The Faustian Host
Written by: Dave Becker
Reviewed by: Laura Hartman
Dave Becker has a winner with his debut YA horror novel, The Faustian Host. Most teens feel as though the world is against them at one time or the other. But 14-year old Tony Marino seems to have the corner on problems. Within the first few pages of this fast paced novel, he attends his grandmother’s funeral, watches his family home explode in flames, is confronted by a dark, shadowy figure and is uprooted from his life in Florida to live with a couple he met as a young child and does not remember.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown were given custody of Tony by his deeply religious, superstitious grandma before she died, and move him to their home Massachusetts. They enroll him in an unconventional high school where he tried to fit it, but is thwarted at every turn. When suspicious events start spiraling around him, the few friends he makes start backing away. Is it magic, sorcery, or someone playing horrible tricks on the new kid? He refuses to believe in magic like his “crazy” grandma, but the strange events make him wonder if he is becoming as crazy as he always thought his grandma was.
Tony may be the key to saving the world, but will he and the residents of the small town he moved to be able to survive the plagues and monsters that seemed to arrive when he did?
Part of the beauty of the writing is Tony remains a teenager even when faced with adult problems, both normal and supernatural. One of my favorite lines is “Destroy the world – you said that.” Tony commented through a mouthful of nachos. “You just never said how.” I love the way Becker blends normal and supernatural seamlessly and interestingly. Most teenage boys I know wouldn’t lose their appetite in the face of an apocalyptic event – especially if nachos were around.
This was so well written and exciting to read it was disappointing to leave the world that Becker created. My only consolation is the end appears to be the stepping stone for a sequel. (2014 Update: the sequel is here! I’ll be reading and reviewing THE APOLLINE SIBYL within the next few weeks)
Copyright © 2012 Laura Hartman
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.