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Having read almost nothing of Jules Verne previously, finding this volume of collected works on free download was quite the discovery. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I was a little disappointed to find the first book in the collection didn't capture my interest and was soon skipped over. But following that, I soon found myself engrossed in and captivated by the imaginative worlds set out by Verne, not to mention his (at times) deeply descriptive writing, especially at the introduction of new characters.
It didn't take long for me to realise that Jules Verne is a whole lot more than an accomplished writer and storyteller; I would, in fact, go so far as to say the man was a genius. His attention to detail is astounding: knowledge that is passed on through his works - in particular with regard to geography and sailing - is unbelievable; you have to remember that information and education wasn't at your fingertips back then - it had to discovered and written by hand, not simply assimilated from a computer database. And while the stories may have read just as well without the need to know exactly what ship's sails were cast and when, or the shape of a distant coastline, the wealth of detail regarding flora and fauna, people and places makes for interesting reading in itself. The theme of shipwrecked sailors surviving in unknown lands is something of a common recurrence, though it never becomes boring. I'm sure you can guess, though, that the endings are often somewhat predictable. 'Contains scenes of mild peril' is something of a cornerstone of Verne's works, generally meaning a favourable outcome for the hero of the hour.
The reason I have only rated this collection at four stars is the editing and proofreading, or should I say lack of: after the first few books, the typos are just too frequent to overlook and ignore; random punctuation, and the most obvious spelling mistakes makes it appear as though this was all put together from a handwritten manuscript, with its old-style cursive writing, with words guessed at and seen to be correct even at their most ridiculous. How on earth they weren't picked up by even the most basic of spell checkers on a word processor, I do not know. If this was put together professionally, as the item description claims, then those responsible for the work should be ashamed of themselves and start looking for other jobs. It's more than just embarrassing; it's disgraceful and shows a complete lack of respect to the efforts of the original author. But I would urge others to try and overcome their frustration and keep reading, no matter how difficult that may be.
With the books in chronological order, it's interesting to see how the writing style changes to suit world development: sailing boats become steam-powered; the introduction of motor vehicles, and the amazement at their ability to reach the breakneck speed of thirty miles per hour. Even pens! One thing that did initially shock me was Verne's sometimes regular use of what is now thought of as unacceptable and racist terms, especially in reference to black people; it took me a while to realise that this was very much accepted 150 years ago, but it may make you feel a little uncomfortable at times
While not every single book in this collection was powerful enough to hold my interest, I would like to recommend one in particular as a must-read - 'Mathias Sandorf'. The story of a man who is captured for inciting a revolution, escapes and reinvents himself to seek revenge on those who planned his demise is one of the most intriguing books I've ever read.
While Old English can often be verbose and difficult to read, it would seem that Old French was not; the writing flows well, despite the atrocious editing, and it's very much apparent that Jules Verne had a fantastic sense of humour as some parts genuinely made me laugh out loud. I can well imagine that many people will have been honoured to have called him a friend.
This collection of marvellous books absolutely deserves to be on your Kindle.
After reading several reviews about this my hysband said he would like ot eventually have them on his Kindle and so as he speaks, I plot and buy . He loved these and now he has a little something to read every night and Jules Verne: The Complete Collection, fit the ticket nicely and he really does love his works so win-win for me . And with so many pages to read it will keep up nicely with the other I bought for him.
This collection is great for reading on long plane flights or while waiting for this or that. It goes way beyond the stories that have become locked in the popular imagination. However, I was looking in particular for one story from late in Jules Verne's career, "The Lighthouse at the End of the World". I had visited a site on the Costa Brava in Spain where the movie version was filmed in 1971 ("Light at the Edge of the World", starring Kirk Douglas and Yule Brenner). Both the book and the movie are difficult to come by.
Been reading Verne since I was a kid. He makes his mistakes - what do you expect? Technology and science both have changed quite a bit since he wrote. So have the exotic countries he describes. But what keeps him going, most of the time, are his characters. Hey, and a good deal, too!
I just finished reading 20,000 Leagues and it was abridged. It did tell you when paragraphs were missing. I was very disappointed. It does have a good collection of stories, not sure if they are abridged too.