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April 12, 2011

Demon's Lexicon Discussion: Chapter Four

Here we go to chapter four! And if you've already read both books, you can read a new excerpt from The Demon's Surrender here. Enjoy!

Chapter Title: "The Goblin Market"

Oh, Alan, making Nick go to school even though he doesn't want to, and sacrificing his own education to support the family even though he wants to be in school. It's things like this that really show that Alan is the parent in this situation. (But I really hope he gets to go to college eventually.) And then Alan gets Nick a sword for his birthday. How adorable, in a slightly terrifying way!

One of the things I love about this series is that Alan is a young male feminist, and we get one of the wonderful little moments that show that in this chapter, when he's lecturing Nick about "speaking of women with respect."

What do you think of the mystery behind Alan's disappearance at Christmas the year before? And it seems Nick's line for girls he'll tolerate is drawn at "girls who make Alan lie to him." Interesting.

We learn some history of the Goblin Market in this chapter - and I, for once, would be happy to read an entire book of history of the Goblin Market - and one thing we learn is that it's named for a Christina Rossetti poem, which you can read here.

This particular Goblin Market is in Tiverton, partially because of the Prayer Book Rebellion. Among other issues, this dealt with languages and which languages were allowed for worship. Are there hints of the demons having to use the humans' bodies and voices in the story of the Cornish being forced to pray in English? (I am stretching things a bit, I know.) Also, the "Kill all the gentlemen" slogan has echoes of the "Kill them all" plan in the book.

Nick drops a few more hints here about maybe having a little magic - "If people had known Nick's mother was a magician, if they had known how Nick's talisman hurt him, they would have called it magic." Do you think Nick's secretly a magician? Does he just suspect? Does anyone else know?

Nick likes to think that he can see through pretense, and here he points out both that the Market people are likely to have some magic, much as they deny it, and that the Market is about business as much as it's about helping people. Personally, I'm glad, because the economy and sociology of the Market is fascinating.

At the end of the chapter we meet Merris. What do you think of her? I love the line "Her currency was power," and that the most powerful person around happens to be a woman.

And then at the VERY end of the chapter we meet Sin, who is one of my favorites. We'll meet her properly in the next chapter, but for now it's worth noting that Mae's reaction to Sin is positive, and that Nick is pleased by this.

Favorite Quotes:

"Remember, just be yourself and everyone will love you!" - Alan to Nick

"[Nick] threw out the words like a challenge. He'd found that was the best way to start things, since it always ended up that way in the end."

"Alan put his thin shoulder supportively behind Nick's and did not say a word, which was how Nick liked things best."

"People were good at being blind."

"No wonder Alan's little crush was so persistent. Nick hadn't realized [Mae] was a big nerd."

"Do demons have disco fever?" - Jamie

Posted by Kat at 07:35 PM | Comments (1)

April 11, 2011

Demon's Lexicon Song of the Day: "The Moth"

Here's another song from Sarah Rees Brennan's playlist for the book . . .

Posted by Kat at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2011

Demon's Lexicon Discussion: Chapter Three

Onward! To chapter three we go!

Chapter Title: "The Hidden Girl"

Right at the beginning of this chapter, Nick matter-of-factly tells us that he always knew his mother didn't like him, and that it was always his brother's job to take care of him. Oh, poor boys. My heart breaks for them both. Theories as to why Mum doesn't like Nick?

And then we learn about the night when their dad died - which is the night Alan gave away his talisman (to Nick) and the night Alan's leg got hurt. It's sad, of course, and also shows a terrifying amount of responsibility given to little 11-year-old Alan. It's amazing they're still alive at all.

Nick calls Alan his "stupid crippled brother" but I have to think it's a sign of affection, right? Right? I mean, clearly he wants his brother to stay safe . . .

The messenger says that Black Arthur wants "it" back. Nick says "it" is a charm. What do you think it does? Why would Olivia die if she lost it?

Nick tells us that Alan lies, which means that Alan probably lies to Nick, as well. Do you think he's lying about his reasons for leaving, or whether he plans to stay?

Any theories about Marie, the girl in the hidden picture?

Favorite Quotes:

"He had to be better than anyone he could imagine."

"Don't pretend you didn't want to impress her with how magically attentive to her needs you could be." - Nick

"This is different. This is you." - Nick to Alan

Posted by Kat at 06:10 PM | Comments (1)

April 06, 2011

Demon's Lexicon Discussion: Chapter Two

(No one has responded about chapter one yet, but onward I press, full of blind optimism!)

If you've finished chapter two, keep reading . . .

