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May 14, 2010

Review: The Demon's Lexicon

2010 Finishes: Books

I have a whole list of book reviews I owe you, but they're always the easiest thing to push off until later, somehow. But the next book in this series arrived today, so I'm going to tell you a little about this one before I read the next and they run together in my head, as series are wont to do.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Pages: 322
Rating: 9.8

Because it's late and I'm tired, I'm going to quote a quick description from the School Library Journal review:

In this riveting debut novel, 16-year-old Nick and his older brother, Alan, are accustomed to life on the run. Since their father was murdered, the boys have been forced to slay demons set on them by magicians seeking the powerful charm stolen by the boys' mother. Nick is furious when Alan receives a first-tier demon mark while saving a neighborhood boy. While seeking to remove it, Nick begins to suspect that his brother is lying to him about the reason for the magicians' attempts to kill them and about why their mother screams whenever Nick touches her.
And man, "riveting" is really the right word. This was, by far, the best book I've read so far this year. I don't want to say much more about the plot, because this is one of those books about which you really don't want me to give anything away. So! How about a list of reasons why this books was great, instead?
1. It fit perfectly into the strong YA fantasy genre, and yet still felt wholly original. It helps that the main species of supernatural being here is demons, rather than vampires or wizards or whatever else the kids are on about these days.
2. Brennan creates a fully fleshed out world, but she doesn't over-explain it. Instead, she drops the reader down into the middle of things and expects him to keep up. While this caused me a few moments of confusion at the beginning, it made the book much more rewarding and satisfying in the end.
3. One of the main characters is gay, and it's totally not an issue, in the best way possible. It's just who he is.
4. The main female character's strength comes from doing her own thing, rather than trying to be like the boys. She's a romantic interest, but her role isn't limited to that often-symbolic position. And she's complex enough that different males characters can be attracted to her for different reasons and it seems completely believable.
5. Nick and Alan, the brothers at the center of the story, are each dreamy in his own way, and I'm glad I don't have to pick which one to adore. And they're at their best when they're interacting with each other. (Their relationship reminds me a bit of the Salvatore brothers on The Vampire Diaries. Which is good.)
6. The plot honestly, completely shocked me. And that doesn't really happen often, especially with books in genres I read frequently. But it was so well-plotted that I didn't feel like the twists were unbelievable. When I finished, I didn't feel cheated, just shocked, and delighted, and completely satisfied.
Here's a quick test to help you decide whether you should read The Demon's Lexicon. Read the first paragraph. If it makes you smile, then you must go read this book immediately.
The pipe under the sink was leaking again. It wouldn't have been so bad, except that Nick kept his favorite sword under the sink.

Posted by Kat at May 14, 2010 11:14 PM

This book looks exactly like my cup of tea!

I just had a quick check of my library's OPAC & apparently we have a copy in stock so I'm going to see if I can find it at work tomorrow!

I love that you like YA books too.

Posted by: Emily at May 15, 2010 08:46 AM

I've seen this and thought of getting it, but wasn't sure. Now I am - I'll definitely be reading this. Thanks for the review!

Posted by: Lene at May 15, 2010 12:05 PM

I've had this on my to-read list for a while. Now that you've given it such a glowing review, I'm even more eager to read it!

Posted by: notemily at May 17, 2010 01:20 AM
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