Book Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima, is the first book within the Seven Realms series. The series follows multiple protagonists with the main two being reformed thief Hanson “Cuffs” Alister and princess heir, Raisa ana’Marianna. While the two protagonists have next to nothing in common aside from living in the same city you know that almost no authors would create two protagonists and not have them interact.

I’ll start with Raisa’s P.O.V. first because I personally like it less and I want to get it over with. Being the heir to the throne in her nation Raisa is expected to marry the second she is eligible because this is fantasy medieval Europe and how else would you start teenage rebellion without giving the protagonist something to rebel against? Anyway Raisa’s half of the story basically trying to figure out what kind of Queen she wants to be and which of the two men in her life she likes more; Amon, the son of the captain of the guard and her childhood friend or Micah Bayar, son of the high wizard and a powerful mage in his own right. Ironically, Raisa can’t be with either of them due to age-old magical ceremonies as well as politics. Nothing really gets resolved in this book however because this series has four books and there wouldn’t be a plot if everything got solved in book one.

Now onto my favorite character of the novel Han. Hanson as mentioned above is a reformed thief. Not mentioned above however is the fact that Han was actually the Streetlord of Ragmarket which is basically the equivalent of being a mob boss in real life. This isn’t really relevant to what I’m going to talk about but I just wanted to mention it. Anyway Han’s half of the story is more complicated than Raisa’s which is funny because her half involves politics. Han’s story is two fold; part of it involves him trying to find a legal way to make money to support his family while the other is more complicated. Essentially one day Han and his friend Dancer were on a sacred mountain and found some wizards setting fire to it. In order to stop them Han threatens to put an arrow through their leader and makes him hand over his amulet which is the source of a wizards power in this series. The other half of Han’s story is the tragedies that start occurring because he stole said amulet. 

Personally, I think the reason I liked Han’s character so much was because of his struggle of trying to find honest work, which as someone in the latter half of high school I can sort of relate to. Or it could be my obsession with gentleman thieves showing up, one of the two.

All in all, I think that this book is a pretty good one if you like high fantasy novels.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Book Review: The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope by C.W Grafton

The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope by C.W Grafton has many elements that make it a classic hard-boiled detective story, but Grafton’s story and characters give a unique perspective to a long standing genre. For one the main character, detective Gil Henry, is described as “short, chubby, and awkward”, as opposed to the generic idea of a tall and handsome detective you’d find in most other stories. The novel follows Gil as he embarks on a dangerous case that results in scandal and murder, and whether or not he finds his way out.

The novel opens in a very generic fashion, with Gil in his office when an attractive woman walks in with a case for him to solve. The woman is Ruth McClure, whose father’s death and the suspected stock fraud that followed from it leads Ruth to think something is astray. Early on it’s made very clear that Gil will find himself in danger if he continues to follow the case, but in crime story fashion he chooses to follow it anyway, regardless of risk. However, I think Gil’s character being set up as more of an average guy makes him much easier to root for, and gets you more invested into the story. I thought the mystery and plot itself were both solid, but there was nothing really amazing or mind blowing about the story or how Grafton constructs the mystery. If I had to give one main criticism towards the book, I would say that the ending and Grafton’s way of revealing who was the culprit and everyone’s motivations could have been executed better.

In my opinion, I think one of the best parts of the book is the fast-paced writing. The chapters are usually one to three pages long, making it easily digestible but also faster paced and more tense. Furthermore, I think the setting of 1940s America and Grafton’s use of the vernacular at the time makes it a pretty interesting read. It never really lost my attention, and I think it does a good job of giving the reader a complete resolution that ties up most loose ends. I would recommend this as a read for anyone interested in the mystery genre, or anyone who is willing to try something new.

