Gold and Mutiny in Treasure Island | Book Review


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Classic, Fiction, Adventure
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Published: 1883
Pages: 183 (paperback)

First thoughts
I’m so glad I’ve finally read this, Robert Louis Stevenson never disappoints. This is a swashbuckling adventure if ever there was one. Once you wrap your head around the older English used by Stevenson, it’s a fun story full to the brim with pirates.

What’s it about?
This is the story of Jim Hawkins and his adventures aboard the Hispaniola to plunder some treasure from Treasure Island. After an encounter with a drunken and rather intimidating pirate at the inn that he runs with his parents, Jim finds himself in possession of a treasure map and, eventually, a motley crew with whom he’ll go a-sailing to see what spot X is marking.

It’s a tale of back-stabbing, secrets, friendship, loyalty and adventure, and it’s rather entertaining. This book came up with some of my favourite insults I’ve ever heard, which I have included in this review for your enjoyment.

“You are so confoundedly hot-headed and exclamatory that I cannot get a word in.”

The story largely takes place once the crew arrives at Treasure Island, and just about everything that could go wrong, does. Whispers of mutiny put everyone on edge, and our main character Jim has a heart of gold but the impulsive mind of a teenager, which makes for some very interesting decision making to solve mutinous problems.

We follow most of the story from Jim’s perspective, but some of my other favourite characters that I enjoyed spending time with were the doctor and Long John Silver, of course. Nothing thrills a reader more than a morally grey character. Surely Silver wins the crown of the most morally grey character that ever was written. Or at least he deserves an honourable mention for being one of the originals.

“But dash my buttons!”

Why you should read this
There’s just something wonderful about reading a story that was written nearly 200 years ago and being able to enjoy the bombastic prose that is so highly strung with scheming it’s impossible not to fall in love with it.

“But as for that intolerable humbug, I declare I think his conduct unmanly, unsailorly, and downright un-English.”

Plus for goodness sakes, this is the OG pirate story! (is it? I haven’t actually checked, but run with it). We have pirates in every shape and form, with fights taking place upon the strangest of stages and unfurling in unpredictable ways. My personal favourite is the sideways scrabble between Jim and Hands as a ship gracefully maroons itself upon the beach. It doesn’t get more Jack Sparrow than that!

Final thoughts
If I haven’t convinced you yet, then let me simply say if you’re willing to read classic fiction, this is a great place to take the chance. Once you pull aside the sometimes annoying curtain of oddly constructed 19th-century English, you’ll find a story you can put down tucked safely between the pages of this book.

“Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

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