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The Wager
The Wager
Author: Donna Jo Napoli
Don Giovanni was once the wealthiest and handsomest young man in Messina. Then a tidal wave changed everything. When a well-dressed stranger offers him a magical purse, he knows he shouldn't take it. Only the devil would offer a deal like this, and only a fool would accept. — Don Giovanni is no fool, but he is desperate. He takes the bet: he ...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780805087819
ISBN-10: 0805087818
Publication Date: 4/27/2010
Pages: 272
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.

4.3 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Book Type: Hardcover
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Don Giovanni, a filthy rich orphan living in 12th-century Italy, has his life turned upside down when a giant wave destroys everything he owns. Friendless and penniless, Don Giovanni wonders the countryside until he meets with the Devil, who offers him a wager he just cant pass up: the Devil will provide Don Giovanni with a purse that magically produces any amount of money he desires, and in return, Don Giovanni must not clean himself for three years, three months, and three days, otherwise his soul is forfeited.

Fantasy master Donna Jo Napoli has written another awe-inspiring tale that will appeal to appreciators of the beautiful, unusual, and hopeful.

THE WAGER gets off to a rather slow start, but it rewards the patient. It has the feel of a classic fairy tale, which means that characterization is sometimes lacking, favoring instead lush descriptive passages and a sprawling feel to the story. Once Don Giovanni accepts the Devils wager, however, the book becomes very hard to put down, as you cant help wondering just how bad things can get for him.

Don Giovanni starts off as an extremely unlikable fellow. He is self-centered and believes that money can solve anything. So the extent of his character development, and how much we end up liking him, feels like magic in itself. He ends up enduring his trials with as much dignity as a person with open sores and bugs living on his dirty skin can, and I liked him all the more for it.

In the midst of all the fast-paced, nonstop-action speculative YA fiction out there, THE WAGER unassumingly takes its place as a solid work of retold fantasy. Check this out if youre craving an old-fashioned, trial-of-endurance fairy tale retelling.