Jules Verne is probably known to most of you through his famous novel, Around the World in 80 Days. The staggering success of this novel though, meant that his other works are not as well known. Indeed, most of us waited for the film to be introduced to Journey to the Centre of the Earth. In this novel, instead of going around the world, we are now going into it!
Though most adventures and action books these days rely on shoot outs and car chases to keep the reader interested, Jules Verne manages to grip us using old fashioned mystery and suspense. It is also clear that he did heaps of research before writing this book. The imagination he put into it along with his knowledge of science makes compelling reading. The epic adventure begins when enthusiastic geologist Professor Otto Liedenbrock discovers old documents, which he believes are instructions on getting to the center of the earth. Along with his whiz-kid nephew, Axel Liedenbrock he discovers the key to the document, and finds the location of the crater. They pack any and every survival equipment they can find, but will it be enough for the perilous journey ahead? Along with estimable, quiet, Icelandic guide Hans, Otto and Axel embark on a fantastical and dangerous journey down volcanic tubes and volcano craters. The journey is not for the faint-hearted – who knows what creatures lurk down there? Will their supplies last? How will they get back up to the surface? Will they ever get back up to the surface? They must find their way through a maze and an endless sea, as well as many other obstacles before they can find their way to the heart of the earth. This book takes a little while to get going, but when it does, it becomes one you cannot put down. It has advanced vocabulary, many scientific theories and overall may be a little hard to understand or read for children below 12 or 13. I would rate this book 8/10. If your parents are insisting, like mine, that you read classics, this is the place to start!
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Although Verne’s career as a writer had begun in 1850, his works enjoyed little popular success before the publication of A Journey to the Centre of the Earth in November, 1864. The novel sold so well that his Parisian publisher, Jules Hetzel, offered Verne a 50 percent increase in payments for all future novels. Hetzel had no qualms about paying three thousand French francs per novel because he believed that Verne’s future novels also would sell well. This significant increase in his earnings enabled Verne to resign his job as a stockbroker. He spent the remaining years of his life as a full-time writer of science-fiction novels. His work remained popular both in France and around the world.
Verne’s publisher at first thought that A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Verne’s many other science-fiction novels describing fantastic voyages would appeal almost exclusively to young children. Adult readers, however, also discovered much of interest in Verne’s writings, and sales of Verne’s books were higher than expected.
A superficial reading of A Journey to the Centre of the Earth or other, equally popular novels by Verne such as From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) might make them appear to be little more than highly fanciful but almost unbelievable descriptions of trips to distant places in outer space, under the water, or under Earth’s...
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