Another Pan/Another Jekyll, Another Hyde – Daniel and Dina Nayeri

As I mentioned last week, I was re-reading Another Faust so that I could finish the trilogy. This week, I read the two sequels: Another Pan and Another Jekyll/Another Hyde (hereafter known as Jekyll cuz I don’t feel like typing out the whole title every time).

“In this pulse-quickening sequel to ANOTHER FAUST, an ancient Egyptian spell is turning the tony Marlowe School into a sinister underworld. Will all hell break loose?

Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling and her insecure freshman brother, John, are hitting the books at the Marlowe School. But one tome consumes their attention: THE BOOK OF GATES, a coveted Egyptian artifact that their professor father believes has magical powers. Soon Wendy and John discover that the legend is real—when they recite from its pages and descend into a snaking realm beneath the Manhattan school. As the hallways darken, and dead moths cake the floor, a charismatic new R.A. named Peter reveals that their actions have unleashed a terrible consequence: the underworld and all its evil is now seeping into Marlowe. Daniel Nayeri and Dina Nayeri return to reimagine Peter Pan as a twisty, atmospheric, and fast-paced fantasy about the perils of immortality.”

Having read all three in quick succession (so that I wouldn’t forget any of the minor plot details), Pan is my favourite. It’s partially the story itself, but it also has a lot to do with the way the characters draw parallels to the classic Peter Pan characters. I mean, Peter/Wendy/John are all pretty obvious (I always thought it was odd that they didn’t include the other brother Michael, but I guess it would been more complicated and not necessarily in a good way). But then there are the others:

Tina, Peter’s tiny, feisty, jealous and loyal female friend (i.e. Tinkerbell); Simon Grin, one of the antagonists, with a loud ticking watch who is described, on more than one occasion, as having a “crocodile smile”; and – the main villain of the piece – Peter’s childhood nanny with the hook hand.

Brilliant, right? I loved it.

Plus, the Egyptian mythology was an interesting touch and was incredibly detailed. It almost made me wonder if there really are stories about bonedust.

 Technically Pan can be read as a companion book, but I definitely recommend re-reading (or at least reading a summary) of Another Faust before tackling Jekyll.

“An elusive stalker is targeting Marlowe kids — and something unearthly has gotten into its wealthiest student — as the Another series builds up to a fiendish finale.

When his billionaire father marries French governess Nicola Vileroy, high society is all abuzz — but Thomas, the most popular student at Marlowe, is just plain high. Ever since his girlfriend Belle dumped him, he’s been spending less time with old friends and more time getting wasted at clubs. But after someone slips him a designer drug one night — and his stepmother seems to know way too much about his private life — things really start to get scary. As Thomas’s blackouts give way to a sinister voice inside his head, and as news of a vicious hate crime has students on edge, Thomas comes to the sickening realization that Madame Vileroy has involved him in a horrifying supernatural plan. How can he muster the strength and will to stop it? The pulse-quickening climax revisits Jekyll and Hyde as a current-day cautionary tale laced with a heady dose of paranormal intrigue.”

Of the three, Jekyll is the only one whose original source material I’ve never read (though I’ve always wanted to read it). And, while it was as captivating as its predecessors, I felt it was lacking something.

 Maybe it was just overload from reading the three books so close together which meant that whenever the characters referred to an event from one of the previous volumes, I would sigh and skim over that paragraph. I also thought there were some questions that were left unanswered (it was the shortest of the three books, so maybe?). And I sort of think that it would have been better if it had been told from first person perspective – so that you could really get into Thomas’ mind and start to see Hyde’s presence (the short diary-like entries at the beginning of each chapter were the parts I found the most fascinating).

Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of Thomas. He waffled between oblivious and observant in that annoying way that makes you think the authors were just trying to wrap things up in the simplest way possible (I can’t complain, I probably do the same thing).

Overall, it was an enjoyable trilogy. I liked how they changed the additional content at the beginnings/ends of chapters in each novel: Faust had short anecdotes about other devilish bargains, Pan ended each chapter with a different character’s “happy thought”, Jekyll had diary entries (mainly from Thomas, but there were a handful from Nicola Vileroy as well). The series had gothic elements and an abundance of literary allusions (resident goth girl Marla’s last name is Harker? Genius!) that appealed to my pretentious side (I am an English major, after all. Literary allusions are kind of my thing). It wasn’t your typical YA novel* and that’s a good thing.

*I don’t mean to offend, I’m saying this as a longtime YA fan who has the utmost respect and admiration for YA authors and YA fiction in general.

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