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on 31 October 2016
"As long as the heart beats, as long as your body and soul keep together, I cannot admit that any creature endowed with a will has need to despair of life"

I thought this book was brilliant and superbly well written by Venre as I will summarise below.

It follows 3 main characters:-
1) Professor Lidenbrock: a scientific genius who does not know when to quit even when the odds are less than 1% of success.
2) His Nephew, Axel: our narrator - written in a similar way to Conon-Doyle's Sherlock Holmes or Leroux's - Joseph Routabille stories. The insider following and reporting on the bizarre genius of the main character. He is also highly intelligent but worries a bit too much. He is the more human/ emotional character is this death defying adventure.
3) Hans: Our trusty hunter, servant, side-kick who is quiet, composed and saves every-ones life about 3 times.

I analysed this book as having 3 divisions in the way the story was created and therefore progressed.

To begin with - decoding a bizarre cipher, establishing the plot and the build up to the mission ending up in Iceland.

Secondly, a quite sombre, despondent and slow segment about our gang penetrating the Earth via volcano and happenings in the seedy under-passages in the worlds crust. One scene truly stood out for me here which raised the tempo. Axel finds himself lost from his crew with no rations, no light - really know hope. This scene was harrowing and claustrophobic as a reader we obviously put ourselves in that nightmare scenario. That was gripping.

Finally, about the last 40% is all full of over enthusiastic energy and vigour and it is great. Superbly paced narrative at this point including scenes of seeing fighting prehistoric monsters, being lost at sea in unbelievable and intense electric storms and if that all wasn't fun enough - to conclude they get rip-roaringly catapulted out of a volcano!! The book has some great set pieces.

For some people I can see it is not an easy read. It is very science-based and used so much specialist language that it could put people off. I have said previously that wish wasn't an issue to me as I believe the effort you put in to a book rewards the overall outcome. I am not a scientist but if I want to be in this world I have to adapt, enjoy and sometimes even learn the relevant terminology to get in to the characters minds.

The first 2 sections I mentioned were 4 star. The final section is 6 star - hence the review. It is reminiscent of Conon-Doyle's adventure tale The Lost World but instead of Professor Challenger and friends going up a formation/ mountain to find an amazing world, Professor Lidenbrock and chums do the opposite and go down.

I will hopefully read another of the Extraordinary Voyages books soon and hope they follow in the same vein.

James x
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on 6 August 2017
Another literary classic. This can get to be a little slow, especially when characters spend a great deal of time (multiple pages) describing various kinds of rock. No doubt it can be considered educational! However, the story is awesome so forget any movies you may have seen and read the original. Its worth the effort.
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on 6 July 2014
Axel cracks the code to a runic manuscript which reveals that its author has found a passage to the centre of the Earth. Professor Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel and their guide Hans descend the volcano in hopes of scientific discovery.

To me the idea the idea of a “classic” that was a science-fiction book seemed almost oxymoronic. Nonetheless, I was drawn in by the concept and Verne did not disappoint with interesting ideas way ahead of his time. The discovery of an ocean so far below that had a tide and of prehistoric animals was very interesting and I enjoyed the explanations and discussions about these findings. The way that Lindenbrock and Axel would argue and debate their findings made it easier to understand for the reader.

For me its main downfall was the focus on geology. Whilst Verne clearly has a strong knowledge of the discipline I couldn’t follow some of these sections. I couldn’t determine whether the basis of the ideas was sound or meant to be fiction.

This book was unlike any other classic I’ve read so far and was a truly curious and remarkable concept.
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on 13 March 2017
I should have checked the number of pages (something I don't normally deem necessary to do) for this version, as it seems to be a childlike oversimplification of the story. Whereas other sources state the true book should be around 200 pages, this is a mere 30. The story is rushed through and you lose all sense of wonderment and discovery that I imagined this story would evoke.

Don't make the same mistake I did, do not get this version.
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on 20 March 2013
I picked up this novel last September with the idea of reading it but never got around to it until after Christmas when I was bought a proper Kindle reader. This is the first book by Verne I have read and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing style is descritive and engaging and (to a technically minded person) reads almost as a scientific paper. The way in which the journey is recorded and described is almost as if it were a real-life expedition that had been reported in a Journal.

Despite some of the 1star reviews on here I have not noticed any strange tagging or evidence that it has been converted from another format, the page numbering is exact and the time left in chapter/book works fine.

This has certainly spurred me on to read more by Verne, will probably go for Around the World in 80 Days next to see if that has the same descriptive style.
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on 25 June 2012
Verne certainly knows how to spin a good yarn, and this book builds up to a thrilling climax. The scientific thought may be a little outdated, but the precision with which Verne includes it in the story (and his obvious admiration for the science itself) simply adds to the atmosphere.

My only frustration is with the translation itself - in this Wordsworth Classics edition it must be well over 50 years old, as the language is very stilted and outdated at times, and the (anonymous) translator's few footnotes are limited to nitpicking over the life of Humphrey Davy and the accuracy of Verne's stated distances. Changing the temperatures to Fahrenheit (from Verne's Celcius) and the money to pounds, shillings and pence is no more beneficial in 2012 than it was 1996 when this edition was released!

I have no idea whether there are any more recent translations available - this story certain deserves one, as its dynamism is timeless.
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on 1 January 2017
Everything's been said probably...just a classic novel. Very well written witness modern day mythos contained in the hollow earth theory, what did he know ! Great piece of escapism and just a epic adventure. Almost nothing to buy on kindle . And if faith is lost in modern literature...read this...it's profane and thought provoking. Classic.
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on 30 October 2015
Another Jules Verne classic which I have seen in film version but nothing beats the book. There are no limits to ones boundless imagination which the book leads you to explore. Jules seemed to have a window into the future which gave all of his stories a credibility even though they were marketed as science fiction. I fully recommend this as a wonderful book to emerse yourself in during a cold dark winters night.
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on 4 April 2014
This is a novel that appeals to only a few, possibly those who like myself read and reread it when in their teens.(A long time ago).At the time Science Fiction was not approved of unless it was Dan Dare etc. To be frank it is dated, nowadays the plot, technology and characterisation is seen as one dimensional. And it is.But. Reading it does take you back to younger days, if you have any to remember. What I am trying to say is that at the time it was Independence Day, Lord of the rings et al. Please read it but do allow for its age. And enjoy.
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on 25 April 2018
I was expecting the two languages to be next to each other, either on one page or on opposite pages, so that the story is actually bilingual. What I found when it arrived was that the first half of the book is the story in English, the second half is the story in French. One could also just buy the books separately if you wanted that. But it's not really useful for learning a language or just enjoying the two together.
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