“As long as the heart beats, as long as your body and soul keep together, I cannot admit that any creature endowed with a will has need to despair of life”
I thought this book was brilliant and superbly well written by Venre as I will summarise below.
It follows 3 main characters:-
1) Professor Lidenbrock: a scientific genius who does not know when to quit even when the odds are less than 1% of success.
2) His Nephew, Axel: our narrator – written in a similar way to Conon-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes or Leroux’s – Joseph Routabille stories. The insider following and reporting on the bizarre genius of the main character. He is also highly intelligent but worries a bit too much. He is the more human/ emotional character is this death-defying adventure.
3) Hans: Our trusty hunter, servant, side-kick who is quiet, composed and saves every-ones life about 3 times.
I analysed this book as having 3 divisions in the way the story was created and therefore progressed.
To begin with – decoding a bizarre cipher, establishing the plot and the build up to the mission ending up in Iceland.
Secondly, a quite somber, despondent and slow segment about our gang penetrating the Earth via volcano and happenings in the seedy under-passages in the world’s crust. One scene truly stood out for me here which raised the tempo. Axel finds himself lost from his crew with no rations, no light – really no hope. This scene was harrowing and claustrophobic as a reader we obviously put ourselves in that nightmare scenario. That was gripping.
Finally, about the last 40% is all full of over enthusiastic energy and vigour and it is great. It is a superbly paced narrative at this point including scenes of seeing fighting prehistoric monsters, being lost at sea in unbelievable and intense electric storms and if that all wasn’t fun enough – to conclude they get rip-roaringly catapulted out of a volcano!! The book has some great set pieces.
For some people, I can see it is not an easy read. It is very science-based and used so much specialist language that it could put people off. I have said previously that this wasn’t an issue to me as I believe the effort you put into a book rewards the overall outcome. I am not a scientist but if I want to be in this world I have to adapt, enjoy and sometimes even learn the relevant terminology to get into the characters minds.
The first 2 sections I mentioned were 4-stars. The final section is 6 star – hence the review. It is reminiscent of Conon-Doyle’s adventure tale The Lost World but instead of Professor Challenger and friends going up a formation/ mountain to find an amazing world, Professor Lidenbrock and chums do the opposite and go down.
I think this was free or about £0.99 on kindle so definitely worth picking up. I will hopefully read another of the Extraordinary Voyages books soon and hope they follow in the same vein.