A Fun Weekend Trip Idea – Death Valley

If you are looking for a fun weekend trip, look no further than our Nation’s largest National Park – Death Valley! Death Valley is about 270 miles from Mission Viejo and under a 5 hour drive time. There are various ways to get there by car, but I recommend heading out on the 1-15 and going through Baker, CA. In Baker, you can enjoy a quick stop at Alien Fresh Jerky, a really bizarre road side stop that houses a beef jerky shop and all the alien encounters you never wanted to experience. It’s basically just a cool store to look around, stretch your legs and maybe buy a quick snack, but definitely a fun experience. Once you reach Death Valley you’ll want to make sure you have a pass or purchase one there. After that, it’s up to you what to do. There are many interesting parts of the park to experience and all have their own unique features.

Furnace Creek is the main tourist area in the park with 2 different hotels, The Ranch and the Inn. There are very few places to sleep and eat in the park so be prepared to spend a lot of money if you want to do either. I do suggest bringing as much of your own food and drinks as possible. Furnace Creek also has the Visitor Center where you can learn the history of Death Valley and talk to a park ranger to get information on the best places to visit during your trip.

There are many points of interest in Death Valley and you could spend way longer than a weekend there, but I’d recommend starting at the Borax Museum where you can learn about how Death Valley was mined for Borax before it was a National Park and the company and people who pushed for it to become one. From there you can visit Zabriskie Point that overlooks a row of peaks and ridges that are multicolored and the Badwater area deep down in the canyon below. Then you’ll want to drive down into Badwater Basin which is the lowest point in North America at -282 feet below sea level. While there you can take a walk out to the salt polygons which are the result of the bottom of the lake that once was and is now all dried up.

After visiting Badwater Basin, you’ll want to head back North where you can drive through Artists Drive which is a 9 mile scenic one way loop drive through a lot of canyons where the hillsides are all sorts of colors. There are also some fun dips and narrow canyons to drive through on the way. If you are inclined to take a steep hike, you can stop at Artists Palette, named because the mountains look like an Artist just walked away with his empty color palette. They are actually truly amazing and like nothing you’ve probably seen before. On the same drive you can also stop at Golden Canyon or Natural Bridge, both of which are amazing short hikes of 1-4 miles where you can take a deeper look into the canyon walls and experience bridges carved out of rock and ancient petro glyphs.

On the other side of Furnace Creek from Badwater area is Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes which is another area you won’t want to miss. It’s almost like a scene from Star Wars with sand dunes reaching out as far as you can see. You can walk out as far as you want and run, slide and even roll down the dunes if you want to. Near Mesquite Dunes is the turn off towards Scotty’s Castle and a whole lot of other more off road vehicle type roads, many of which are currently closed due to flash floods that washed out roads this past summer.

As a last note, you’ll want to visit all these amazing places when you can actually walk around enjoy them without it being 120+ degrees outside. The weather in Death Valley can change quickly so definitely be prepared for anything that might come by checking the weather ahead of time and always carry lots of water and snacks, just in case. Death Valley is also known as the hottest place on Earth with the all time recorded temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913, so the best time to visit is now, or any other time between November to March.

Shakespeare by the Sea: Romeo and Juliet Review

This is my first time seeing something by Shakespeare by the Sea, and my first time actually seeing a show of the famous Romeo and Juliet play. Despite how famous the story of Romeo and Juliet is, I have never actually seen a live performance of it, until Shakespeare by the Sea came around. Shakespeare by the Sea is a nonprofit organization that performs theatrical plays for free in communities around California. Last year, they were not able to tour and perform and they have just started again this summer. I was really lucky in catching this show, as it was part of the 25th anniversary and the last tour with the original founder of Shakespeare by the Sea.

I hadn’t been interested in Shakespeare and had just come along to watch the play because my mom asked if I wanted to. There was nothing I had to do that day, and I had never actually seen Romeo and Juliet yet, so I had no reason not to go see it. I was not disappointed. It was your usual Romeo and Juliet play, following the original story, but I had plenty of laughs and it was a lot of fun. There were a lot of moments, especially in the beginning of the play, that made me laugh out loud and smile. They spoke in the old, english dialect, but I understood it just fine. The actors did an amazing job, in portraying their character, the emotion, and making it fun for everyone. The actors help set up the stage, perform the entire thing, and take it down afterwards. The entire venue is outside and they work and perform for over an hour. The actors and people who work with Shakespeare by the Sea are honestly so amazing and put in so much time and effort in it. 

