November 28, 2012

Review: Darkwater

Darkwater By Catherine Fisher
Available now from Dial (Penguin)
Review copy

Welsh fantasist extraordinaire Catherine Fisher takes on the familiar tale of someone who sells their soul and regrets it.  But she does it in her own style, leading to an ending most readers won't expect unless they're really up on their mythology and/or folklore.

The young girl who sells her soul is Sarah Trevelyan, the last of the once-proud Trevelyan family.  I take that back; they're still proud, they've just lost everything.  But she sells her soul to regain Darkwater Hall from its new lord, giving her a hundred years as the landowner.  When payment comes due, Sarah must prevent fifteen-year-old Tom from making her mistake.

DARKWATER was a pretty quick read.  It's not that long, and it's comforting familiar, a moral fable in new guise.  As mentioned before, however, Fisher does it in her style and she has the chops to flesh out a basic tale.  The text explores both Sarah and Tom's motives, letting their inner psychology be observed and judged.  After all, you don't get devils coming after your soul unless you have some sort of fatal flaw.

I liked that DARKWATER was creepy, but not too creepy, since I wasn't in the mood for horror when I read it.  (I was a little wary due to the awesome cover.)  I mean, I never get nightmares from books, but I needed something that wouldn't make me shriek whenever my niece interrupted me.  (I tend to get absorbed in books.)

I quite enjoyed DARKWATER and think fellow Fisher fans will like it too.  I suggest it for fans of ANOTHER FAUST by Daniel and Dina Nayeri too - perhaps even fans of an older version of Faust, be it Goethe or Marlowe.

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