The Demon's Lexicon, The Demon's Covenant, and The Demon's Surrender, by Sarah Rees Brennan

While poking around Powell's Books a few weeks ago, I found an autographed copy of Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon. The cover art is hilariously terrible (that goofy-looking model swinging a sword while sucking in his cheekbones makes me laugh every time I look at him), but I really liked Brennan's latest book—Unspoken, which we reviewed here—so I decided to give her earlier series a shot.

The Demon's Lexicon is followed by The Demon's Covenant and The Demon's Surrender, each of which is told from a different point of view. [Spoilers ahead, at least for the first book in the series.] The demon of the title is a Nick, an ancient creature living in the body of a sixteen-year-old boy. Nick has only ever cared about one person: his older brother Alan, who has looked after him since childhood. But when Alan agrees to help a brother and sister cursed by a demonic mark, Nick finds himself caught up in their troubles as well.

As with all of Brennan's books, the dialogue in The Demon's Lexicon is irritatingly precious. This author cannot accept the idea that every bit of dialogue does not need to feature an sparkling bon mot. Actually, Nick's pithy one-liners really detract from the central dilemma of his character (and thus the entire series): if he has such a perfect grasp of sarcasm, the rest of human interaction can't be that difficult to understand.

The good news, however, is that Unspoken is better than The Demon's Lexicon, which means that Brennan is steadily improving as a writer. She really needs to work on resisting the lure of her own wit, but her central conflicts are great, her characters are endearing, and—as problems go—it's probably better to be too clever than not clever enough.
Posted by: Julianka


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