Originally published September 30th, 2012
I can see why this book isn’t as well known as some of Verne’s other works. It took considerably longer to get interesting than other works I’ve read, and until the last 100 pages only managed that sporadically. Verne spent buckets of time on the particular details of how to smelt your own iron with handmade tools while on a desert island; time I feel would have been better spent advancing the plot. I do appreciate details of setting and character, but since I’m not an engineer most of the tool fabrication was lost on me. I also didn’t realize that engineers were the culmination of all that was good, brave, wise, and knowledgeable in the world. Verne’s idolization of Smith was amusing at first, and got irritating quickly after that. He had no flaws! Nobody is perfect, so why make your character perfect? Give him bad gas or something.
I was impressed by the surprise ending, which was an event I never even suspected. Very well done.
Overall, not my favorite of Verne’s works, but not the worst thing I’ve read by a long shot.