Here is another book I picked up at BEA 2009. The cover of the book intrigued as well as the description in BEA’s program. So, I got in line to get a copy and got to meet the two young authors of this work, Daniel And Dina Nayeri. The brother/sister team wrote, Another Faust, which is due out on August 25.
The description of this book on Amazon reads:
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 side effects 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 re imagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption.
Now, I need to admit, I did not know what a Faustian bargain was. But, I figured I’d figure it out when reading the novel. I definitely got a good idea, but was still not sure of the true legend. So, for the few of you out there that may also be in my boat, here’s a quick recap of the Faust legend (provided by Faust.com).
Faust (pronounced ‘fowst’) is a fictional black-magic sorcerer who sells his soul to the Devil.
He is a frustrated educated man who foresakes God and makes a pact with the Devil to attain forbidden knowledge and power which belongs to God. In this regard, the story of Faust can be seen as a medieval cautionary commentary on the rise of scientific inquiry, and of other great advances of the Renaissance.
Anyway, I don’t think this book has any commentary on the use of scientific inquiry, but it definitely looks at good versus evil — in a way I’ve never seen it done before. This book is very uncomfortable, but one I couldn’t put down. While I tended to be confused much of the time, I just kept plodding along trying to figure it all out. It wasn’t confusing in a way that turned me off, but in a way that made me want to understand.
The five teens in this book have extraordinary powers that seem to change as they make different deals with their governess, Nicola Vileroy. These teens, well at least four of them, do not use their powers for good, but purely for self advancement. However, there are great prices to pay for these abilities. It does make one wander what people are willing to give up to realize their ulitmate dreams.
The governess found these children when there were ten. The story starts with describing the difficulties of these children’s daily lives, some of which are not physical hardships, and what they truly desire. It picks up five years later with the teens now entering a new school to use their powers to advance their own desires. I’m still a little shaken up with how easily the governess was able to get these children to give up their lives and be “adopted” by her. It did make me appreciate my family.
It was also difficult to watch the treatment of the governess. In my mind, she adopted five children she wanted to succeed. However, that’s not the story. Her interference in the five’s relationships with each other and the rest of the world shows just how evil she really is. She is definitely evil incarnate.
The end of the novel offers some hope, although not as much as I would like. It was a fitting ending and it does tie up some of the questions I had throughout the novel. I wasn’t as confused when I got to the final page. But, I am still unsettled by this novel. I guess that shows what a good story and writing was involved.
I’m not sure to whom to recommend this book. I wish someone I know had read it because I would love to discuss it. But, it is definitely not a light, YA read as you may expect from the cover.