Chapter Title: "Demon's Mark"

We started learning about this in chapter one, but in this chapter we learn more about Nick and Alan's division of labor. Alan cooks and makes nice with the outside world. Nick does the Mr. Fix-It thing and gets rid of bodies. They both kill things, but Nick likes swords and Alan likes guns. This splitting of duties is such a normal family thing, but the actual duties in question are a wonderful mix of the mundane and the fantastical. I love it. (Also, I would cook for Nick any day if he would fix things around my house.)

In this chapter, we also learn a little more about how the world is set up: demons and magicians and Circles. It's helpful that the boys are explaining things to Mae and Jamie, of course, but I like that it's not too much of an infodump, and there's still stuff to figure out. One big thing that's not explained is why the Circles are after the Ryves family. Theories?

When Nick tells the Crawfords some awful things about demons, Mae protests that he isn't helping. Nick: "I am helping. I'm telling you the truth." Nick is in favor of all truth, all the time - except he also wants to hide his real life from his schoolmates. Interesting.

The first chapter and a half look like we're being set up for one type of plot: people come to Our Heroes in distress and must be saved. But then Mae and Jamie (and us) get the dire news - Jamie can't be saved. Marked for death. That's it. Game over. From this, we learn that a) this story is not going exactly where we expected and b) this book is Pulling. No. Punches.

And then, oh, poor Alan, Alan of my heart, gets demon-marked as well, because he'd given his talisman to Mae. This gives Nick yet another reason to resent the Crawfords, but it also gives him and Mae something in common, as they both want to save their brothers. It will be interesting to see if and how he reconciles that.

Favorite Quotes:

"Of course Nick was expected to get rid of the body."

"She was just the type to like them tall, dark, and carrying a lethal weapon."

"Parents, bosses, animals, and children, they all liked Alan.
Girls liked Nick. He felt it was a fair trade."

"Alan, however, could never be stopped from talking by any power of God or Nick."

"Many people think I'm a blueberry scone." - Nick

"The doomed ones always upset Alan."

"Does mist generally strike in this house? Is it attack mist?" - Jamie

Posted by Kat at 09:18 PM | Comments (1)

April 05, 2011

Demon's Lexicon: The Statue That Looks Like a Knife

On the whole, Nick liked Exeter. There was a statue on the high street that reminded him of a knife,
and he was learning to map the city out from that point.

- Chapter One, The Demon's Lexicon

Here's Nick's statue:

It is, of course, a Riddle, not a knife, and it has riddles from the Exeter Book on it. And what does this tell us about Nick? When he looks at riddles, at things he can't understand, what he sees is a knife: a weapon, something that will allow him to tear the problem apart with one deadly thrust. Nick, I think, would have made short work of the Gordian knot, not because he would see through the puzzle, but because he would barely recognize that a puzzle existed. "Why are all these people standing around nattering about how to untie the ox-cart?" he might ask. "Just cut the thing loose."

Posted by Kat at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2011

Demon's Lexicon Discussion: Chapter One

Welcome to our first discussion thread! As you can see, I gave up my idea of lumping chapters together and decided to go through one at a time, mostly so the posts wouldn't get too long and also so you all can read them at your own pace if/when you get the book. I'll be posting one chapter about every other day. I've got some thoughts and questions first, and then my favorite quotes from the chapter. Feel free to respond to what I've said and/or jump in with your own opinions!

Chapter Title: "Ravens in the Kitchen"

We jump right into the action and are expected to keep up, even though we're in a somewhat unfamiliar world. I know that some readers like this sort of beginning, while others, especially those who don't read much fantasy, would rather have the world set up and explained first. Personally, I'm somewhere in the middle - this beginning left me a little confused but a lot intrigued, and I ended up really liking the fact that I had the chance to figure out the world for myself as I read. How about you?

Another thing we get right away is the relationship between Ryves brothers Nick and Alan. They banter, even as they're fighting demonic ravens, and their banter is obviously hiding So Many Feelings that they may or may not acknowledge. What do you think of the brothers so far? Do you have a favorite?

Meanwhile, Nick and Alan's Mum is certainly . . . mysterious. And not very motherly. She does little to endear herself to the reader here, and since we're in Nick's head, that's obviously a reflection of how he sees her. Any theories on what's going on with her?

And then, of course, we meet another pair of siblings: Mae and Jamie Crawford. They're adorable, and naive, but Mae, at least, is brave - perhaps to a fault. They seem to think they need help with something "occult," but Nick doesn't really believe that they know what that means. His first impression of them is certainly not very positive, but he agrees to help - for Alan.

Favorite Quotes:

"The pipe under the kitchen sink was leaking again. It wouldn't have been so bad, except that Nick kept his favorite sword under the sink."