Shakespeare by the Sea has sparked my own interest in Shakespeare and his works and I am so happy to have been able to see them perform. If you ever get the chance to see one of their performances, I highly recommend going because they work super hard for their productions, and it is completely free to watch them. It is super fun to watch them perform and if you do ever end up going to a performance, make sure to give them a donation for their dedication to performing!

-Nicole R.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The fictional novel The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann begins on the day of the Purge, which is when all 13-year-olds get sorted into Wanteds, Necessaries, and Unwanteds. In the land of Quill, any form of art or creativity is a grave crime and is strictly prohibited. If someone were to violate this rule, they would be proclaimed Unwanted and would be killed. 

On the yearly Purge, Aaron Stowe is pronounced a Wanted, but his twin brother Alex is declared an Unwanted. When Alex is taken to his expected execution in a bus filled with other teenagers, he finds out that the Unwanteds have been hiding in the magical place of Artime. So, while Aaron earns himself a high government position, Alex enjoys this enchanted land where creativity is encouraged instead of punished. Plus, Artime has magic, so all the Unwanteds take delight in learning how to turn invisible and create origami dragons that fly. 

Although they are far apart, being twins, Alex and Aaron Stowe still share a link with each other. Soon, the dry land of Quill learns about the secret Unwanteds paradise, and launches into war. 

The battle between Artime and Quill is captivating, and although this book ends on a cliffhanger, it is easily one of my favorite novels. In my opinion, the best aspect of this book is the unique storyline, because it is unlike anything I have previously read. As a reader who prefers adventurous novels, I definitely think this book reaches my expectations, and manages to hold my attention cover-to-cover. The Unwanteds is part of a larger series with even more thrilling events, new characters, and unpredictable plot lines–perfect for your next reading spree.

-Ayati M.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo is about a young girl named Xiomara who lives in a very religious neighborhood, where everyone goes to church and reads the Bible. Her mother especially is a very strict and devoted Christian, who makes sure both her children follow the traditions and rules of God. However, Xiomara wants to go past those boundaries and be who she wants to be, but due to her body and her mother’s religious atmosphere, she’s forced to shut herself out.

To be honest, no one should judge anyone for how they look, especially their body. Xiomara is also very brave and stands up to people who do judge her, and I think that’s one of the things that I really like about her character. Furthermore, she enjoys writing poems about how she feels in her leather notebook, that her twin brother gave her. Writing helps her express her thoughts and feelings, especially in her poems. On Xiomara’s first day of tenth grade, she meets a boy named Aman, with who she later falls in love with. Even though she’s breaking the rules of her religion, by going out with him, she doesn’t care because with Aman, she doesn’t feel so trapped inside her own home and is glad to have someone new to talk to. I didn’t like how Xiomara was just doing whatever she wanted, without actually thinking about how what’s right and what’s wrong. I feel like she’s just doing all this because she wants to escape from her home, escape from her mom.

Xiomara shares her poems with Aman, and he really enjoys reading them, telling her that she should definitely share them with others and express her beautiful talent. I really love Aman, because he’s such a supportive, kind, and amazing friend towards Xiomara, and wants to understand what she’s going through, and is willing to do whatever he can for her. Xiomara is afraid to share her poems with the world because sooner or later her mother will find out, and get extremely angry. Nonetheless, someone that went to the same church as Xiomara’s mother, had witnessed Xiomara with a boy. To make things worse, her mother had also found the notebook with all of her writing inside. When she came home, her mother was extremely infuriated and burned her notebook due to how her daughter had disobeyed her. Honestly, I really didn’t like how the mother just burned the notebook like that, without even questioning her daughter’s actions, and it made me feel really bad for Xiomara because that notebook was basically her outlet.

