The Demon’s Lexicon
by Sarah Rees Brennan
Original Publishing Date: April 27, 2010
Length: 352 pages
Obtained Via: Bought
Format Read In: Paperback
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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 desperate 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.
It took me from May to November to read this book. And not because it was such a long book–it’s one of the shorter books I have on my shelf. And yet, I kept putting it down because I got distracted by bright and shiny books. I even considered marking this as DNF a few times.
But here’s the thing: The Demon’s Lexicon is not a bad book, and it’s not boring. It’s just not compelling, by which I mean while I was reading, I enjoyed the story. But there was nothing driving me to continue on, nothing driving me to stay loyal to this book and see it through to the end. I did, eventually, as evidence by this review, but I think that lack of drive is worth noting.
As stated, I actually did quite enjoy the plot of The Demon’s Lexicon. Two brothers trying to save the older one, who has been marked by a magician for death, as well as trying to save another set of siblings from the same fate. There’s plenty of supernatural creatures, magicians, and weird things happening in this book. There’s quite a bit of mystery too. We get the feeling that Alan is hiding secrets, that the magicians have ulterior motives, and that something’s up with the demons(of course, right?) All things I loved.
It’s interesting that Nick is the central character. The book is in third person, but it’s definitely Nick’s story. We see exclusively inside his head alone, and it’s a weird and dark place there. He’s utterly unlikable, tends to think like a psychopath, and had me shaking my head often. Yet, his story is the one thing I found compelling from the beginning. His interactions with others, especially Alan, show so much that Nick himself seems unaware of, and it was quite a ride to go on the journey through the supernatural world with him.
I also thought the twist and reveal at the end was such a shock. If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you know that I generally guess twist endings, and if I don’t get the ending right, that’s a rare occurrence and worth celebrating. HOORAY for twists I didn’t see! I really enjoyed the way it wrapped up too–I could see everything pushing forward towards that moment and it made me appreciate the rest of the book more.
One of my biggest issues with The Demon’s Lexicon was the writing. I found it clunky and jarring at times. And it may have been because most of the insights we get is inside Nick’s head, but I didn’t think that was quite a good enough reasons for some pretty chopping sentences that didn’t fit in with the tone of the rest of the book. It sounds like a minor complaint, but it was actually one of the reasons I kept putting this book down, so it drops quite a bit in my overall impression.
Final Impression: At times, I thought The Demon’s Lexicon was boring and clumsy. However, during certain parts it felt like the most exciting book I’ve ever read. I can’t say I loved it, but overall, did I enjoy it? You know, I really think I did, despite everything. Would I recommend it? Not necessarily. But I thought it was an entertaining enough story, despite some clumsy writing. I’ve heard the sequels are much better and I already own one, so I’ll be picking those up.