Historical Fiction: The Marvels Zach Lee

Prediction: The author's writing style is that there are always two stories of two different people in his books. One story is expressed through illustrations, whereas the other story is told through written words. Based on the illustrations, I predict that the first story in this book will include a terrible storm that will be the main conflict of the story. I think that this storm happens in the middle of the ocean while a fishing family is at sea. After the storm, only one of the family members survives and gets stranded on an island. From understanding the usual writing style of this author, I can predict that the main character of the second story may be related in some way to the character in the first story. The characters in the second story may be looking for a way to rescue the first story's protagonist.

Characterization: " 'Does your wife know I'm here?' ... 'Your wife and kids. I want to meet them' ... 'I don't have a wife and kids.' 'You don't? Then ... who else lives here?' 'I live alone, Joseph' " This shows that Joseph has a wide imagination to have thought about why his uncle has such a large house which led to him assuming that his uncle had a family. This trait of curiosity and imagination can be both bad or good in different situations. For example, at his school Joseph became interested in flames and fire, so he wanted to play with sticks and rocks to see if he could start a small flame. Although he did figure out how to spark a flame, he ended up burning his books in the process.

Setting: This book has three settings altogether. For the first story of this book, there are two settings. The first setting takes place in the middle of the ocean in 1766, where a sailor boy and his brother are at sea battling against a storm. The second setting comes up later in the story, where they make it back to London in 1766. The third setting takes place in the second story of this book. It takes place in London in 1990, where a boy named Joseph meets his Uncle Albert whom he has never met before. The mood of this story is both mysterious and suspenseful because the first portion of the book, the story of the sailor boy and his brother, is entirely illustrated, whereas Joseph's story is written out in words. The first story does not an ending because there wasn't a plot in the beginning. The brothers get shipwrecked on an island and get rescued. Having not finished the book at this point, but knowing the style of this author, Brian Selznick, I can guess that the two stories, the brothers and Joseph, will somehow be connected in the end. Using the information I already know, the brothers could be Joseph's ancestors!

The main part of this story takes place in 1990. Although there was a limited amount of big events that happened that year, one case is when Nasa deployed the Hubble Space Telescope on April 25th. The telescope is located 332 nautical miles, which is about 382.059 miles. This was a major event because not only did Nasa have another successful mission into space, they also engineered something that could overlook Earth from space to help study geography and weather of our planet.

Personal Review: So far, I have been enjoying this book. Each chapter is a fair length at around ten pages each and all have very suspenseful endings that make me want to continue reading. As for the illustrations, I think that they are very beautiful because they look as if they are drawn in pencil and gives the mood of the story a more dark feeling. I would recommend this book to any reader who enjoys suspenseful and mysterious stories.

Conflict: The conflict of this story is a "person vs. nature" problem. This is because the protagonist, Joseph, is trying to find his runaway best friend, but is having trouble because it is extremely difficult to travel through the harsh winter storms. The reason that Joseph's friend, Blink, is on the run is because they are both escaping their boarding school, where they feel they aren't treated fairly.

Created By
MC Santucci3


Created with images by Unsplash - "dark forest rays forest" • Pexels - "dawn dusk nature" • Unsplash - "night dark nightlife" • vl8189 - "Tower Bridge" • Alexas_Fotos - "christmas smiley snow" • stevepb - "checkmate chess resignation" • Wokandapix - "thanks word letters"

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