After all the chaos between mother and daughter, Xiomara signed up to say her poem onstage in front of a bunch of people. Her family including her mother, Aman, and her friend came to her to say her poem. This part was one of my favorites because she’s finally putting her work out there, and being herself, and showing her true colors. Throughout the story, there was so much character development for Xiomara, and I love how she grew into this whole new person, standing up for who she truly is and wants to be. Lastly, my least favorite part was when her mother apologized to her for being so strict and not letting her do what she wants. The mother also had a huge character development, which I absolutely loved, and it also created a beautiful mother-daughter moment. In conclusion, it was an empowering, beautiful, loving, and wonderful book overall, and I definitely recommend it.

-Zehra M.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Arboria Game Review

Arboria, developed by Dreamplant, is a dark, 3D RPG game. The player follows their customizable alien-like character, who explores different dungeons and prisons.  In the prisons, there are different monsters and enemies that you must face, such as flying bugs and corrupted animals. To help you on the quests, your character is able to customize their gear, such as different weapons, armor, and abilities.

The first thing that I realized about Arboria was the graphics. This game has a very dark and rouge-lite type graphics. This makes the game much darker, as well as scarier. I do believe that these graphics make the game slower, as well as not exciting. I do believe that was the point of the graphics, but I believe that they could have been a little bit more exciting or vibrant.

I did enjoy the large and various maps and dungeons. Each dungeon had different enemies and layouts. With each dungeon, players could unlock different weapons. For example, the player starts off with a battle-ax, but I was able to unlock a symbiote sword that attached to the body of my character. This wide variety of weapons was very interesting, and I was always excited to unlock a new weapon.

Another very interesting and new aspect of Arboria was the respawning system. When your character died, the player had to restart all over, losing all of their gear. This makes players be much more careful with how they play the game. On top of that, when each player dies, the gods get angrier. This will mean that the next character they play will have less trench, speed, etc. FOr example, My first character died after a couple of dungeons. When I respawned, I got a message saying that my second character will be punished for making the gods angry. In turn, my character had less speed. I found this system very nice, especially because it made all of the players much more cautious about how they play.

Overall, I really enjoyed Arboria, developed by Dreamplant. This well developed, exciting RPG game is definitely a new up and coming game. With new systems such as the limited respawns and angering god affects, Arboria has a lot of potential. I really enjoyed all of the different dungeons and maps, as well as the wide variety of weapons. All in All, I would definitely recommend Arboria to any gamer that is interested in a new and upcoming RPG.

Authors We Love: Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë - Wikipedia

The youngest of the Brontes, Anne was gentle, quiet, and less talented than her two sisters. She lived to be only twenty-nine, and in the next decade of her short life her dismal governess occupation took up much of her time, but she wrote two novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall  which have their place in the history of English literature. Her novels, like herself, have a tranquil feeling. The hero has a pure moral character, brave pursuit of independence and happiness, which is also the portrayal of Anne’s heart. Anne’s writing is more of an 18th-century work, with its frankness and clarity, rather than the Victorian style in which she lived. Anne’s life was an unhappy one. She had once fallen in love with her father’s assistant, Willie Weightman, but he died suddenly while Anne was away working as a governess. It was a long time before Anne got the news of his death. Her alcoholic brother thwarted the sisters’ hopes of starting a school at home. At the same time, Anne continued to suffer from illness. But she never complained, silently enduring the mental and physical pain with astonishing fortitude. Shortly after the publication of several of her books, she died in May 1849, far from home in the seaside health resort of Scarborough. Anne Bronte was born on January 17, 1820, at No. 74 Market Street, Thornton, West Yorkshire, where there was little room for two adults, six children, two servants and a nurse. Her father was appointed vicar in Haworth, seven miles away, after Reverend Bronte had written all over the place in search of employment. Haworth is more prosperous than Thornton, and the parson’s five bedrooms are far more spacious. But Haworth lacks a drainage system, drinking water is heavily polluted, the average life expectancy is only 25 years, and the vicarage’s window looks out on the churchyard where many of the children who died early are buried. By the time the Brontes moved to Haworth, Maria, their mother, had already been diagnosed with cancer. Maria’s sister, Elizabeth Branwell, came to Haworth to help Reverend Bronte, who was busy with his parish duties. Maria died on September 15, 1821. Soon the vicar Bronte, recovering from his grief, resumed his parish duties. At the end of the year he visited a friend of hers, and Elizabeth Force, Maria’s friend, expressed sympathy and comfort to him.

