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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Book Review: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea | by Jules Verne

An Underwater Adventure I Won't Soon Forget (Spoiler Warning)

There were many things Jules Verne did well in this novel. Two of the things I personally enjoyed, were his characterizations, and his imagery. The way you see Captain Nemo through the eyes of Professor Aronnax gives such a great and ominous view of him. Respect, horror; and yet you sense that Professor Aronnax takes quiet a liking to Captain Nemo. While not sharing the captain's world view, he finds an admiration for Captain Nemo as a colleague in the science of the sea, and as a fellow admirer of fine art, which Nemo has in the Nautilus's museum. Ned Land, the Canadian was a great character to have in the story, because he was like the one normal dude. He keeps things relatable to the average reader like me, who doesn't know all about marine science, and the like. His goals are the same as what the reader's would be if in his shoes. There are a few great haunting images I took with me after finishing this book. The underwater funeral at the coral graveyard. It had such a solemn and somber mood, being underwater, how much more silent can you get? It reminded me of when one of your wingmen died on the SNES game Wing Commander, one of my favorite games of all time, you would see them hold a silent funeral, on the outside of the ship in space suits, sending off the coffin into space with a gun salute. Just the sheer lack of sound out it space, is just like being underwater in this book. I also really liked the environment of the saloon and library onboard Captain Nemo's ship, the Nautilus, and the description of Dr. Aronnax sneaking through it as Captain Nemo plays on his Organ. What an intense, yet quite scene. I also really liked a scene where these two are high above the city of Atlantis, looking down. There are many scenes of quiet wonder, where you can picture yourself in the narrative, taking it all in, such wonder around you that you have no words to speak. Moments where it seems time has slowed down, and you just know it's going to be a memory you take with you once you leave. You should listen to The Alchemy Index: Vol. II Water by Thrice while reading this book, they go very well together, it is like a perfect soundtrack to the novel. You should also read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson while listening to this album, they share some themes, but 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Thrice album have the same tone, and go so well together. They have much of the same feeling, somber. You can feel the quite wonder of the unending sea, and the massive world that lies beneath it. The ending of this book seemed like a really weak cop out to me, it was very disappointing, but somehow it didn't ruin the book for me as some bad endings have. It was an awesome exciting big build up, and then a huge cop out, but it didn't take away all the great things that happened in Act II of the book. I would read it again, even knowing the ending, just to go on that great journey under the sea one more time.

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