Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

After my pleasant experience reading the classic Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, I had no doubt that the same mind which had concocted the world in it would have the same mesmerising effect in the well known 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

How wrong I was.

Plot

To my great dismay, this was not a book about a submarine-like vehicle travelling 20,000 leagues vertically below the surface of the sea to discover a living, enchanting, secret civilisation. Rather it was a sort of sea tourism where the reader is hauled 20,000 leagues along the sea.

There is no doubt that the Nautilus itself is magnificent in what it does and how it is designed (I was seriously impressed by the pseudo-science behind the vessel), but the mystery and awe of it does not extend much further. This book is essentially marine tourism with psuedo science and engineering sprinkled in.

Characters

As expected from Jules Verne, among the characters feature a noble, mysterious and charismatic leader. In this case we see this as Captain Nemo. Funnily enough he is not the protagonist, but he is clearly the focus of attention. The part of faithful servant (much like Passeportout in Around the World in 80 Days) is played by Conseil, who gives the same loyal feeling as the previously mentioned book.

For getting a feel of their personalities, you will not find much lacking; but it is the notable lack of fleshed out development which really hurts these characters.

Readability

If you enjoy being described to the different types of marine and coral life, or the brilliance of an iceberg in literally pages, then look no further than this book. Just don’t expect to have a mythical adventure along the way.

There occurred occasions along the journey where I honestly thought that the real story would begin. But each new hope of a plot twist died down as quickly as it came. The closer I edged towards the end of the book, the more it began to sink in that the ending I was looking for, the thrill I experienced in Around the World in 80 days was nowhere to be found here.

Ending

To add some insult to injury, the book closes off with no definitive ending. What happens to the strong willed and noble Captain Nemo? Is the mighty Nautilus still piercing through the ocean? Who exactly was the Captain and what was his story?

Essential questions like this being left unanswered leave an air of betrayal to the reader.

I appreciate that this book was written to cater towards a specific subset of people, but I am assured that I am not of them.

If you want fantasy and mythical adventure, dont be fooled by the title and look elsewhere!

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