The priest then proposed to her, hoping to find a stepmother for their six children, but was rejected. Aunt Elizabeth, who took care of Maria, stayed behind to raise her six children. As their six children grew up, Maria and Elizabeth, now self-sufficient, helped their aunt with the housework as much as they could, while Anne, the youngest, became Aunt Elizabeth’s favorite and they shared the same room. When Anne was growing up, Aunt Elizabeth’s devout Methodist beliefs were a big influence. The Bronte’s’ new maid, Tabby Ackroyd, gave them plenty of Irish mythology and northern English country tales. In the summer of 1825, Maria and Elizabeth, who were going to school, fell ill and died, leaving the whole family in grief and pain. The Reverend Bronte no longer dared to give his children away, but instead taught them at home. He encouraged the children to read more, and Aunt Elizabeth wanted the girls to learn housekeeping, so at regular hours the children would come back from Keresley Library, four miles away, carrying heavy books with them. In June 1826, the Rev. Bronte gave Branwell a group of toy soldiers as a gift, which caught the imagination of the children. They gave the soldiers names and arranged their characters. In the years that followed, several children started with these soldiers and created a fictional African country called Angria. Angria includes many features of the real world. Charlotte and Branwell write poems in the voice of Angria’s living characters and an chronicle of Angria with mixed authenticity, but it is hard to see how much of a role Anne, who is not yet ten years old, played in the creation of Angria. As she grew older, Anne took Latin, French, music and art lessons from the local clergy. Her collection of books such as Edmund Burke’s aesthetic works, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy, and Aunt Elizabeth’s subscription to Methodist magazines all influenced her. In the summer of 1832, the Rev. Bronte founded a Church Sunday school in the area, where children took turns as teachers. Branwell was said to be impatient, and Anne was said to be the kindest looking but the most serious. Returning home from a year at Roe Head School, Charlotte recalled that one of the things she would do when she returned was to make tea to cheer up Anne and Emily, who were tired of teaching.

Like twins, Anne and Emily often wrote illustrated diaries together, in which Emily first mentioned the name “Gondal” in 1834. Gondal, a fictional country created by Emily and Anne, is a neighbor of Angria. Much of Gondal’s landscape is drawn from the heather moors that spread across West Yorkshire, and its wars, alliances, and lending with its neighbors are rooted in the political landscape of the time. Emily and Anne wrote many poems and narrative fragments, imagining themselves as characters in Gondal. The strong Emily dominates, and Anne shows deference to her sister, but sometimes feels like no one understands her. In October 1835, after Emily returned home, unable to adapt to school life, Anne took her place in The School of Roe head, which was the first time she left home at the age of 15. Charlotte, who was already teaching at the school, did not care much for Anne, but she did care for her sister’s health. Anne had few friends at school, but she worked quietly and hard. She knew she needed a school education to make a living with what she learned, and in the end she won a prize of excellence in 1836. Anne and Charlotte returned home before Christmas in 1836, and Anne took care of Tabby Ackroyd, her maid who had fallen, while she continued to write poems about Gondal. Verses by Lady Geralda, which she wrote at this time, dramatized the somber atmosphere, the despair of the Lady Geralda of Gondal, and is the first poem that Anne Bronte has in existence. After much exposure to Calvinism in 1837, Anne faced a crisis of faith in the question of whether all men could be saved. Charlotte always thought Anne was a child, and Anne’s classmates were too young, so she had no place to talk, which led her to write a poem called “A Voice From The Dungeon“, and then she fell ill. Anne was visited many times by a minister of the Moravian Church, who enlightened her, and her crisis of faith eased, but her condition remained serious. Charlotte was so worried that she even quarreled with Anne’s teacher, Miss Waller. In January 1838 the Reverend Bronte took Anne home, and she gradually recovered. Concerned about Anne’s precarious health, the Reverend Bronte asked her to stay at home and not go back to school, so Anne and Emily continued to write poems and diaries about Gondal.

