Book Review: The Mysterious Island

The Mysterious Island

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend, and is getting ready for the continued monotony of the daily grind.

Things have been going fairly well here, as I can still do what I like.

Back towards the end of July, I had gotten a few titles to read from two different catalogs, and of those titles, only one remains.

Today, I will be reviewing that last remaining title, which is called The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne.

While traveling in a hot air balloon, five men get caught up in a storm and find themselves on strange island not found on any map, and try to make the best of what they can on the supposedly deserted island.

However, even though they do not face too many troubles, strange things start to occur when they decide to establish an American colony, which suggests that they are not alone.

While I do have a preference for certain kinds of things, I like to try out different thing, in order to expand my possible base of knowledge, as well as get challenged, so I decided to check a book with an interesting title.

And after reading this book, I found myself mostly unimpressed.

While I like to talk about what I liked and hated, so that I can both judge things fairly and let people know that there things are not complete and utter trash, I have to accept that I must go a head and tear into things.

Unfortunately, this is one of those times where I must go right into what I hate, as following the status quo will not encourage improvement.

From the moment that I opened up and started reading this book, I have had troubles really getting myself invested enough that I actually wanted to read it all the way through.

As I have stated many times before, one of the most important things in a work of fiction is how the work begins, because if a reader can get into a work quickly, they will be much more likely to ignore even the most minor of problems.

Even though there are many ways to accomplish this, depending on the genre, medium, and the kind of story itself, the things that a work of prose, or, if you want to include the likes of Spice & Wolf, mostly prose works, needs to fulfill this is that the reader can draw images in their mind and that the writing comes off as interesting, even when the things seen within the pages are just the most mundane things that one can think of seeing.

However, this book completely and utterly failed in every possible way, as Jules’s writing in this book was so bad that I had troubles see anything and the mundane activities, like discussing how much a single seed can produce, as well as how many seeds a crop holds, comes off as boring as they would seem.

Seeing as Jules Verne is a pretty big name, with titles that everybody knows, though not exactly the kind of works that high schools and colleges probably study in a literature course, I thought that I would be in for a massive treat, but instead, I got something that I had more troubles with than A Certain Magical Index Volume 2.

If Jules Verne had put more effort into making things interesting, I would have been able to enjoy myself more, as I would have been able to enjoy it as much as I was hoping that I would.

Unfortunately, that Jules just seemed to put out whatever he wanted when he was alive.

Hopefully, this is the only book of his that was such a big disappointment in how it began, but I am not too sure that I would want to check out more of his work any time soon.

Another thing that I hated was how protagonists never really seemed to have any troubles.

While I was aware that the protagonists would succeed in whatever they do, which is something that is common in many works of fiction, I was hoping that they would have some interesting struggles, seeing as Project Gutenberg does label this as a story of adventure, as well as science fiction.

However, while reading through everything that seemed to be extremely tedious to the point where I thought I was getting a headache, there did not seem to be too many situations in which it was a struggle, because they either already knew a way around things, which might not be unrealistic for what life was like back in the 1800’s, or things miraculously happened.

When readers read works of fiction, they may enjoy seeing the main character succeed, seeing as we live in a world where people want to believe that good will always triumph, but they also want to see characters struggle, so that their happy ending can be earned, which is something else that I really wanted to see.

However, instead of witnessing all the struggles one would have on an island that had been discovered, the characters seemed to only have questions that were somehow resolved by some miracle that would make anime and manga fans complain about dues ex macahinas.

Now, some people might be wondering why I would liken all the miracles faced by the protagonists, because it does get explained, as well as adds to the mystery of the island itself, but that is why this is a big issue with me.

For the longest time in the book, the protagonists keep wondering who is helping them, and making me think that this Island is not uninhabited, which gave me a reason to read to end, but after the incident with some convicts coming out, one of the characters call out the name Captain Nemo, the submarine captain from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, as if it is the only thing that makes any sense and Captain Nemo rears his head, not giving these guys a hard time.

Really, Jules? There may have been some hints, like torpedos, but the way the whole thing came off just seemed like Jules Verne wrote himself into a corner and the only way that he could fix it was to bring somebody back from an older work, since this book did come after 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

If things were written a little better, they could have come off a lot better, and Nemo would still be able to stay in the story, but because Captain Nemo was quickly named as the person behind many of the things the protagonists and everything up until there seemed like it came out of thin air, I cannot really celebrate the victories of the protagonists.

Hopefully, people can use this book as a good reminder of why things cannot feel like they just came out of thin air, as readers want stories that make sense, but considering how there are still terrible stories told today, I do not really see things improving too much.

The thing that I hated the most though was how tedious and boring things felt.

When readers read, regardless of whether it is for fun or they are doing it to make a living, they want to be able to sit down and read a good book.

However, when the read feels tedious, the reader has no fun at all, and that hurts the writer’s chances of ever getting the income that they deserve.

Here, in this book, things were so boring and tedious that I just could not read the book for too long.

What the heck? I may have seen some terrible things in my time reading and watching various works of fiction, but I cannot really think of anything like this.

Normally, I tried to read as much as I can at a good pace, which means I can finish books in 1-2 days or, if it as long as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which clocks in at around 896 pages, according to the product page on Amazon, it can take 5 days or more, even if I like it.

However, while reading this book, I got a heavy urge to do something else, like play a game on the computer before I could even get through a third of the book.

This is not something that I or any other avid readers want to see, because we want to read something enjoyable, regardless of whether the work is old enough to be in public domain or not off the press.

Reading is supposed to be a relaxing activity and something that could be enjoyed, but if the reader feels like doing something other than reading, the writer completely and utterly failed to do what they were supposed to do, which makes the reader less impressed.

Hopefully, the next time I try out a book written by Jules Verne, I will be able to get something that I can enjoy, but that could be a while, since the horrible impression that this book gave me makes me want to stick with manga, light novels, and maybe one of the books Gosho Aoyama recommends at the end of every Detective Conan volume.

Thankfully, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly hated, aside from things that are too minor to complain about and things that could be shoe horned into what I already talked about, so I can at least walk away from this, relieved that I will not have to read it again.

While there were only three things that were problematic, and some of them were related, though I forgot to acknowledge it until now, each one was bad enough to make this one of the worst books I have read.

Considering how there was quite a bit to hate and things were bad enough that the good was overshadowed to the point where I could not even see it, this book was a complete waste of time.

I recommend everyone avoid this book like the plague, because it does not deliver anything anybody would want, unless you are a die hard Jules Verne fan.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider donating as little as $1/month to me on Patreon, so that I can find some worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.

Copyright © 2018 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.