Inferno by Dan Brown

You have probably read or watched the Da Vinci Code by the famous author Dan Brown, who created an extraordinary character mirroring himself. But, here comes the greatest escapist read ever! If you are chomping at the bit for some crossover action reads with amazing intellectual cliffhangers, definitely check out his Inferno!

Featuring the well-known Harvard professor Robert Langdon, an incredibly intelligent and adventurous expert in the study of symbols, Inferno sets its scenes in Florence, the city of renaissance and mystery. Lying in the local hospital, the professor was half-conscious with no recollection of the past events. A series of accidents lead him to a resourceful doctor of the hospital — maybe a little too resourceful. Sienna Brooks is the new “Sophie Neveu”, only that she is a more intelligent female with a great many secrets. Together, the two goes on a treacherous journey in order uncover the hidden messages revealed in arts, details, and hints from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Through the adventure, the team meets various characters that makes them doubt the true purpose and direction of this mission, including the meddling of the Consortium, the World Health Organization, as well as a female assassin’s relentless pursuit. But in the end, we find out that everything is but a pre-planned “coincidence.” Protagonists become antagonists, and the antagonists are not what we think who they are…

Nobody is more skilled in plot twist and global conspiracies than Dan Brown. I am mesmerized by his usage of symbols, analogies, and innuendos. He is able to incorporate such a massive amount of historical knowledge into a science-related thriller that reflects his distinct view of current crises and schemes 

“Nothing is more creative…nor destructive…than a brilliant mind with purpose.”

-Kate L.

Inferno by Dan Brown is available for checkout form the Mission Viejo Library

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, A Translation by Simon Armitage

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This was the required summer reading assignment for my sophomore year. No matter how unwilling I was to open this book, I had to. When I first started reading, I thought I bought the wrong book in the wrong language, because it turned out that the left side of this translation was the original Medieval English. However, as my eyes skimmed through the lines of words and rhymes, I had a quite different idea about this poem.

The story was written by an unknown author in the Middle Ages, and its only manuscript was found in the house of an early seventeenth-century Yorkshireman. As one of the most significant representation of Arthurian romance, this piece of work is beyond valuable.

Gawain was King Arthur’s niece, the perfect representation of chivalry and honor. As the most notable knight of the Round Table, Gawain’s fame was known throughout the entire country. Nevertheless, there were countless people who wanted to challenge such a fine knight, and the mysterious Green Knight was one of them. This adventurous tale of Sir Gawain was woven between love and trickery, courage and danger, as well as Christianity and paganism. It not only taught me a pragmatic lesson on morality as it did to Gawain, it also brought to me a whole new perspective on the alliterative verses of the Middle English literature.

So, my dear readers, the next time your English teachers assigned you a reading assignment, don’t be a hater like I was. We all read differently and think differently, and that is the beauty of literature. Try to appreciate the joy and excitement that it gives us!

-Kate L.

Simon Armitage’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I was first attracted to this book because of the cover. However, this book is definitely worth more than just the outside.

The story begins within the thoughts of Juliette, the girl who was locked up in an asylum for almost a whole year, under the tyrannical supremacy of the Reestablishment. The only object that kept her from becoming insane was a notebook.

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. i lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction…”

Just then, the appearance of a boy that existed in her buried memories altered everything, most importantly, it had given her hope. But she knew that nothing could be a coincidence, and it has proved to be true. Juliette is no ordinary girl. She is a walking weapon. And the Reestablishment has plans for her long long time ago.

Tahereh Mafi’s unique journal-like writing style for the main character has brought me into the book right from the start. Unlike any other book that I’ve read, the strikethroughs in Juliette’s journal gave me a closer insight into her own erratic thoughts and of the chaotic dystopian world. with endless fear.

Fear, for the world and for her own power and what she might do, Juliette lived a life full of of shadows. Just as the propagandas of the Reestablishment, the idea of her being a monster has carved deeply into her mind and the others.

Only two people thought of that differently. The two people who craved to have her, craved to want her to join their sides.

Two people who are utterly different.

Who will Juliette choose?

The details of this book and the progressive plot has overwhelmed me. I witnessed the drastic change in Juliette from a weak and powerless girl to an unforgettable heroine who stood up against authority.

But does she know that she is not alone?

Lastly, I would like to end my review of the book with these words written by Juliette in her only journal:

“Hope is hugging me, holding me in its arms, wiping away my tears and telling me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I;m so delirious I actually dared to believe it…”

-Kate L.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.