Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The main reason I gave this novel five stars is because it is a classic, it is Jules Verne, the Father of Science Fiction (although I like Mary Shelley as the Mother of Sci-Fi), and the characterization was beautifully done. Yes, the plot is slow moving and buried in the entertainment of description, but consider the time: this book was published shortly after the American Civil War, the oceans of the world were still unknown, undiscovered, and misunderstood (not much has changed on that last subject), and people wanted intense and long descriptions of things, esp. if they included descriptions of the unknown.
Some say Captain Nemo is the perfect villain, but to me, he is not really a villain, but an imperfect and almost insane anti-hero (for more on that, read Verne's The Mysterious Island). I loved every mind-numbing page until the end (spoiler alert).
The end was quick, contrived, and unsatisfactory. I believe Verne may have ran out of things to say, had no idea how to end Captain Nemo and the Nautilus, or it was his editor's error. After reading such wonderful descriptions, struggling to maintain the plot, only to have Nemo and the Nautilus disappear in the Maelstrom, while the main protagonist, Professor Aronnax, is knocked unconscious, only to wake up safe and sound in a shack with his companions, Ned Land and Conseil, was a complete let down. Disney did it better (watch it if you have the chance).
Good things: it is a classic, the language well-written, and its a cheap read, either via Nook/Kindle, or picking up a hard copy.
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