My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: Review to come when I can find words to describe how much this book swallowed me into the journey, characters and respective conflict. I really enjoyed this and it rather surprised me.
And I’m yet again impressed reading another book from Sarah Rees Brennan. I figured since I enjoyed “Unspoken” so much and since it will be some time before the sequel releases, I’d check into her “Demon’s Lexicon” series. Reactions of this book were mixed on my friends list on Goodreads, so I’ll admit when I found this title in my local library, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it or why it ended up being so polarizing. Now that I’ve read it, I think I know one of the primary elements of contention.
It seems like it boils down to Nick’s character. He’s quite the “bad boy” – but dangnabit, he’s the kind I can actually get behind because he had reasons for being the way he was. Even then, he was certainly gruff, but he’s funny, supportive in measures where it counts, and quite willing to fight for what he believe in. Nick is fiercely protective of his brother, Alan, who is the only family he’s got following the death of their father and the rather…odd state of their mother (who hates him with the power of a thousand somethings).
The two are on the run from a demon clan who wants a charm their mother possesses, but more complicated measures come into their company when a brother and sister (Jamie and Mae, respectively) seek their help to cure a curse. Calamity ensues, draws Alan into the risk, and Nick has no choice but to try to seek aid to help Alan, but at the cost of many things. He’s not that happy about it, and minces no words about it, even going so far as to do the unthinkable to make sure Alan’s safety is paramount. At the same time, Nick’s journey will lead him to ask questions about what Alan really knows about his family, his tasks at hand, and ultimately the very state of his being.
I’ll admit I enjoyed the immersive worldbuilding in this work – it pulled me in well enough to follow along and devour the pages going through it. I liked Jamie, Mae, and Alan’s characters as well. The humor and dynamic of the dialogue, rolling action, and progression is rather solid. It kept my attention certainly through some of the twists it had to offer. I called a few of them, but didn’t expect to get body slammed by the ending, which left me clutching the sides of the book I held in my hands when I read it. It was done so well, and with a great degree of emotional resonance that I don’t see in this genre all that often. When all was considered in this novel, I felt for Nick and the respective characters and situations that transpired.
Certainly one of my favorite read of this year, and I can’t wait to see where the next book lends.
Overall score: 4.5/5