Darkwater

( 2 )

Overview

It is a life-changing deal—and it will end your life as you know it.
 
Sarah Trevelyan would give anything to regain the power and wealth her family has lost, so she makes a bargain with Azrael, Lord of Darkwater Hall. He will give her everything she needs to restore the Trevelyan name, and one hundred years to do it—in exchange for her soul. Fast-forward a hundred years to Tom, who dreams of attending Darkwater Hall School. A professor ...

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Darkwater

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Overview

It is a life-changing deal—and it will end your life as you know it.
 
Sarah Trevelyan would give anything to regain the power and wealth her family has lost, so she makes a bargain with Azrael, Lord of Darkwater Hall. He will give her everything she needs to restore the Trevelyan name, and one hundred years to do it—in exchange for her soul. Fast-forward a hundred years to Tom, who dreams of attending Darkwater Hall School. A professor named Azrael offers him a bargain. Will Sarah be able to stop Tom from making the same mistake? Catherine Fisher's version of Faust is utterly spellbinding!

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Editorial Reviews

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Praise for Darkwater

"The plot and characters are skillfully developed and greatly enhanced by the aura of malevolence that permeates the mood of Fisher's Faustian novel." -Horn Book Reviews

"Fisher does a lot right in this Dickensian tale as she spins a spooky story and portrays a ghastly mansion that readers can just about touch, taste, and smell. A book for those who really love atmospheric tales with literary quality." -School Library Journal

"Darkly atmospheric, this Faustian update is both compelling and accessible with an ending that interrogates notions of good and evil without belaboring the point...Fisher's evocative prose easily creates a perfectly crafted gothic backdrop....an ideal companion for a gloomy afternoon." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books review

VOYA - Johanna Nation-Vallee
For generations, Darkwater Hall was home to the Trevelyan family, until Sarah's grandfather lost it to Lord Azrael, a kindly and mysterious man who never ages. When the now impoverished sixteen-year-old quits her humiliating job at the local school, Azrael pities her, offering her a position as his assistant at Darkwater. Despite warnings from family and a curiously shrewd tramp she encounters, Sarah agrees. Drawn into Azrael's mysterious, even supernatural, realm, Sarah ultimately pledges him her soul in exchange for her family's restoration to the Hall and one hundred years to redress her family's tyrannical past. Approaching the conclusion of her term of service, she meets Tom, a fifteen-year-old boy willing to sell Azrael his soul in exchange for a chance to attend the now prestigious Darkwater Hall School. Sarah believes she must prevent Tom from repeating her mistake and possibly find a way to nullify her own contract. Haunting and unpredictable, Darkwater is richly worded and carefully crafted, offering the reader only occasional glimpses into Azrael and his work. Not everything is as it seems and, despite a satisfying conclusion, questions linger. The novel respects readers' ability to draw conclusions from limited information, while offering them a deliciously chilling tale of good and evil. This book will appeal to older readers, particularly those who enjoy fantasy and horror genres, but it may be inappropriate for younger students or those from conservative, religious families. Reviewer: Johanna Nation-Vallee
Children's Literature - Kasey Giard
With her famed family estate lost to a mysterious stranger, Sarah and her father have been forced on the kindness of a former servant and her family. When Sarah loses her job, she swallows her pride and accepts a new position assisting Azrael, the owner of her former home. A job is not all the strange man seems interested in. Disturbing rumors about how he acquired the estate buzz around Sarah's head, and his question lingers in her mind: for what price would she offer him her soul? She resists, but tragedy forces her hand. All Sarah can do now is to try to save the next desperate person from sharing her fate. While the concept of the story is very intriguing, the most interesting part is left out of the story. She makes an agreement in trade for her soul and then the story cuts ahead to the future, to the next fly caught in Azrael's trap. As Sarah tries to help this next victim, the intensity builds to a mighty climax that is resolved too simply and easily. The author does, however, make excellent use of unexpected twists in the plot which repaint all the reader thinks he knows about the story. Darkwater is packed with elements of intrigue and mystery. Reviewer: Kasey Giard
Kirkus Reviews
A slim, elegant retelling of the classic Faustian fable, with an inspirational twist. Victorian adolescent Sarah may be a menial drudge, but she never forgets that she is also the last of the arrogant aristocratic Trevelyans, now fallen into shameful penury. So she cannot refuse Lord Azrael, the current owner of her ancestral Darkwater Hall, when he offers proper work, real learning and even a chance to win back everything her family lost; all she has to risk is her soul. One hundred years later, Tom is another destitute and bullied teen, who would give anything to attend the elite school at Darkwater Hall--anything but the ghostly presence of his twin brother, Simon. When he meets a weird (but oddly mature) girl named Sarah, she warns him away from the new teacher, Azrael--who has just tempted Tom with the education he craves. While not as dense or subtle as her more recent work, this reissue of an early Fisher novel displays her spare lyrical prose and evocative sense of place. (This is its first U.S. publication.) The characters may be paper-thin and their motivations opaque, but they serve as effective players for a morality tale. Readers acquainted with Goethe, Milton or alchemical lore will be rewarded by a plethora of allusions both obvious and sly; but even those unfamiliar with the legendary source material will appreciate the layered symbolism and uplifting message. A dark but graceful parable of temptation, pride, revenge and hope; ideal for classroom reading. (Fantasy. 11-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 9–11—Impoverished after her grandfather waged a losing bet 15 years earlier, 16-year-old Sarah Trevelyan must scrub latrines to feed her sick father. The Trevelyans' ancestral portraits cover the grim hallways, but Darkwater Hall is now owned by Azrael, the mysteriously youthful man who won the fateful coin toss. He offers Sarah employment in its massive library, and the teen is overjoyed at the chance to learn. Sarah becomes immersed in the dark world until Azrael offers her a deal-the reinstatement of Darkwater Hall to the Trevelyans in exchange for her soul. Helpless, Sarah agrees to his terms. Flash forward 99 years and 11 months to modern-day Darkwater Academy where a hopeful student, 15-year-old Tom, is dogged by bullies and shadowed by the ghost of his dead twin. When Tom is seduced by the un-aged Azrael's offer of a job in the lab, who should reemerge but Sarah Trevelyan, also un-aged and determined to prevent the boy from making the same mistake she did. Fisher does a lot right in this Dickensian tale as she spins a spooky story and portrays a ghastly mansion that readers can just about touch, taste, and smell. Yet the characters fall short, and the break midway through this already short tale to switch perspectives and centuries doesn't help. Allusions to biblical stories may be above readers' heads. A book for those who really love atmospheric tales with literary quality.—Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803738188
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/27/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,311,169
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Fisher is an acclaimed novelist and poet. Her work includes the New York Times best-selling Incarceron and Sapphique, as well as the Relic Master books, Obsidian Mirror, and the Oracle Trilogy (The Oracle, The Archon, and The Scarab), which was an international best-seller, and appeared in more than twenty languages.  She was born in Gwent, Wales, where she still lives.

Visit her Web site at www.catherine-fisher.com.

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Customer Reviews

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