"'If we start selling my body to old ladies now,' Nick said, 'can I quit school?'"

"Aristotle can bite me." - Nick

"Let's not argue with the crazy person holding the enormous sword!" - Jamie

"My life was going to flash before my eyes, but it decided to hide behind my eyes and quake with terror instead." - Jamie


Posted by Kat at 08:56 PM | Comments (1)

April 03, 2011

Demon's Lexicon Song of the Day: "The Little Things"

Author Sarah Rees Brennan put together a soundtrack for her book, so I'll be pulling my songs of the day from that list this month. First up: "The Little Things" by Danny Elfman. It looks like this is from the soundtrack of a movie I haven't seen, but it seems to involve James McAvoy, so I should probably give it a try.

Posted by Kat at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2011

Demon's Lexicon: First Lines Game!

I originally picked up this book because I had found the author on Twitter via other authors I like, and enjoyed her tweets. Honestly, I wasn't sure about the premise of the book starting out, but it grabbed me in the first paragraph:

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.
I was enthralled from that moment on. The mention of a "favorite sword" is obviously a hook to catch the reader's attention, but it goes deeper: the juxtaposition of a leaky sink and a sword sets the tone for the rest of the book, of fantasy that is very much grounded in the real world, and the humor of the lines is an excellent preview of what is to come.

In celebration of awesome first lines, I have put together a little game for you. Here are memorable first lines from 20 books that I adore. How many can you identify? I will keep comments screened; you have until the end of the month or until someone gets all of them to figure it out. (And if you tell me your guesses, I'll tell you which ones you have right, so you can keep working on the others. And if you guess five and then think of a sixth later, send it along. Not a one-shot deal!) Whoever gets the most correct gets a prize. Enjoy!

HINT: No two are by the same author. Most, but not quite all, are fiction.

1. "Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies' eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde's Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde's door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof."

2. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

3. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

4. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense."

5. "He has forgotten something, he knows that for sure when he wakes up. Something he dreamt during the night. Something he ought to remember."

6. "It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others - even my nearest and dearest - there always comes a moment when I'd rather be reading a book."

7. "'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."

8. "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."

9. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

10. "I was fifteen when I first met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and nearly stepped on him."

11. "When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too."

12. "August came in, that summer of 1141, tawny as a lion and somnolent and purring as a hearthside cat."

13. "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

14. "The Fossil sisters lived in the Cromwell Road. At that end of it which is farthest away from the Brompton Road, and yet sufficiently near it so one could be taken to look at the dolls' houses in the Victoria and Albert every wet day. If the weather were not too wet, one was expected to 'save the penny and walk.'"

15. "The first day of term has a flavour that is all its own; a whiff of lazy days behind and a foretaste of the busy future. The essential thing, for a village schoolmistress on such a day, is to get up early."

16. "Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs."

17. "When Lady Ann Sercomb married George Smiley towards the end of the war she described him to her astonished Mayfair friends as breathtakingly ordinary."

18. "It was a dark and stormy night." (This is a trick question, as there are at least two books that start that way. If you know me, you'll know which one I mean.)

19. "In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen."

20. "Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire."

Posted by Kat at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

Introducing the Book of the Month!

Welcome to the first of our Book of the Month series. Basically, I'm going to pick a book I love each month and put up a bunch of posts trying to get you to read it, too. This month's book is The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. I've given you a link to Amazon there; you can also of course find it at other bookstores, your local library, or in a variety of (legal!) ebook formats. And here are the kinds of posts you can expect:

Chapter-Based Discussion Posts We'll discuss certain chapters each week (behind a cut on the main page for spoilers) - I'll put up a post with my thoughts on the designated chapters each Monday, and I encourage you to respond and discuss amongst yourselves in the comments. Here's the schedule:

April 4: Chapters 1-4
April 11: Chapters 5-8
April 18: Chapters 9-12
April 25: Chapters 13-17
(Those are just the dates on which I'll start the discussion; I figure it can last all week if there's interest.)

Topical Posts I'll post my thoughts on certain themes, scenes, etc. If there's a particular topic on which you want my opinion, or something you want me to research, let me know and I'll do my best to oblige.

Music The author released a list of songs she sees as the "soundtrack" for the novel, so I'll be looking them up and posting them for your listening pleasure.

And more! Look for an interview with Sarah Rees Brennan, a few guest posts, and whatever else I come up with! (If you've already read the book and are interested in writing a guest post, let me know!)

I can't promise a post EVERY day, but there should be posts MOST days. I'm excited about this new project, and I hope you all enjoy it! And please, read the book!

Posted by Kat at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

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