Luann's Reviews > The Mysterious Island

The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
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's review
Dec 21, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: lost-lit, classics, 2010, adult, audio
Read from February 09 to April 29, 2010

I never would have finished this if it wasn't on the Lost Lit List. It was just too long, not enough happened that I cared about, and I didn't care about the characters all that much. Herbert was probably my favorite.

The beginning was FAR too unbelievable. Why did Verne make such a big deal of them having absolutely nothing - one match, one grain of corn, a sharp edge they created by using the dog's collar? From that and the resources of the island, they create huge pots, iron-tipped spears, and a pickax! All in a VERY short period of time - with no problems whatsoever. Even Brian (of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet) had his hatchet and still had trouble collecting enough wood to keep his fire going. These guys collected enough wood to fire a kiln with just their bare hands. I kept telling myself, "Fantasy. Think of it as a fantasy." But it wasn't written that way. Verne really asked me to suspend my disbelief - but I wasn't enjoying it enough to go along easily.

There are a lot of Lost connections. As I was listening to this, I asked myself why I was so bothered with some of the things when the same exact thing didn't bother me on Lost? For example, I kept thinking, "Why don't they explore the entire island? Maybe there are people around on the other side and they just don't know because they haven't bothered to go looking." But then I never thought that on Lost. I think one reason is that Lost quickly got busy with all sorts of mysterious and unexplainable yet very interesting things happening while these guys were quickly making pots and tools and bricks for their mansion in an underground cavern. In fact, these guys kept themselves so busy, they hardly even noticed the mysterious happenings on their island until they had been there for more than two years, which is two-thirds of the way through the 750+ page book.

One similarity to Lost that I thought was fun was trying to send a message for help with a bird. Of course it didn't work on Lost OR on the Mysterious Island.

On the plus side, I did learn about some animals I'd never heard of such as the dugong and the onager. And I did start enjoying it more towards the end. Some exciting things did happen. Although, I have to say that the part with Captain Nemo was much too long coming and was over MUCH too quickly! I'm giving this three stars since it did get better as it went along, but for much of it I wanted to give it two or maybe 2.5 stars.

(I listened to the Librivox recording by Mark F. Smith. He does a nice job and has a pleasant voice.)
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Reading Progress

02/09/2010 page 1
0.14% "My second of 10 classics planned for this year."
02/17/2010 page 177
24.48% "A fun example of how geometry can be used in a "real-life" situation!"
02/24/2010 page 227
31.4% "Bricks and rope and vast quantities of huge pots suddenly appear out of next-to-nothing! And now a BOTTLE of nitroglycerin?" 3 comments
03/20/2010 page 504
69.71% "Long, long, long."
03/26/2010 page 529
73.17% "At last! They've noticed that the island is mysterious!" 1 comment
03/30/2010 page 567
78.42% "Pirates! Finally something exciting." 2 comments
04/29/2010 page 768
100% "Finished! At last! I finished! :)"
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Cindy I just couldn't suspend disbelief long enough to start getting to the good stuff. It was just so silly to imagine them thriving when, as you said, they arrived with practically nothing. And that one kernel of corn germinates, and they are somehow able to harvest all that food? Please. Then the orangutan showed up and that was so darn silly that I just couldn't read any further.

Luann I agree, Cindy! I would have given up if it wasn't on the Lost Lit List and if I hadn't planned on it for my goal of 10 classics this year. Some people really like the book, though! I've had several people tell me it's their favorite by Verne - or even one of their favorite classics!

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