Classic Literature. Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML: Although The Mysterious Island is technically a sequel to Vernes' enormously popular Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, this novel offers a vastly different take on similar thematic motifs. As with all of Verne's best-known works, The Mysterious Island is a masterpiece of the action-adventure genre, with a heaping dash of science fiction influence thrown in for good measure..
Original publication date
The story begins with 5 prisoners; an engineer, a sailor, a reporter, a servant, and a young man along with a very bright dog; traveling in a hot air balloon to escape imprisonment during the Civil War. They are thrown onto an island that isn't listed on any maps and well out of the way for any ships in the Pacific to go by. They even go on a short trip to a close but un-useful island to help a castaway. For four long years these escapees have to start from nothing to make themselves a civilized dwelling. They create everything from a house in granite rock and a garden and an animal farm to any mechanism they might need to create something to survive with. They spend their days working and building and creating all the necessities as well as some wants. They build two ships and at the last second when they fear death, they are saved. There are references to 20,000 leagues under the seas and captain Nemo as well as historical things.
The story is long but with all the details you learn not only to feel like you know the islanders but also enough to see their surroundings and feel their anxieties. There is adventure, camaraderie, pirates, survival, and many other things all wrapped up in this amazing classic.
The exploits of Cyrus Harding and the other men on Lincoln Island were sheer, unadulterated adventure yet achievable by any other men placed on the same island with naught but companions. That was perhaps the underlying intrigue of the book to me as I have spent many an hour contemplating the means I would need to accomplish to survive in the wilderness.
Ultimately, I was dismayed by the lack of wit and mental acuity that Verne often imparts to her other characters. I found the verbal bantering and conversations dull and lacking in even the most simple of intellect. If I was to survive among such fellows whose chief concerns where often superfluous goods like tobacco, I would almost undoubtedly go insane just for sheer want of solitude. Perhaps that is where Harding succeeded and I would not.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of the book was the end. Not wishing to discourage those who are yet reading from finishing rather warning them of impending disappoint. I thought there was some higher purpose to the almost magical happenings of the Mysterious Island, yet the climax’s lack of substance enraged me to the point that I was ready to fly in balloon to my own island intent in providing a better explanation of the mysteries of the island than Verne’s advertising campaign that filled the last pages of a disappointing work of literature.
First of all, the book is too long. Verne may be many things, but "concise" is surely not one of them, at least as far as this work goes. Next, while the basic story line is excellent (castaways on an unknown island), Verne's characters are incredibly formulaic
An excellent book for children or young adults. However, if you are looking for depth of character or any degree of sophistication, better go elsewhere.
The Mysterious Island is the ultimate Jules Verne's masterpiece. It tells about five castaways in an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, driven by a storm
Yes, this might sounds like Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Doyle's The Lost World and other similar stories, but Verne's description is more....complete, adventurous, imaginative, rich with interesting details (hell, he can even make the process of making pottery and iron tools sounds rather fascinating). Plus, Verne's books are classic science fictions with amazing grand visions. Yeah yeah, there's that HG Wells guy, but he's nothing compared with Verne, believe me.
The ending (which explains why the island is mysterious) is superb and kinda shocking to me. If you're an avid Jules Verne's reader, you'll know what I mean. Hint: character cross-over.