In towns across Europe, ten-year old children – Belle, Christian, Victoria and Valentin – are greedily wishing for things they do not have: beauty, fame, money, success. One night, the children mysteriously disappear and no one, not even their parents, remember that they even existed. Years later, the teenagers, along with Belle’s twin sister Bice, reappear in New York City. Led by the beautiful and mysterious Madame Vileroy, the teenagers enroll in the prestigious Marlowe School and use their special gifts to soar to the top.
To the outside world, Madame Vileroy is a selfless governess raising five adopted teenagers. Behind closed doors, Vileroy was the one to recognize their greed and to grant them the things they so desired in exchange for their souls. Their special abilities are what they always wished for, but come with just enough imperfections to keep them wanting more. Belle has the beauty that turns heads, but her smell of “vomit and honeysuckle” has people running for the door. Victoria reads minds to get ahead, but her ambition leaves her with no friends and pushes her to grovel for Vileroy’s attention. Valentin is a brilliant poet and can rewind time over and over again until he’s pleased with the outcome of a situation. However, he is always searching for a way to perfect his ability and is left with thousands of replayed possibilities that plague his thoughts. Christian is a master sportsman and can absorb anyone’s energy with a single touch, but he struggles with using his gift and knows that he’s competing unfairly. And Bice is the quiet outcast, the girl who speaks dozens of languages and yet hides in the shadows, too scared to speak to anyone.
As the teens cheat, steal and paw their way through Marlowe, Vileroy schemes to fuel their greed and to turn them against each other. She plays on their insecurities and cons them into giving up yet another piece of their humanity. As the story progresses, some teens question their gifts and yearn for real human connections, while others drive blindly towards more power.
Written by a brother and sister team, Daniel and Dina Nayeri, Another Faust is a modern take on the old German legend of a man who trades his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge. Another Faust spins an addictive tale of backstabbing, covetousness and pure evil, and adds layers upon layers of details to each character and his or her gift. We see the full spectrum of the teenagers’ abilities, the effect of their tricks on others and the frequent backfiring of their actions.The noveldoes lack in some aspects: there is a lot of build-up to certain revelations, which are hastily glossed over; the secrets revealed at the end are given little attention and would have better served if they were at least hinted at throughout the novel. However, the novel’s faults are quickly forgotten as it comes to a dramatic, hold-on-to-your-seats type of finale that will make for some excellent scenes if Another Faustis ever made into a movie.
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