As I was searching my bookcase in search of distraction and solace, my eye fell on THE DEMON'S SURRENDER by Sarah Rees Brennan - oh yes I thought. I download the first book (THE DEMON'S LEXICON) onto my Kindle and I was off. I gobbled up all three books and then I flew through the rather fantastic short stories on Sarah Rees Brennan's web site (find them here). I loved revisiting this series so much that I thought I'd share my thoughts.
Okay, firstly I have a CONFESSION ~
The first time I read (or rather listened, I had the first two books on audio) to THE DEMON'S LEXICON I was underwhelmed.
I mean, I liked it. It centres around the Ryves Brother, Nick and Alan, who are on the run from magicians and demons. I loved the magic and the demons and the world building, and I adored Mae and Jamie, siblings, who come to Nick and Alan for help. But I had a major problem.
I hated Nick. Hated him.
I kept wondering why no one had pointed out to Sarah Rees Brennan that her pov character was an ass. Sure, I thought, have him be an ass, but why is this book not told from Alan perspective (I LOVED Alan from his first line) or Mae's (she's fab), or even Jamie's (he's funny).
Why Nick? Why? WHY?
Then I got to the last quarter of the book and realised Sarah Rees Brennan is a GENIUS. This was Nick's story and could have been told from no one's POV but Nick's. Everything fell into place perfectly at the end. When I re-read it, I had a much better opinion of Nick and because I knew the plot there were so many tiny moments I caught and appreciated. If any book deserves a re-read it is THE DEMON'S LEXICON.
So I laughed and cried my way through Book 1 and moved straight onto THE DEMON'S COVENANT. Which was originally my favourite. Told from Mae's point of view it still centres around the same characters; Nick and Alan (or those Ryvee boys as I like to think of them) Mae and her brother Jamie. I won't say much about the plot as I'd hate to spoil it. I'll just say Mae is one of my all time favourite fictional characters, from her pink hair, to her witty remarks, to her refusal to be bossed around and told what she can and can't do, to her t-shirts, to her complete loyalty to her brother. I LOVE Mae.
Which meant when I originally read Book 3, I was slightly miffed Mae was no longer centre stage. THE DEMON'S SURRENDER is told from Sin's POV. Sin is the heir apparent of the Goblin Market and had a small part in the previous books and I liked her, but I did feel a little Why Ms Rees Brennan? Why have you taken away Mae? WHY?
On the re-read, however, I discovered, again, that Sarah Rees Brennan is a GENIUS (I'll never doubt her). I think I may love Sin even more than Mae and seeing Mae's story through Sin's eyes was actually better, I'm not sure I'd have liked to have been in Mae's head during some points of this book. Plus Sin is such a fabulous, strong, determined character and her story was great, especially the love story element which made me all swoony.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is that second time around the THE DEMON'S LEXICON series is even better. If you have't read it definitely run out and get it. If you need further convincing some favourite (spoiler free) quotes.
"Hi Nick," he said, and after a pause, "Well , that's right, I sent you a text. If you insist on killing people with paintbrushes you have to get the Tube home. Those are my rules. I consider them harsh but fair." The Demon's Surrender)
"Sometimes when you pull knives on people, they get this impression that you're going to hurt them, and then they're completely terrified. Crazy, I know!"
"Okay," said Nick. He turned to Jamie and popped his left sheath again. "Look."
Jamie backed up. "Which part of "completely terrified" did you translate as "show us your knives Nick? Don't show us your knives, Nick. I have no interest in your knives." (The Demon's Covenant)
"After my dad died, I looked everywhere for someone to love me. I used to sit on the bus and watch people, see if they looked kind, try to make them smile at me. I had a hundred dreams about a hundred different people, loving me." (The Demon's Covenant)
"Do you see any deal breakers for you here?" she asked. "In the longterm? because I was thinking about-the long term." . . .
. . ."I don't have deal breakers," Alan said. "I look on tempests and am never shaken." (The Demon's Surrender)
And finally my favourite line "I missed you,"Nick raged.
Finally thought, if they ever make movies of these books, and they should, Ben Whishaw would make an excellent Alan.