We left off in Journey to the Center of the Earth with Henry and his uncle reaching the opening to the center of the earth, ready to face the unknown. When they go through the opening, they see a vast sea that seems endless, which they coin the Central Sea. The decide to try and cross it to see if there is another side to the interior of the earth. After many days in which Henry keeps a journal about their voyage on the sea, they actually end up on the same coast they started on, not taking the wind, sea monsters, and currents into consideration. The troupe decides to explore what there is on the mainland, where they see giant mushrooms, prehistoric animals that should be extinct, and the most chilling-piles of bones. They find a sign marked by Arne Saknussemm, the person who started this whole journey by writing the ancient Icelandic in the journal, and they decide to blast through the thick granite wall. However, the space behind the rock is just a giant hole, not another passageway deeper into the earth. The three travelers are swept away on their raft into the tunnels of the underground and discover that they are going to soon encounter lava. They come to find out that they are in the shaft of an active volcano that is going to be erupting soon, but the hard part is trying to deduce where they are going to land, since they have no concept of where they are under the earth. They are shot upward and outward into what they come to find out is Stromboli, Italy. I google mapped the distance between the place where they started out (Reykjavik, Iceland) to where they ended up and it is a grand total of 2,312 miles! In the end, they make their way back to Hamburg, Germany where Professor Hardwigg becomes world-renowned and Henry marries his niece, Gretchen. Yeah, his niece.
What I love in a book is when the dates or days of the week are exactly laid out and easy to follow. It is easier for me to read a book when it is in some sort of chronological order, I’m sure there are other people out there just like me, right? This novel does a fantastic job of saying the exact dates of events, you know right when they left for the journey, and the exact date they returned, no need for guesswork. I also love how this book is so scientific. At first, I didn’t think I would understand a word of it since science isn’t really a point of interest to me. However, this book takes some complicated scientific concepts and puts them in layman’s terms. The measurements (like how many miles they had traveled) were also very easy to follow, you know, until they figured out they weren’t exactly in Iceland anymore at the end. It is almost like Verne was writing this novel in the hopes people would do exactly as it said. If you read this book with an open mind and regarded it as a how-to guide to travel to the center of the earth, you would have everything you would need. Well, you would also need supplies, oh wait! Verne clearly states that in the beginning chapters! Just make sure you have a compass that points in the opposite direction. Overall, this book was spectacular. For a nerdy person like me, it hit high marks with it’s easy to understand explanations and the fact that it was made for nerdy people like me! It made me want to go on an adventure and I can see why it is my boyfriend’s favorite classic novel. I will leave you with a quote from the book, stated right before they start their journey: “Et quacunque viam dederit fortuna sequamur.” (“And whichsoever way thou goest, may fortune follow.”)