Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri: A Book Review

"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 Giorgio Armani."
"No. He left the clothing business. He became president and dropped a bomb on Hiroshima."

One dark night, five children suddenly disappear from their homes in Glasgow, London, Rome, and Paris. Several years later, at a Christmas Eve party in New York City, five stunning teens make an impressive debut with their mesmerizing, beautiful governess, Madam Vileroy. Soon, they are accepted into the elite Marlow School and, using "gifts" given to them by Madam Vileroy, begin to "claw their way to the top". But they have a secret...they've paid an enormous price for these gifts, and when Madam Vileroy starts to tire of them, everything they've worked for may come crashing down around them...

Victoria--the cheater. She'll do anything to win, even if it means hurting everyone around her.

Christian--the thief. His gift is incredibly powerful, but it is accompanied by an enormous sense of guilt. Christian wants a way out of this deadly game, before it's too late.

Valentin--the liar. He can replay scenes over and over again, until he gets them exactly right. But his gift may cost him not only his soul but also his mind.

Belle--the beauty. She's drop-dead gorgeous, but she has betrayed those closest to her to gain her stunning looks. And what no one else suspects is that her pretty face isn't even her own...

Bice--the hider. She can freeze time for years on end, hiding away in her room with her mountains of books. But what no one has told her is that, while everyone else is frozen, her body continues to age...

This modern retelling of the Faustian Bargain legend is fascinating and thought-provoking. What would you do if you were offered all the power in the world--for the price of your soul?

I found this book very enjoyable. It was dark but funny, and the characters were extremely interesting. At first glance, they might have seemed perfect, but each one had many flaws to their character that made them seem more genuine and realistic. I found it very interesting that this was a retelling of an old classic; I hadn't known this when I borrowed the book, but it made it even more intriguing. In fact, there were many references to the Faustian legend in this book--even the name of the school, Marlowe, comes from the last name of the man who wrote Faust.

This book was read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.

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