Review: The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry; 1 edition (June 2, 2009)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Price: $12.23 from Amazon
Summary: [from goodreads]
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.
This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.


Review: ... My ending response is "what?" My realtionship with The Demon's Lexicon was sort of on-again-off-; at times I felt really involved with the action and at others wonder what exactly was going on. This book felt like it was split into three sections, and just when I was though I understood what was going on and getting excited, the plot would jump and I'd be left to reread and wonder if I missed something. Basically, Sarah Rees Brennan has a great way of gradually developing the plot and making me intrigued, but just when I was about to fall off my seat wondering what would happen next, I'd be left hanging and had to make the connection myself.

On the other hand, I definitely have to say the action was on 25/7, the extra hour because I'm pretty sure some intense action was happening then too. When one demon went down, some power-hungry magician would pop up and be causing some major drama. And Nick was pretty hardcore taking care of the villains. Nick was, without a doubt, one of the most arrogant and cold main male characters I've read about. Though that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially because he's described as an amazingly dark, brooding, girl-magnet (case in point: Patch from Hush Hush). There were some signs of compassion that made him actually seem like that adorable, nice boy inside... I'm trying not to ruin the storyline, so I'm just going to say that some insane twist happened at the end that really set me apart from Nick. I was debating whether or not to like him throughout the entire book, and I wanted to like him, but it was like he was PMSing; he would do something sweet, and then execute a 180-degree turn toward evil. Towards the end I just felt Nick lacked reason, had extremely limitied compassion, and was an immature child, plain and simple. If you've read the book, you probably know what event caused that change. However, I loved Nick's brother Alan! Technically, "loved" might be pushing it too far, but relative to Nick, I did love Alan. He was bookish, but he could definitely get to business when need be. Such a sweetheart.

I think what I mainly have to say about this book is the plot. The ideas were awesome, incredibly so considering The Demon's Lexicon is Sarah Rees Brennan's debut novel. There were so many different concepts, new things to puzzle out, intricate relationships, wow. The only problem with all of this information was the implementation. Not in the way that it was too much for me to handle at once, but I felt that there were some plot holes, very loosely based assumptions on the characters' parts, and, very rarely, a few parts that left me completely incredulous. I'm still confused at what exactly was running through Nick's head at the end, especially since he seems to be quite the hypocrite, and the ending was very, very open, definitely leading on to the sequel. Right now, I can't say I'll definitively read the sequel, but the ideas had me intrigued enough that I might try it. After all, this was Sarah Rees Brennan's first novel, so I'm crossing my fingers that she'll maintain the same originality and complexity, but with a little more experience and development in the writing area.

Romance: Mild. I can't say much without ruining the book, but though there was talk of and some real romantic action, it was not a major contributor to the work as a whole. Definitely more of an action book.
Cover: 2.5
Writing: 2.5
Characters: 2.5
Plot: 2.0

Bottom Line: I think Sarah Rees Brennan has potential; she can weave an intricate plot, build suspense well, and write some butt-kicking action. While The Demon's Lexicon might not be a very solid book plot-wise or writing-wise, if you're interested in the premise I would say try it and see what you think. Try to look past any gaps you might see and value the ideas underneath, because I'm hoping the sequel will be like The Demon's Lexicon, that it will retain the great concepts minus the not-so-great development. We'll have to wait for The Demon's Covenant in May 2010 to find out! :)

Extra: Slightly angsty music that this book makes me want to listen to.

Break by Three Days Grace -- love them!