Next SFF Author: Katharine Orton
Previous SFF Author: Tochi Onyebuchi

SFF Author: Kenneth Oppel

Kenneth OppelAt age fifteen Kenneth Oppel wrote his first children’s novel, Colin’s Fantastic Video Adventure, and sent it to his favorite author, Roald Dahl. Dahl recommended the book to his own literary agent, and it was published in 1985. After graduating from high school Oppel attended the University of Toronto, where he studied English and cinema. He worked briefly as a children’s book editor before deciding to write full-time. He writes in different genres for children and young adults. Oppel lives in Toronto with his wife and their children. Learn more at Kenneth Oppel’s website.

Click here for more stories by Kenneth Oppel.


Darkwing: An excellent middle grade book

Darkwing by Kenneth Oppel

My nine-year-old son recently read Darkwing, an older book by Kenneth Oppel, and has been after me to read it myself because he thought I’d enjoy it and because he wanted to share the experience and talk about it. I’m glad he kept on me, because Darkwing was one of the best middle grade books I’ve read this past year. My son clearly thought so as well, since he had me read it aloud to him (including a two-hours-straight stretch) from the halfway point on,

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This Dark Endeavor: A Frankenstein prequel

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor is the first in a YA series of Frankenstein prequel books by Kenneth Oppel. To be honest, when I first heard of the book, I was a bit skeptical of the concept, unsure of what a prequel would offer that wouldn’t either be simply Frankenstein retold (“see the first time Victor creates life and how it goes bad!”) or wouldn’t trivialize Frankenstein’s characters and themes (“see young Victor try to resuscitate a beetle!”) But when I learned Oppel was the author,

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Such Wicked Intent: The exciting life of young Frankenstein continues

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Such Wicked Intent is the follow-up to This Dark Endeavour and as such puts us two-thirds of the way through Kenneth Oppel’s YA trilogy detailing the early years of Victor Frankenstein. And as the book ends with a very well known scene from early in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, well, it’s clear we have just about fully plumbed those early years.

Which is too bad, because Oppel has, ahem,

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The Boundless: A thrilling and suspenseful MG adventure

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

A circus. A climactic battle atop a seven-mile long train. Automatons. Folklore-ic menace such as a hag who will drown you in her bog if you look into her eyes. Sasquatches. A train heist. An escape artist. A mesmerist. A plan to gain immortality. Rags to riches. Boy meets girl. Dreams to fight for. A villain willing to kill to get what he wants.

You have to hand it to Kenneth Oppel. In his newest Middle Grade (MG) novel, The Boundless,

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Bloom: A scary plant pandemic that now seems possible

Bloom by Kenneth Oppel

Three kids battle an invasive plant in Kenneth Oppel’s latest middle grade fantasy. Bloom (2020) is mysterious and thrilling all the way through. Our heroes are:

  • Anaya, who’s allergic to almost everything.
  • Petra, who’s allergic to water. She used to be Anaya’s best friend until Anaya betrayed her.
  • Seth, the new kid in town who’s being fostered by farmers.

When black weeds appear suddenly and grow tall overnight, nobody knows what they are,

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Hatch: Oppel’s alien invasion remains full of action

Hatch by Kenneth Oppel

Hatch (2020) is Kenneth Oppel’s continuation of his MG alien invasion tale that began with Bloom. Oppel maintains the fast-paced excitement, keeping his focus on the three young protagonists Petra, Anaya, and Seth, while adding a few new characters as well. Fans of book one will not be disappointed, save by a killer of a cliffhanger ending. Inevitable spoilers for book one ahead.

In the first book, aliens were softening up Earth and preparing it for their impending invasion by seeding our planet with various deadly plant species that weren’t just dangerous to touch or eat but were actively carnivorous,

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Ghostlight: An entertaining and engaging MG ghost story

Ghostlight by Kenneth Oppel

Kenneth Oppel’s Ghostlight is a quick-moving MG story involving a trio of teens battling a long-dead villain seeking to raise an army of ghosts in modern-day Toronto. Full of action, the narrative also includes a number of brief but effective emotional moments and also highlights the poor treatment of Native groups.

Gabe Vasilakis has a summer job giving the Ghost Tour of the Toronto’s Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, which in 1839 saw the unexplained deaths of its keeper and his 16-year-old daughter, Rebecca Strand.

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Next SFF Author: Katharine Orton
Previous SFF Author: Tochi Onyebuchi

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June 2024