Author: Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Published: August 2009 by Candlewick
Source: traded (copy is an ARC)
Description: 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.
I Give This ...
I haven't seen very many raving reviews for this one. I still wanted to give it a shot because the idea sounded interesting. But, it's very confusing in the beginning. I didn't feel the story did a very good job of explaining why these 5 (or really 4 and a tag-a-long) were picked. I also felt that even the 3 who knew what they had done really understood the full implications of the deals that they had made. It felt like they were getting little in return (not that any reason is good enough to sell your soul). What was the final goal? Was it to make them all rich and powerful and then remind them that they didn't own their own lives? It was also a very slow read. There isn't a lot of action, more like a lot of meticulous details. I think the story would have been better if there would have been less characters pitted against each other. It was hard to tell were one character's deeds ended and another one's began. They all seemed so intertwined, but at the same time they were trying to out do one another. It made it hard to like the characters, even those who had no real choice in the gifts given to them.
I kept reading because I wanted to see what the end result would be. It's not a horrible book, but not something I would overly recommend.