Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne

Guest Review by Malachi G.

There is molten magma at the center of the earth. A very true statement. Or, is it? On the 24th of May, 1863, Axel’s life changed forever. His uncle, Professor Lidenbrock, came back to his house in Hamburg, Germany, with a strange piece of parchment with some weird characters on it. After they decoded it, they learned that it said, “Descend into the crater of Sneffels Yokul, over which the shadow of Scartaris falls before the kalends of July, bold traveller and you will reach the centre of the earth. I have done this. Arne Saknussemm.”

Axel did not want to go on this adventure. However, his uncle did. They left immediately, as it was June, and by the time they arrived in Iceland, it would be nearing the end of July. Once they got there, they had to hire a guide for climbing the volcano. His name was Hans, and he spoke mostly Dutch. Axel spoke only German and a little bit of Latin, but luckily his uncle was fluent in Hans’s language. They started gathering supplies, such as food, water, pickaxes, and anything that might be useful underground. Except for Hans, who walked long distances often, they all left riding horses.

The author of this book is trying to teach that perseverence will lead to success. The characters have to persevere through many difficulties. In the end, Axel and his uncle learn to work together to survive to make it to the surface.

There were many risks they had to take during this adventure to the center of the earth. When Hans, Axel, and Professor Lidenbrock got to the top of Sneffels, there were three chimneys through which lava once flowed. They had to wait for a few days, because there were too many clouds in the sky to see the shadow. One day when it was sunny, they were able to see the shadow pointing at one of the chimneys. It was at this point that they started the long trek to the center of the earth. They walked along the path, which was was slanted downwards at a steep angle. Their water started running low after coming back after a wrong turn. If they didn’t find some soon, they would die of dehydration. Luckily, they found a spot in the wall where there was water running behind it. They hit the wall with their pickaxes until the water started pouring out. It created a stream that went down the tunnel, showing them where to go. Consequently, they followed it until they reached an underwater ocean. They build a raft, and sailed across it, then explored everywhere, finding things that were thought to be extinct, a giant forest of mushrooms, and more.

I liked this book because in it there is lots of adventure, and it kept me reading until the last page. The characters are all very interesting, all of them having very different views of this adventure. Axel at first doesn’t want to go, but he starts becoming interested in this journey, wondering what is at the center of the earth. Despite Axel’s reluctance, his uncle is very excited, and is willing to go until they get to the center of the earth even if it kills all of them. Will they ever make it back to the surface? Read Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne, to find out.