In the spring of 1839, Branwell’s plans for an art studio failed and he had to go home. Emily worked as a tutor for a while and then went home to recuperate due to health problems. Charlotte couldn’t find a job for a while. The Reverend Bronte found himself once more in the position of supporting several children on his meager stipend. Quiet and practical Anne helped the family in her own way by getting a post of governess with the Ingham family at Blake Hall. Anne refused any company, went alone and settled down quickly. Anne soon discovered that the situation was far worse than she had expected. The pupils were so spoiled that she found it difficult to control them, let alone to get them to learn anything. Once she was so angry that she locked them on the legs of the table. Anne complained to the children’s parents, but they did not support her and she was considered unfit to be a governess. On Christmas Day 1839, Anne, who had lost her job, returned home and the three sisters were reunited. Her experiences at Blake Hall were later written by Anne in Agnes Grey. Anne met her father’s new assistant, William Weightman (1814-1842). Weightman, who graduated from Durham University, has been working at the parish since late August and is very popular at the vicarage. On Valentine’s Day, 1840, Weightman wrote a poem to each of the three sisters who had never received a Valentine’s Day hymn. Anne’s paintings at this stage featured sentient women facing the sea, and her poems featured both men and passionate women, leading researchers to speculate that she had a strong crush on Weightman. In May 1840 Anne got her second job as governess to the Robinsons of Thorp Green, where she worked as a governess for four children. In June she followed the Robinsons to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, for a holiday. Anne loved Scarborough, close to the sea and beautiful, and was happy to walk there and discover the wonders. From the second half of 1840, Anne’s poetry diverged. She wrote Gondal poems with Emily when she returned home, and even went on a trip with Emily imitating Gondal characters, but while at Thorpe Green she wrote poems expressing her own emotions. Anne soon found herself facing the same problems she had encountered at Blake Hall: she was homesick, the children were out of control, and the Robinsons were unsupportive.

She didn’t change much, but she stayed and made friends with two of her students. Returning home for a holiday in June 1841, Anne saw Weightman again, but soon afterwards she went to join the Robinsons at Scarborough. At this point she began to write her own independent diary, in which she mentioned the three sisters’ plan to open a school of her own. Returning home for a holiday in 1842, Anne discovered that Weightman had died of a misadventure, and in December of that year she wrote an elegy for an unknown man, expressing her sorrow and pain. The Bronte sisters at this time considered several school sites, including the vicarage, but did not actually go into action, and the attempt to open a school is also written about in Agnes Gray. In early November 1842, Aunt Elizabeth, who had brought up the Bronte sisters, died. Charlotte and Emily were at school in Brussels at that time. Only Anne returned to attend the funeral. Anne returned to Thorpe Green in January 1843 and found a place for her elder brother, Branwell, as governor for the now grown Edmond Robinson. From 1844 on, Anne became more and more difficult to bear the Robinson’s environment, while Branwell became more Bohemian under the Influence of Robinsons, which made Anne more miserable. She had to write poems to cope with it. In June 1845, Anne Bronte abruptly resigned her post as a governess at Thorp Green and returned to Haworth, supposedly because her older brother, Branwell, was having an affair with Mrs. Robinson, and Mr. Robinson suggested that Anne was acting as an intermediary. When Anne returned home, she sat with her father, who was seeing less and depressed, and began to write Agnes Grey. In the autumn, Charlotte came across Emily’s poem and thought she could publish it. Emily with a strong personality was not happy with Charlotte’s discovery that her sister interfered with her privacy. Anne basically agreed with Charlotte’s plan. In order to settle the quarrel between Charlotte and Emily, she volunteered to contribute her own poem. Without even telling Branwell or their father, Anne and Emily had each chosen twenty poems written after 1840, and Charlotte, with money from Aunt Elizabeth, had chosen nineteen of her own early poems and sent them to the publisher.

