Journey to the center of the Earth is a classic science fiction novel written by Jules Verne. This book was first published in French in 1864 and then in English in 1871. So, it’s more than 150 years old and is still a very interesting read.
Journey to the Center of the Earth is the story of Professor Liedenbrock and his nephew Axel. The inciting incident of the story is when Professor Liedenbrock finds a coded note on a runic manuscript. And when they deciphered this 16th-century code, they found a secret, information about a volcanic tube in a mountain of Iceland that goes to the center of the earth. So, that’s how their journey begins, journey to the center of the earth.
I had watched the 2008 movie The Journey to the Center of the Earth when I was in std. 8th, seven years ago. This movie is not entirely based on the book but used it as an inspiration. But as always, the book has more details and fun than the movie.
The story has three major characters, professor Liedenbrock, his nephew Axel and a servant named Hans, who accompanied them in their journey. The story has first-person narration, narrated by Axel. The paperback edition of this book has a total of 240 pages, and you would be able to finish it within a week, considering an average reader. The language is simple.
If I talk about what I liked in the Journey to the Center of the Earth, I liked the scientific concepts Jules Verne used to write the story. The scientific details and arguments are so persuasive that, for once, I even believed that the story is based on real events, and it is possible to travel to the center of the earth. Well, of course, it’s not possible.
I loved the way Jules Verne started the story, a coded message in an ancient language found in an ancient book that shows them the path to the center of the planet. This really made it more exciting. I don’t know; ancient things always make a story more interesting.
The second half of the book is very adventurous; here, they discover incredible things, face life-threatening dangers, and this is where I found the real fun of reading this. I felt each and every place that was described in the book as if I was also with them.
“While there is life there is hope. I beg to assert…that as long as a man’s heart beats, as long as a man’s flesh quivers, I do not allow that a being gifted with thought and will can allow himself to despair.”
― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth
The characters are well designed with their specific weaknesses. For example, professor Liedenbrock had this weakness: he was very impatient, stubborn, and short-tempered.
However, the characters are not so realistic. You can’t expect an aged professor to climb miles down the earth smoothly with the help of ropes. The character of Hans was also unrealistic in the sense that he was emotionless, with no fear, no excitement, no happiness, nothing, although he was going to the center of the earth. It seemed as if Hans had already been to the center several times before. In addition, the first half of the book is somewhat slow and contains unnecessary details; it would have been better if it was written in condensed form.
But The Journey to the Center of the Earth was written in the 1860s, and for that time, writing this type of story is really unbelievable. The book was certainly ahead of its time. You will love this book if you are interested in especially in geology, biology, and physics. But, even if you are not interested in these subjects, you would still find it interesting because the science of the story is not so heavy.
This evergreen book can be read by children as well as adults. All said, I would recommend this book if you want to read a captivating science-fiction or an adventurous book.