Review: A Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth book cover
Image from Jules Verne Books

Title:  A Journey to the Center of the Earth

Author:  Jules Verne

Genre:  Classic

Back Cover:

Harry is perfectly happy living with his eccentric uncle, Professor Hardwigg, and loving the beautiful Gretchen.  But then Professor Hardwigg discovers an ancient Runic manuscript telling how to reach the center of the Earth.  The last thing Harry wants to do is go off on some wild goose chase following the advice of a mysterious cryptograph.  But his uncle insists.  And so begins their strange and wondrous journey…


Journey to the Center of the Earth was my favorite book when I first discovered it at age ten, but I hadn’t read it in years.  So when it was a book club pick, I looked forward to the reread.

The book was definitely written in a the style common to most classic books – huge words, references to obscure works, not much by way of characterization.  But honestly, I didn’t mind.

Since I read this as an ebook, I didn’t have worry about breaking out the dictionary every other paragraph (although I did press the dictionary button occasionally).  The obscure works weren’t as easy to look up, but I mostly just glossed over those, and it didn’t detract from the story hardly at all.

The characterization, like I said, was minimal.  Professor Hardwigg was the kind of guy who wouldn’t give up an idea once he’d had it.  Harry was the more logical, reasonable kind, but he also had no sense of adventure and no desire to do anything other than what he was accustomed to.  And Hans, their Icelandic guide … I think I can count the number of words he said on both hands.

I did enjoy the journey, though.  This is one of those books where the classic books’ excessive description was a good thing.  They were traveling through new and unknown territory, and the description let me see everything.  Even the rock tunnels were somehow made interesting (although that could be because of their tendency to get lost in them).

The absolute best part of the story was the middle, though, with the underground lake/ocean.  Between prehistoric creatures, monster battles, and huge storms, the sea voyage turned out to be fascinating.  And the plants and other things they found on the shore were even more so.

The beginning was a little slow, and the end seemed a tad anticlimactic, but overall, I enjoyed the story.  Not as much as I did when I first read it, mind you, but it was definitely worth the reread.


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