Title: Another Faust
Author: Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Another Series (Book 1)
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 387 Pages
ISBN-10: 0763637076 (Candlewick)
ISBN-13: 978-0763637071 (Candlewick)
Reviewed by: Jessie
A devilish debut by a brother-sister team invites us into the world of the elite Marlowe School, where some gifted students are having a hell of a year.
One night, in cities all across Europe, five children vanish — only to appear, years later, at an exclusive New York party with a strange and elegant governess. Rumor and mystery follow the Faust teenagers to the city’s most prestigious high school, where they soar to suspicious heights with the help of their benefactor’s extraordinary “gifts.” But as the students claw their way up — reading minds, erasing scenes, stopping time, stealing power, seducing with artificial beauty — they start to suffer the sideeffects of their own addictions. And as they make further deals with the devil, they uncover secrets more shocking than their most unforgivable sins. At once chilling and wickedly satirical, this contemporary reimagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption.
Quick & Dirty: A paranormal twist on teen drama with a hard look at societal pressure, popularity, and coercion that leaves you questioning, how far would you go if you could to get what you want?
Opening Sentence: Victoria didn’t have time to play.
The premise of Another Faust somewhat assumes that the reader is familiar with the story of the Faust myth, and is still an excellent read without that familiarity, creating a curiosity to learn more just to understand Another Faust better. There were plenty of paranormal elements to make this book just creepy enough, but not scary. It is obvious that the authors, Daniel and Dina Nayeri, are extremely well-read, which is good and bad. On one hand, references throughout the book add layers to the story, but on the other hand, anyone less well-read constantly has a nagging feeling that they are missing out on something, almost like a private joke.
The big questions about self in this book are what really stay with the reader and keep us connected, rather than the characters. What would be worth selling your soul for? Many would think there is nothing that would be worth it, but as we look deep into that selfish part of ourselves we could probably all find something. And that’s where, even the characters that do not end up “selling their souls” in this book still end up selling a part of themselves with the right coercion. Basically Madame Vileroy creates a “perfect” abusive relationship, in which she magnifies her adopted children’s faults to a point where they feel so trapped in the lies that they live that they will do almost anything to keep living those lies. It become clear that what they are really searching for is acceptance, however, their selfishness is exactly what keeps them from achieving that, and Madame Vileroy of course knows that and uses it for all it’s worth.
Ideally, with five main characters, the reader would relate to one of them more than the others, and in my opinion, the main flaw of this book is that the teenage characters are too exaggerated to be as real or relatable as they need to be to make the reader really care what happens to them. Given Christian’s background as stated at the beginning, and his character throughout the book, most readers are probably most sympathetic to him, but still don’t develop much closeness to him beyond that. The other characters are so incredibly selfish that they kind of deserve what they get along the way. It is also somewhat odd that the book begins when these five characters are ten years old, rather than as actual teenagers, as if ten was some magical age of accountability.
Another point made throughout the story is the prospect of what selling your soul entails. It is apparently not just a one time act but a state of selfish addiction and greed, almost impossible to overcome. Perhaps the most interesting character is Madame Vileroy herself, she remains a mystery throughout the book, even to the end. Her mystery is accentuated by a short flashback at the beginning of each chapter that gives just enough of a snippet to be barely informational but mostly intriguing. She is just an older, more practiced version of the children, and she seems to have everything figured out, however, like most people who think they know everything, she doesn’t. Her motives are somewhat confusing at times.
As the first book in a series, I would rate this personally as my second favorite of the series. It is creative, new, and well-thought out, but needed more character development and more excitement. Maybe a little more romance to spice it up, or maybe more physical danger. The teenage drama, even with a great twist, was just a little bland. This was not a difficult read, or boring by any means, but it could have been better, especially given the originality of the plot base.
“This is my job. To watch over you.” Madame Vileroy whispered. “See who’s coming?”
Victoria noticed Lucy and her mother, each carrying trays full of Magnolia cupcakes.
“Don’t worry. I know about her campaign.”
Madame Vileroy rolled her eyes, a move that was disconcerting to Victoria, who couldn’t help but gaze into the governess’s strange left eye. “Yes, the election. But you can’t think of a single fun thing to do besides? With all that information?”
“What do you mean?” asked Victoria.
“You watched her for four hours last night.”
“Where’s the clever Victoria I used to know?” Vileroy goaded. “The girl that used to be my most talented, the one that could always give us a good laugh.”
Victoria picked up her pace and approached Lucy and her mother.
“Hi, Mrs. Spencer. How are you?” Victoria said with concern. “I’m so sorry to hear about the divorce settlement.”
2. Another Pan
FTC Advisory: Candlewick Press provided me with a copy of Another Faust. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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