with enough unexpected twists to sustain interest to the end. Jules Verne was a rare genius and we owe most our modern science fiction to him
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5.0 out of 5 stars great, 16 Mar 2013
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the book was brand new and is really nice buying the whole set for myself as like them all and want to read them.
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The Mysterious Island (Wordsworth Classics)
The Mysterious Island (Wordsworth Classics) by Jules Verne (Paperback - 15 Mar 2010)
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