Monday, 20 July 2009

Review - The Demon's Lexicon / Sarah Rees Brennan

Summary - Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.
Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

Review - The Demon's Lexicon has been handed a double-edged sword in the masses of YA blogger excitement that it has received. Hype can be a dangerous thing and in this case it left me feeling a little disappointed. Not because the novel was bad, on contrary is a great read but I was expecting more.

That being said, Brennan did a whole lot of things right in this debut effort. Nick is a singularly interesting character. He's prickly, selfish, judgemental and filled with a rage that won't ever been quenched. I wholeheartedly loved this character from word go. He's dark, complex and can quite capably rationalise any decision he makes with a bark that is in no way as bad as his bite. He is quite simply a deliciously intriguing, relatable and smoking hot.

My issue is largely with the other characters. I simply didn't care. Brennan did such a great job in rooting the narrative from Nick's perceptive, that I fully bought into the other's uselessness. Even Alan, undoubtedly Nick's only care in the world, left me a little ambivalent. Mae and Jamie frustrated me because they frustrated Nick. The superior crafting of Nick left the others distinctly inferior in my eyes. That being said, the humour that was infused in the randomness of their predicament is great as it the portrayal of each character's motivations. It's just that Nick is such a dominant creation that the others are mere spectres.

The novel sets a cracking pace with event after event of situations that make the brothers situation all the more dire. The reader gets caught up in the intrigue, the danger and the mysticism that dominates the story. Like many reviews have pointed out, it takes some time to get riled up but the story unleashes like no other.

The Demon's Lexicon is a novel that I enjoyed reading. Brennan's concept is great with a deep mythos attached and a meaty twist that I didn't predict. Her characterisation is great, though more use of Olivia would have been fabulous. The author's got a detailed eye that makes Nick's journey a whirlwind of awesomeness. I will be hanging out for the sequel.

Published: August 2009
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Origin: UK
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Steph Su said...

Thanks for the honest review. Having too high expectations can be difficult, so I'm trying not to go into this book with that mindset. :)

Heidi R. Kling said...

I totally loved it too! And thought in this case the hype totally lived up. And clearly, I like using the word totally.

(I'll be first in line when Tim Riggins plays Nick in the movie version. Hint, hint Hollywood!)

Kami Garcia said...

I loved this book. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the fact that I have a book crush on Nick, but I also loved the plot. A linear plot does nothing for me, and this one isn't.

Anonymous said...

I started reading this today. I'm not far into it, but right now I can't decide if I like Nick or Alan better. :P

prophecygirl said...

Nice review. I loved this book too, but I do know what you mean about Nick being the main focus. He rocked!

And Heidi - Tim Riggins as Nick?! Yes please!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

I haven't read this book yet but...Tim Riggins? Did someone say Tim Riggins???