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Ever Dance With The Devil In The Pale Moonlight?

In case you needed a reminder, Darkwater proves that selling your soul is a bad idea.

Ever Dance With The Devil In The Pale Moonlight?

BOOK REPORT for Darkwater by Catherine Fisher

Cover Story: Gargoyle-tastic
BFF Charm: Eventually and Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Gothic
Bonus Factors: The Devil, Weird Science
Relationship Status: Rebound

Cover Story: Gargoyle-tastic

I realize that gargoyles are the kind of thing you're supposed to get obsessed with in, like, the fifth grade, but I never stopped thinking they were cool. THEY ARE SO COOL, YOU GUYS. They're just water spouts... but they're MONSTERS. People back in the day had some dark, twisted minds, is what I'm saying. Anyway, this cover definitely captures the theme and creepy atmosphere of the story, and I didn't mind flashing it around in public, even if I was only impressing some fifth graders.

The Deal:

I've always felt that living in the now (as Garth would say) is the best time period to be in, especially for women. And Sarah Trevelyan's life one hundred years ago just proves my point. After her grandfather lost the massive Darkwater Hall estate, she was forced to move into a tiny, dirty cottage with her ailing father and their loyal servant, Martha. (Why Martha stayed with them, especially since Sarah's dad is such a tool, is beyond me.) She spends her days cleaning a schoolhouse under the odious reign of Mrs. Hubbard, Grade A Biotch, until the day she can no longer stand it and quits in a flurry of pride. With no other employment options, she makes her way to Darkwater Hall to beg the new master, Lord Azrael, for a job. To Sarah's surprise, he offers her lodging as well as a position in his lab, assisting him with his tireless study of alchemy, specifically turning matter into gold. Sarah is enchanted by her new life, but when Azrael makes her an offer she can't refuse, she discovers the true value of her soul. Fast foward one hundered years to a boy named Tom, who finds himself on the same treacherous ground of Darkwater Hall. In a race against time, Sarah tries to prevent Tom from falling into Azrael's clutches, but can she save her own soul in the process?

BFF Charm: Eventually and Yay!

Initially, I was rooting for Sarah to get out of her shitty situation, but then I realized that girlfriend had a lot of growing up to do before she could rescue herself. She was stubborn and selfish and also COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS because HELLO it is NEVER a good idea to make a deal with the Devil. (Just ask Sam and Dean.) But she's smart, and over time, she truly seizes the opportunity to improve the lives of others. And obviously, she could have really used a BFF to tell her to kick Lord Azrael to the curb.

Tom, on the other hand, is consistently GREAT. Sure, he's a little bit of a pansy, especially at first, but he's also incredibly sweet, thoughtful and compassionate. He's been bullied severely, and when it comes time for him to cash in on the karma, I couldn't blame him for his actions. (In fact, I totally cheered him on.) It was awesome to see him gain confidence and inner strength as the story progressed, because he's just such a good guy. I would say more about his character development but then I'd be spoiling something awesomely weird for you so I SHALL REFRAIN.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

You might be wondering if anything happens between Sarah and Tom, but trust me, if you read the book, you'll be glad it doesn't. (Like, we're talking pervy Twilight territory.) Plus, this story didn't have time for no romance! There was too much Devil business and Biblical lore and magic and bizarre shizz happening! This is not the time for kissing!

Talky Talk: Gothic

Fisher writes in a slightly formal, old-fashioned style that suits her subject matter and makes you feel like you're reading an old tale of mystery and evil. Her word choice is careful and, while seemingly plain, builds a deliciously dark atmosphere. Here's an example:

The corridor was dim. Small moonlit squares slanted across it. At the far end was a door and she saw someone was there, unlocking it. Keys clinked.

It might have been Azrael; in the dimness she couldn't tell, except that whoever it was was tall, and wore some dark robe. He opened the door.

And she heard, just for a moment, the distant, unmistakable sound of water; deep, running water, echoing in vast underground hollows.

Then he was gone.

Bolts were slotted tight.

The house was still.

This isn't a thriller by any means-- it's Fisher's attempt to create a classical piece of lore, the kind of story you want to read on a stormy, autumn night. (I just wish the characters were as developed as the tone.)

Bonus Factor: The Devil

Fisher paints a rather complex portrait of the devil in Lord Azrael, who may or may not be entirely evil. There's plenty of the fallen angel concept woven into his backstory, and his intentions towards Sarah and Tom are never clear. Even by the end of the book, I wasn't sure if he was actually that bad of a guy, but he certainly kept things interesting.

Bonus Factor: Weird Science

I don't mean this in a "Make Your Own Hot Girlfriend" way, but in a cray cray eccentric experiment way. Azrael dabbles in lots of strange alchemy, and I honestly wish the book spent more time in his laboratory so I could get the dish on his secret calculations and bizarre subjects.

Casting Call:

Jane Levy as Sarah

Jane could pull off Sarah's pride as well as her eventual age.

Craig Roberts as Tom

(Told you guys I'd be casting the shizz out of him!)

Relationship Status: Rebound

I'll be honest, book. I've never quite gotten over how Sapphique ended, and I started hooking up with you in the hopes that we could recapture some of the intensity and intrigue I experienced with Incarceron. You definitely reminded me of those previous relationships, but I didn't feel the same fiery passion as before. I like your style, I really do, but it's not fair to you for me to continue with this charade. I was simply using you as a substitute, and I see now that I was expecting things from you that you never offered in the first place. Hopefully, we can agree to be friends and go our separate ways in peace.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Penguin Young Readers Group. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Darkwater is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).