Fearing that reviewers would unfairly judge the author because she was a woman, all three sisters used aliases. The pseudonym Bell, derived from the curate of the church, had the same initials as the three sisters, making Anne Acton Bell. In May 1846, the 165-page anthology of poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell was put on sale. It received some critical acclaim, but it sold very little, only two copies in its first year. Charlotte later decided that her poems were childish in the three sisters’ poetry collection, and that Emily’s poems were bold, melancholy and sublime that could be handed down from generation to generation. Anne’s poems had their own sincere lovely pathos. In August 1848, Anne’s “The Narrow Way” and “The Three Guides” were published in The Fraser Magazine, the only poems published by the sisters apart from their collections. The death of Branwell, a chronic alcoholic, on September 24th at the age of 31 was a great shock to the family, and preparations for Branwell’s funeral left Emily and Anne exhausted. The winter brought coughs and colds to the family, especially Emily, who died on December 19. Emily’s death made Anne, who had always been close to her, even more sad. Anne began to show marked shortness of breath and asthma, but still sustained her illness by writing a reply to a theologian about the universal remedy mentioned in “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall “. In early January 1849, Anne became seriously ill. Doctors diagnosed tuberculosis and suggested that the disease was too advanced to recover. Anne accepted the news with calmness and self-control. Unlike Emily, she took her medicine exactly as the doctor ordered. In the months that followed, her illness waxed and waned, but she became noticeably thinner and weaker, and she decided to return to Scarborough, her favorite place. On May 24, Anne and her father said goodbye to the family servants and left Haworth with Charlotte and her friend. They spent a day and a night in York, where Anne and Charlotte went shopping in a wheelchair and visited her favorite chapel. The next day, Anne, who did not want her illness to limit Charlotte, hired a donkey cart. When they found her, they found her teaching the boy who drove her to be kind to his donkey. On May 27, a terminally ill Anne saw Charlotte struggling to contain her grief. Anne died at 2 p.m. the next day. Anne was buried there in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Scarborough. The funeral took place on 30 May. When Charlotte returned three years later, she found several mistakes on the gravestone, which had been re-engraved, but which still put Anne’s death age at 28. In April 2013, the Brontë Society re-erected the gravestone to make it 29.

Authors We Love: Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle Biography - life, family, children, name, story, death,  history, wife, school, mother

His writing style can be boiled down to two characteristics: scientific and professional. The works are good at setting suspense, stimulating readers’ interest in reading, and paying attention to the overall layout. In terms of plot, there is a strong echo and strict reasoning. Rigorous causal reasoning and deductive methods are used to promote the plot of the novel and develop the story. He is famous for Sherlock Holmes. His short stories have a strong sense of painting, and their conflict settings are concentrated, with plot twists and turns, which make readers feel as if they are reading a movie story. However, in the later period of his creation, due to the gradual disappearance of enthusiasm for creation, Doyle’s depiction of Holmes became increasingly deified, showing a deliberately exaggerated plot with the so-called brand of the devil (see “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot”, “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”).

It is no exaggeration to say that many of Doyle’s short stories, with minor modifications, are excellent movie bases. It is very rare for Doyle to have such artistic thinking long before the popularization of film art. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the most frequently made film novel in the world. For example, Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr., Gene Wilder in 1975, Charlton Heston in 1991 and other films based on the detective’s records have also been produced. There have been seven TV series. His short story, El Anillo De Thoth, revolves around the theme of death and immortality in ancient Egyptian culture, presenting us with a fantasy world, which was one of the important creative sources of Hollywood mummification films.

“The Lost World” is also a cross-generational work. This novel can only be said to be enlightening for our modern adventures of ancient beasts and dinosaur types and films. Conan Doyle wrote 60 stories, 56 short stories and 4 novels about Sherlock Holmes. These stories were published in Strand magazine in droves over 40 years, as was customary at the time (Charles Dickens published his novels in a similar format). The story mainly takes place between 1878 and 1907, with the latest story set in 1914. Two of these stories are written in Holmes’s voice, two in the third person, and the rest are Watson’s accounts.

-Coreen C.