Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review: The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Published by Margaret K. McElderry (Simon and Schuster)
Published on June 2, 2009 (Hardcover) May 4, 2010 (Paperback)
Review based on Paperback
Rating: 4.5 Bookcases

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.

I’m not sure how fair it is to write a review for a book after you have already read the sequel. After you know more about the characters and what happens after the book is over, which possibly gives you more insight. Rereading The Demon’s Lexicon after reading the sequel, I found so many little details that I missed. Overall, I found it to be much funnier than I remembered, the dialog crisper and the action more intense.

The Demon’s Lexicon was a breathtaking debut novel by Sarah Rees Brennan. The beauty of this book lies in the fact that the descriptions and action are so crisp that it feels as though if you turned the right corner in London or Exeter you just might run into Alan and Nick or Mae and Jamie.

My favorite part of The Demon’s Lexicon is that one of its major themes is love. The main characters are two sets of siblings. Alan and Nick, who have grown up knowing about magic and been chased around England by different Magician Circles, and Mae and Jamie who go to the Ryves for help and learn about the magicians and Goblin Market. And, while there is a small smattering of romance, Mae in particular has the honor of catching the attention of both Alan and Nick, but for different reasons, the most important type of love is the love you have for your family. Both Alan and Mae would do anything to protect their younger brother.

The book was told from Nick’s perspective, using third person limited narration. This was brilliant - not until the end (and what an ending!) that you realize how difficult it must have been to write the book in this way. The supporting characters, from the people at the Goblin’s Market, to the “gang” Nick hangs out with at school and the Magicians that are encountered throughout the story, were all well drawn. They felt like whole people with back stories and added depth to the plot. This much care leads you to believe that they will be seen again, possibly in the next book.

The surprise ending was so well done, there are very small hints throughout that this may be the direction the story was going in but actually getting there was a surprise. I had to go back and reread a few scenes to make sure I understood what had happened. But, it was just brilliant! In a way, I’m jealous of the readers who are just discovering this series and get to read this ending for the first time, because it blew me away. I sat with the book for awhile after finishing, thinking about the repercussions of Alan’s actions and where the characters would do next.

I have read The Demon’s Lexicon a few times and it's one of those books that gets better on rereading, because once you know the plot you can focus on all the little details you might have missed during your first reading. It’s also a book that needs to be talked about. I recommend The Demon’s Lexicon to fans of urban fantasy, clever dialog, great characters and to fans of good story telling.


  1. I just finished this one last night, and I'm posting my review tomorrow. I pretty much felt the same as you did (though I haven't read the sequel yet). Thanks for the review! :)

  2. Great review! I haven't had a chance to re-read Demon's Lexicon but maybe I should do that before I get Demon's Covenant since the sequel still isn't available over here.

  3. Great review. I have not really read about this book before and now that I have read your review I am excited as it sounds like a series I will enjoy a lot. Thanks.


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