Treasure Island Book Review
Hello everybody, Shaun Meyers here to share my thoughts on a classic book called Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Disclaimer: I purchased the book from my local library so I didn’t receive it for free.
Treasure Island is a pirate themed adventure novel that has gone on to inspire a great many pirate themed books, tv shows and movies.
Story and Characters
The story follows a young man named Jim Hawkins who runs an inn with his mother called the Admiral Benbow. Jim’s world is turned upside down when he meets a pirate by the name of Captain Billy Bones. When the captain suddenly dies Jim discovers a packet that has a map to the notorious (And ruthless) Captain Flint’s buried treasure.
Jim, Dr. Livesey and his squire set out on a journey to acquire Captain Flint’s treasure. Unbeknownst to them, their new cook, Long John Silver, is secretly the former quartermaster for Flint’s crew. The seemingly friendly cook turns out to be a treacherous, yet wily, mutineer that insights a mutiny upon arrival on the island.
Long John Silver is the inspiration for many a wooden legged pirate, including Captain Hook from Peter Pan. His constant mood/personality shifts from being overly nice, to quite bloodthirsty, made him a unique and ever changing character. His unique relationship with Jim also proves quite complex.
There are two other characters that become staples in the story as well including squire John Trelawney, and Captain Alexander Smollett to round out the main characters. Side characters that you’ll meet throughout the book include Black Dog, Pew, Benjamin Gunn, Israel Hands and Tom Redruth to name a few.
The characters that you meet throughout the story are unique and varied. Each with their own unique personalities and goals. They’re each portrayed incredibly well, if a bit stereotypical but this is one of many stories that developed the whole pirate stereotype so, unsurprising.
The story also features/mentions many real world historical people, battles and locations. There are mentions of real world pirates including Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, and Edward England to name a few. The 350,000 and the pieces of eight that’s mentioned by Silver’s parrot is related to the salvage of the 1715 Treasure Fleet and the discovery of the pieces of eight by privateer Henry Jennings the following year
My Thoughts and Feelings on the Book
I’m a pretty big fan of pirate themed stuff but surprisingly this was the first time I’d ever read the book. Going into the book, I already knew the major characters because of other forms of media such as movies and games (Monkey Island is inspired by the book for example). It’s also difficult to not know who Long John Silver is because he’s easily one of the most favorite pirates ever created. Even if you’ve never read the book, you’ve likely heard his name before (There’s even a restaurant chain named after him).
The book was highly entertaining and definitely one of the best pirate themed books that I’ve read so far. Jim’s journey is a treacherous one but he was a brave and often courageous lad throughout the entire book. He often outwitted pirates that were much stronger than him.
The story kept me engaged throughout and it had me looking forward to seeing what happened next, each time I put it down to go to sleep.
If you’ve never read the book before I highly recommend taking the trip to Treasure Island. It’s a superb journey and one that I can’t recommend enough. If you fancy pirate stories filled with buried treasure, treachery and wily (Often crazy) pirates, then you’re in our a treat here.
Thanks for reading this short review for Treasure Island folks. I’ll be back with my next review soon, until then, happy gaming folks!
Shaun Meyers out!
Bonus Section (Research)
I did a little research on the book as well and discovered some interesting facts about the book. If interested in learning more, check out the book’s Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Island
As mentioned, the book inspired a great many stories in the late 19th century following its release. Not only did it inspire the pirate genre but it also inspired the treasure hunting genre too. Books that took inspiration from Treasure Island include The Gold Bug by Edgar Allen Poe, Peter Pan by J.M Barrie, and King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard.
One interesting fact that I discovered about the book is that it was originally serialized in a children’s magazine called Young Folks under the title: Treasure Island, or the mutiny of the Hispaniola. The magazine version didn’t generate a large following but when the story became a novel it was an instant hit among young boys/men. The book was so popular that the publisher of the magazine asked Stevenson to write another story which came to be called The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses.
The book has also had a very large impact on the public perception of pirates as well. Themes that influenced it greatest were treasure maps marked with an X, schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands and one-legged pirates with pirates on their shoulders. You see many of these themes in pretty much any pirate themed story, movie, tv show, game that you come across.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson$7.95
Features of Interest
- Great Cast of Unique Characters
- Very Entertaining Throughout
- Great Story That Had Me Looking Forward To Seeing What Happened Next
- Helped Push the Pirate Genre Forward and Created the Treasure Hunting Genre
- It's a Great Read, I highly Recommend It
- It's A Bit Stereotypical Towards Pirate (It Helped Cement the Stereotype)