Published in: 1874
Genre: Fiction, mystery, adventure
Book #: Standalone book
5 men are stranded on a deserted island, after a daring escape from a town under hostage during the American Civil War. The island, as they soon learn, is a mysterious yet accommodating place, and they soon create a home for them, along the way coming up against instances that suggest a supernatural force may be at work, or that the Gods may be watching them closely.
I have loved Verne’s other works that I’ve read- Around the world in 80 days was fantastic and fun, and 20,000 leagues under the sea was surprisingly entertaining, even with all the nautical/maritime mumbo jumbo lingo. But this book, I just could not get into. I just hated it all the way through. I think one of my biggest issues was how easy it was for the 5 men stranded on this island. They were the perfect blend of men, having the ideal backgrounds to allow for them to exist and thrive on this island. As if that was unbelievable enough (I mean, they know how to find, create and use minerals and metals, from the base rock element, all the way through to actual firearms. That is just… unbelievable.), they also seem to almost ask for something and the island provides. No ammo? No problem, a box just washed up on the beach filled with ammo. Lose one of your party? No problems, the dog that somehow survived with you through the storm has magically picked up on the lost man’s scent and can not only find him, and his way back to you lot, but then show you where to go. In a storm. On an island he has never been on before.
Seriously, if you are going to make a story this unbelievable, there had better be unicorns somehow involved.
Although, it did get me introduced to an extinct animal I had never heard of before, called a Quagga. It’s a zebra-horse like creature, and there is a project in the works to try and breed these creatures back into existence. Yup. It’s true. Googles it.
Also, I got annoyed when I learnt who the supernatural force was on the island. May as well have named this book 20,000 leagues under the sea: the unnecessary sequel.
Oh, apparently this is based on the “true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived alone for almost five years on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile”. The things you learn. Bet he didn’t have half as much luck as these dudes did. Since they are all clearly some kind of bloody wizards (Or so I have now decided).
The mysterious island rating: 5/10. Too long, too unbelievable, too unlikable. Verne should have stopped at 20,000 leagues under the sea.
Would I re-read it? Probably not. It was really quite long, and with little reward. Plus I just really hated all the characters. You generally should not root for characters to die… and yet, I did. Many times.
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of Verne’s work, possibly. Others may enjoy this, but I just found too many issues with it to enjoy. It may be that I am far too cynical sometimes, but I just cannot believe some of the things that went on in this story.
If you happen to want to read the book, you can download it free from many sites, including Goodreads.
I also just learnt that the movie, Journey 2 (The one with the Rock in it) is based on this book. I never knew. I knew the first Journey movie (Journey to the centre of the earth) was based on Verne’s book of the same name, but it never clicked that the second movie was based on another of his books. I may have to check it out then… see how this compares to the book.