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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.


The review below might contain slight spoilers.

The Faustian Bargain is a popular worldwide legend about the devil. The bargain is the ultimate an individual might pay: the price of his soul for a devilish favor. Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri is the tale of five children and how they unwittingly make such a deal.

In locations around the world, five children vanish without a trace. Five years later, they appear at an elite New York party on Christmas Eve, accompanied by their governess, Madame Vileroy. As strikingly beautiful as she is devious, Vileroy has endowed each of the teens with a mysterious gift. The gifts are special, fitting for each child’s personality, and allow for some fun and mischief, such as Valentin’s ability to stop time leads to replay a scene over and over helps a nerdy classmate win over the popular cheerleader. The gifts also enable them to advance beyond their peers. But as it’s a Faustian Bargain, the gifts may have devastating consequences.

Another Faust’s characters and the historical backgrounds of the novel are the features I enjoyed the most from the novel. Each chapter opens in a different historical period, such as the time of the Romanov family or Egyptian pharoahs. If there’s dialogue, the speakers often aren’t named. This only adds to the sinister nature of Vileroy and the bargain. The scenes darkly echo the underlying tone of the chapter they open.

My favorite such scene is below:

“Why do you care about all of this? Why would someone like you bother helping someone like me?”

“Because some things that seem unimportant now can change the course of human history – and I am a student of human history.”

“Well, I’ve only ever been a failure. I sign here?”

“Lots of big accomplishments begin with failures.”

“Like what?”

“There was a man who owned a clothing store that went bankrupt.”

“Let me guess. He learned from his failure and started over as Georgio Armani.”

“No. He left the clothing business. He became president and dropped a bomb on Hiroshima.”

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

The characters varied in personality and villainy, and the use of different viewpoints gives the reader a thorough view of their complexities. As Villeroy has erased their previous memories and implanted new ones (only one child knows the truth), they’d formed an awkward little family, and are siblings. I was so both horrified and intrigued by Victoria, the power-hungry teen who would stop at nothing – and I mean nothing – to win even above her brothers and sisters. Save Victoria, I wanted all of the teens to gain redemption even as they used their gifts to “cheat” over other students: Christian, the skilled athlete. Bice, who only wanted to hide away. Belle, as beautiful as she was odorous. Valentin, the liar with the soul of a poet. As they struggle with the unexpected consequences of their gifts and deceit, you’ll be asking: to what lengths will someone go to win? And what happens when they reach that point?

This book grabbed me instantly. The first chapter , illustrating each of the children’s lives before they were taken was so engrossing as it spanned countries and social classes, it got my attention and didn’t let go until the last page. I read this on vacation, and I spent more time by the pool reading, than actually swimming. The ending was nothing like what I expected and if this title is indication, the second in the Another series will be just as suspenseful.

Another Faust is available this week, and it’s a must-read. Just don’t sell your soul for it.

Check out the book trailer below.

Copy for review provided by the publisher.

Title: Another Faust
Author: Daniel and Dina Nayeri
Date: August 25, 2009
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 400
Format: Hardback

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