Monday, October 11, 2010

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan - Book Review #95

Monday, October 11, 2010
The Demon's Lexicon
by Sarah Rees Brennan

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 desperate 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.

The Demon's Lexicon is a compelling, fast paced, packed with action urban fantasy. I didn’t expect that much from this story. To be honest, I didn’t expect anything from it. Even though, I heard a lot of positive review on this book, it seemed to me like another cheese urban fantasy with probably flat characters, undeveloped world and weak plot.

Maybe because of my low expectations, maybe I was just wrong from the beginning, however, one way or another, I’m glad I read it – I found a new urban fantasy book and not just a book, but the first book in the trilogy that I really liked.

There are a lot of things that I liked about this book: likeable, full-flashed, alive characters; wit, funny, at the same time, realistic dialogs (I laughed out loud not once); fast paced, intriguing plot that made me turn pages with the top speed; unexpectedly shocking, on the other hand how-I-couldn’t-see-that coming huge twist on the end; very vivid descriptions of the settings, I could almost smell and touch everything (I especially likes Goblin Market, it reminded me of the market from Stardust); and finally, decent to the reader ending (it still assumed a next book, however, I didn’t end on the huge I-will-bite-my head-off-if-I-can’t-get-my-hands-on-the-next-book-right-now cliffhanger).

There are a lot of things I liked about this book… Unfortunately, there was one thing that almost spoiled everything – there was something really wrong with the writing style. First of all, at least in the copy I was reading, I saw a lot of grammatical mistakes. I’m not a grammar wiz myself (I make a fair share of them myself), so I usually, don’t even notice grammatical errors and even if I do, I usually don’t mention them in my reviews. However, in this case my eyes were tripping over them, which made it hard to keep reading. On the numbered occasions I had to stop and reread a sentence or couple of sentences over again, just to understand what it was talking about. Second, there was something wrong with the style itself. Even after I finished The Demon's Lexicon I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly was it: point of view, tense, words chosen, pace, rhythm? I just couldn’t figure out or catch what it was. I just know that for some reason Sarah Rees Brennan’s prose wasn’t flowing for me – I was choking on it, despite the fact that plot itself made me want to read further and further.

Overall, The Demon's Lexicon was fast and enjoyable read. I’m planning to read the second installment in the series - The Demon's Covenant, hopping that Sarah Rees Brennan’s copy editors and Brennan herself fixed grammatical errors and whatever was wrong with the writing style.


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