Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 323 (paperback)
Published: June 2009 by Simon & Schuster
Recommended for: hilarious, totally awesome, epic contemp-fantasy anyone?
Nick and his brother Alan are on the run with their mother, who was once the lover of a powerful magician. When she left him, she stole an important charm - and he will stop at nothing to reclaim it. Now Alan has been marked with the sign of death by the magician's demon, and only Nick can save him. But to do so he must face those he has fled from all his life - the magicians - and kill them. So the hunted becomes the hunter...but in saving his brother, Nick discovers something that will unravel his whole past...
There are a few books in this world that I feel compelled to re-read every once in a while, like some kind of sacred book-ish pilgrimage which must be made at least once a year. The Harry Potter series comes to mind, of course, but this is my third time reading the Demon's Lexicon during the three years I've owned the book. That, guys, is HUGE considering that as a blogger and true reading addict, I have books coming out of my ears (and a few other places, too ;) 90% of the time. This is a brilliant YA book in a deceptively typical package: none of the covers it has been released under absolutely scream 'READ ME!', nor does the description do the amazingly twisty-turvy plot or the incredible characters justice.
Nick and his brother Alan are survivors to the core. For years, they've been on the run with their mad magician mother Olivia, fleeing powerful magicians and their otherworldly demon servants all across the British Isles. These demons exist on a plane apart from ours and are cold, unfeeling beings who crave nothing more than the ecstasies and pangs of human emotion... except perhaps human life. When a pair of siblings come to the brothers in dire need of 'occult assistance', kind and intellectual Alan immediately wants to help them, especially since the sister, Mae, is the snarky pink-haired girl he's been crushing on for weeks. But Nick is less willing to take in the strangers, especially after their foolishness results in Alan getting branded with a demon's mark-- making him a vulnerable target for demons and their magician cohorts. In order to remove Alan's mark and the mark on Mae's brother, the foursome must hunt down and kill two magicians of the most dangerous magical Order.
I love all the characters so much-- unreasonably much! Nick is a refreshing narrator, because he's completely different from most other YA protagonists in so many ways. He's blunt and sarcastic in his observations, distant without being totally unemotional. His bond with Alan is the kind of relationship that has you pondering its depths (or lack thereof) at odd moments long after you've read the book. Alan is one Sumerian-reading, poetry-discussing (and yeah, thanks to his chaotic lifestyle which tends to frequently erupt into demon violence, gun-toting) guy I could so get along with. Between the two brothers, I find myself firmly on his side-- Team Alan, if you will! Mae is a pink-haired baby bat (that's a wannabe Goth, not a flying mammal) who would probably think the occult was pretty cool had her brother Jamie not been marked for death by an incubus demon. She's tough, she's smart, she's hot, and she's fiercely loyal to her brother. Her connections with both brothers leaves readers guessing as to who she's going to finally end up with. Jamie is another of the four-way ties for my favorite character in The Demon's Lexicon. He delivers most of the one-liners and made me laugh about a hundred times with his brave attempts at friendly banter with Nick. Author Sarah Rees Brennan is pretty darn hilarious, as evidenced by her Harry Potter fanfiction (which unfortunately is no longer on the web due to her being a published author) and her LiveJournal page.
As for the gigantic twist at the end of the novel, I don't know many people who claim to have seen it coming. The writing is just plain pretty, bordering on poetic, but the story itself moves along at a near-breakneck pace. For just over 300 pages, this is a heck of a great story with plenty of detail and endless intrigue. I fell in love with this book yet again this week, and with the sequel, The Demon's Covenant, and I honestly recommend it a hundred and one percent.
If you have already read the book, then you're free to check out this (SPOILER JAM-PACKED) Lego rendition of the Demon's Lexicon. It's beyond awesome.
Plot: 5/5Overall Rating: 5/5