Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Series Review: The Demon's Covenant &The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

I read the first book in the Demon's Lexicon Trilogy ages ago; only recently did I have the chance to read and review the last two books in the series.  If you want the full scoop on the premise, check out my review of the Demon's Lexicon.  I will try my best to keep these two mini-reviews somewhat spoiler-free, though as anyone who has read the first book knows, the plot involves one heck of a twist early on!

 Book #2 in the Demon's Lexicon Trilogy
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Pages: 440 (paperback)
Published: 2010 by Margaret K Elderry
Recommended for: fans of magic, magicians, and the paranormal

My Take:

The Demon's Covenant picks up shortly after The Demon's Lexicon left off.  Seventeen year old Mae-- our third-person narrator-- has returned to her ordinary upper-scale London life with her younger brother Jamie.  The only problem: Jamie, having found out that he's a powerful magician, doesn't seem at all willing to return to normalcy.  When Mae discovers him with the leader of the Obsidian Circle, a dangerous and deceivingly pleasant young man who Mae fears is determined to harness Jamie's powers to do his bidding, she feels she has no other choice but to call on the Ryves brothers, Nick and Alan, for help.  The brothers form a dysfunctional family at best, but they know their demons and magicians-- they've spent their entire lives running from the belligerent Obsidian Coven and the deadly secret of Nick's origins.  As if the situation needed more awkwardness, Mae has a history of impromptu snogging with both brothers-- one of which she now regrets falling for with all her heart, even though her heart seems to have other plans...

Mae has always been one of my favorite characters.  She's a tough girl, but also a bit of an outlaw with her pink hair, disregard for the rules, and general snarkyness.  Initially, I doubted that the story would be as fantastic when told from her POV.  Nick and Alan are the main attraction here, so to speak-- the sexy, tormented brothers who are complete opposites and continuously feud, yet loyally stick with one another in the mad, demon-ridden world that is their existence.  But it was actually really cool to get into Mae's head and understand her reactions to Nick and what not.  The biggest bonus for me was to see more of Jamie.  He's absolutely hilarious and lovable, and more so than ever in this second book.  The romantic triangles (er... pentagons?) are enthralling and kept me interested even throughout the slower half of the book.  Which was, incidentally, definitely the first half.  We get to return to the Goblin Market, where spells and encounters with demons are sold for a price and see more of Sin, the Market's best dancer who occasionally takes in a romantic interest in Nick. 

I love how unconventional Sarah Rees Brennan's characters are.  This continues to be my favorite thing about her writing.  For example, we have the evidently evil overlord magician... a nice, twenty-something guy with 'sandy hair' and a polite way about him.  Now enter the heroine in a paranormal romance torn between two (or three) guys... an entirely un-paranormal, '5'0' London schoolgirl with a penchant for rock music.  Their negligent mom... a champion fencer.  This kind of characterization keeps things interesting-- I wish we saw more of it in YA.

My Rating:

Book #3 in the Demon's Lexicon Trilogy
Pages: 400 (hardcover)
Published: June 2011

My Take: 

The conclusion to the trilogy is told from the POV of Sin, a teenage girl who is a dancer in the Goblin Market and the future leader of the Market.  That was until Mae Crawford, former prep-school studnet and the sister of one of the hated magicians came along.  The current leader of the Goblin Market is possessed and doesn't have long to live, and so she sets a series of challenging and ultimately life-threatening tasks for Sin and Mae, who remain friends despite their rivalry.  When Sin is unexpectedly cast out from the Goblin Market, she is forced to rely on the aid of brothers Nick and Alan.  Sin has always been as entranced by the unfeeling and attractive Nick as she is repulsed by his kinder, scholarly brother Alan, whose bad leg and noticeable limp brings to her mind the death of her mother-- a talented dancer who stumbled in a demon's circle and paid dearly for it.  But as she comes to know the brothers better, Sin begins to discover the real Alan beyond the facade of the golden boy she thought she knew... and she is forced to realize that it is only loss which throws into sharp relief her love for him.  Meanwhile the Obsidian Circle and their formidable leader have merged with the powerful Aventurine Circle.  The struggle for magical power comes to an explosive and entirely unprecedented crescendo when Nick's power is thrown into the mix.  

Again, I was worried by the fact that this book is from Sins' POV.  She had been a minor character who appeared only occasionally and I wondered how she could give us an eagle-eye view into the happenings with the Ryves brothers.  I did grow more attached because of her domineering personality and the way she cares for her younger siblings, but there are a few places in the story where Sin sort of just stood off, captured, to the side and watched as magical battles and power struggles unfolded around her. Other times she made good use of knives, though.  The Demon's Lexicon trilogy is big on deadly, pointy objects, uh-huh.  As always, I was impressed by the descriptive writing.

Two important transformations occurred which kind of blew me away: Sin's falling for Alan, when previously we had seen again and again that she could hardly stand to look at Alan because of his leg.  And then we have Jamie's transformation into a powerful and somewhat ruthless magician...um, wow.  I don't think he got as much of a storyline as he deserved, but somehow we are shown just enough for it to all make sense.  The dynamic-ness of all our lead characters in this final volume is just... dynamic!  I was especially excited to see more of the demons and get to understand their crazy psyche a little better.  Again with the love pentagons, but again the romances didn't seem even a little superficial.  The Demon's Surrender is absolutely the conclusion to the trilogy I longed and hoped for.         

My Rating:


Alexa said...

I really need to pick up this series. I've been meaning to for over a year now. Based on your reviews I should have gotten to it a long time ago. Thanks for the great reviews, and helping me add even more books to my ever growing wish list :)

Aylee said...

I love that POV changes from book to book. Haven't read the trilogy yet myself but I just know that I will love these characters, just like you do.

Kat said...

@Aylee-- Yes, the characters are amazing! I was sorry for the series to end, and found myself wishing these people were my friends in real life. Hope you enjoy the series when you do get to reading them. :)

@Alexa-- You're welcome! Hope you enjoy the trilogy. :)

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