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The Marvelous: 10/09/22

The Marvelous

The Marvelous by Claire Kann (2021) is an updated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964) but written for a YA audience. Except this one removes the parents, plays up the horror of that sort of situation, and gives a cast of much nicer participants.

Jewel Van Haren, the Willy Wonka of this novel, started a social media video site called Golden Rule. Members have to show their faces and the site is heavily monitored to keep out bullies. At the height of her popularity, the founder disappeared.

Upon her reappearance she announced a special weekend at her ginormous estate in the North Bay. Specific users were invited to play a game where two winners would get half a million in cash.

Six players, each assigned a color. They're cut off from the outside world and are at the beck and call of specially programmed tablets. They have a riddle presented as recipe to solve as well as challenges that happen throughout the day.

Over all the challenge has an Alice in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass atmosphere and illogical logic to it. But the atmosphere is that of a horror novel, like And Then There Were None (1939).

The novel also sits in the Road Narrative Spectrum. As these are invited guests, the new elite of Golden Rule, they are privileged travelers (00). Their destination is home (66), both Jewel's home and as the game goes more and more off the rails, the desire to be able to go home. Their route is the maze as the house is confusingly built, the riddles themselves are confusing, and combined, the two are dangerous (CC).

Five stars

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