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Journey to the Center of the Earth

by Jules Verne
240 pages, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Jenny

A magnificent read with theistic evolution.

Plot

Axel’s eccentric uncle, a famed mineralogist from Germany, discovers a mysterious Icelandic manuscript written by an ancient scientist—a scientist who claims to have traveled through the earth to its centre. Now nothing less will satisfy Axel’s uncle than to follow in the ancient scientist’s footsteps, and nothing will satisfy Axel more than to commit his uncle to an asylum. Reluctant, and following a madman, Axel chronicles his adventure with his uncle and their Icelandic guide down to depths untold—and to wonders unseen.

Morality

Axel has moments when he considers leaving his uncle, but these are always subdued with feelings of self-deprecation on the young narrator’s part. Otherwise, the question of morality is never really addressed.

Spiritual Content

The characters hold a curious, mixed belief in a developing earth and a Creator. They believe the earth is ages old, and that life began quite simply, gradually becoming more and more complex; at the same time it must be noted that they unquestioningly hold to the reality of God.

Violence

In his wanderings, Axel manages to bang himself up, but nothing is serious, and nothing is described in detail.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Some alcohol is drunk, but never to excess.

Sexual Content

Axel’s fiancée kisses him on the cheek before his departure.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

‘D**n’ is said a few times, and ‘Good Lord!’ once.

Conclusion

For a book starring two confirmed mineralogists, this book is far from dull. Verne brings the recesses of earth’s interior to light in the reader’s imagination following the accounts of young Axel. Despite the old-earth mentality posed by the author, the book remains a delight to read. Every character is vivid, every turn of the adventure distinct and breath-taking, making this book a masterpiece of early science-fiction.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3
Written for Age: 13+

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