Title: The Faustian Host
Author: Dave Becker
Series: Apocalypse Signs # 1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Pub. Year: 2012
I received this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb from Amazon:
Plymouth Rock is bleeding. Day has turned to night. Hundred-pound hailstones level buildings. The small town of Clement seems cursed, and the residents know who’s to blame: the new kid, Tony Marino.
After losing his family and his home, 14-year-old Tony is forced to move from Florida to Massachusetts to attend Kalos Academy, an unconventional school for gifted children. Strange things begin to happen the day he arrives, and soon stories of plagues, monsters, and mystical objects surround him. Refusing to believe superstitions, Tony struggles to explain the occurrences logically, until he comes face to face with a satanic cult determined to bring about the end of the world.
Thoughts to ponder on: Close to having religious tones but vague enough to not have them.
The Faustian Host ended up being different than I expected. I was sort of expecting a book with a semi-Christian tone (to counter the satanic cult) with monsters but it is really different. It is a lot better than my initial thoughts on it. It is much more about Tony and the freak events surrounding him.
Tony is an interesting protagonist. At the beginning, he seem to do everything wrong. He got off on the wrong foot with his foster father by talking about religion in a negative way and at school, he made himself a target by saying and doing the wrong things. It was hard to relate to him but as the novel progressed and Tony started finding his friends, it was easier to see him as a likable character. His friends are quirky and have unique personalities but there wasn’t a lot of background on them. Tony is a consistent character throughout the novel. He repeatedly stuck his foot in his mouth and screwed up his friendships. Luckily, he matured through the novel and managed to save his friendships and make new ones.
One of the quirkiest or oddest thing about the book is the town’s reaction to the plagues. It’s like “Oh, the town is covered with a very deep fog…go to school” and I’m like “What.” I like school very much but I rather stay at home than drive/walk through a creepy fog. The town was really chill with the water turning red and a swarm of flies. There was an initial panic at first but it was downplayed as Tony’s fault. He brought the plagues to town because he was cursed so people just stayed away from him. I was half-expecting a mob to go after him or people to truly panic and leave town. It is just a funny reaction from the town which makes for an interesting novel.
The villains of the story are a satanic cult and want to destroy the world. They are lead by Sinthos. He is not really charismatic. Tony is not really entice to join the cult because Sinthos is not enticing. He is not a great villain but he is good villain because he constantly interferes in the life of Tony. One of my favorite scenes of the book was when Sinthos explains why Tony is cursed. It is a unique and indirect way of explaining the curse. It was different because it leaves the reader wondering if the story was really about Tony or just a legend. I feel it is about Tony and it explains the title of the book. Goethe’s Faust is about a deal with the devil.
Being the first book in a new series, there are a couple of characters that leave me wondering. Carver and Hammon, the two teachers from the Kalos Academy, knew about what was going on with the plagues but they never brought in Tony into their confidence. There is also the question of whether Carver and Hammon are allies or not. Both teachers are wary of each other yet still worked together to protect Tony. They are an interesting pair. The biggest question is why did Hammon leave Tony and his classmates alone in the Death Valley. Hammon is either a highly irresponsible teacher, it was a test or he was setting up Tony to be taken by Sinthos and his cult. I’m not sure what his reasoning is. Carver might be more insane than Hammon because he has a creepy vibe but he is a fascinating character. I‘m looking forward to seeing what direction both men take.
In the end, The Faustian Host earns 4 butterflies from me. It has an interesting plot with very intriguing teachers. I will definitely pick up the second book in the sries.
48th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, First In A Series, Where Are You Reading?-Massachusetts