The Demon’s Covenant: a review

by Sarah Rees Brennan

Okay, I’m kind of taking a deep breath here, because I’ve got two different reactions going on. On the one hand, I am someone who’s religious and pretty traditionally religious at that. Which is to say, if someone told me that they didn’t want to read this series because of the demon thing, I would totally understand that. But, oh man, these books are good.

Demon’s Covenant is a sequel, following The Demon’s Lexicon, which I didn’t tell you about. I enjoyed the first book, despite figuring out the twist about fifty pages in. Well, it’s a little bit obvious. And then I read the second book. And there was much laughter and tears and confetti. And as a warning, there will be some spoilers for the first book in this review. So go read that first, if you’re so inclined.

Opening line: “‘Any minute now,’ Rachel said, ‘something terrible is going to happen to us.'”

The first line brings up one of the things that I loved: Mae has friends. Actual real friends who she does things with. This is nothing short of amazing. And I think it’s fabulous.

So, we’re a month or so after the end of the first book. Mae is in trouble with her mother. Jamie is hanging out with Gerald–yes, THAT Gerald. Alan and Nick have a mysterious issue that they can’t seem to work through.

This book was told mostly from Mae’s point of view and I loved that switch. Mae is honestly one of the most fabulous heroines I’ve come across in a long time. She’s strong and scary at times, without having to prove that she’s just as good as anyone else. She’s just plain awesome as is. It was great to see Nick and Alan as she did. I almost wished that she could have narrated the first book as well, although actually it wouldn’t have worked nearly as well. I do think that her emotional response helped me to feel this book more than I did the first. Which makes sense, given Nick and all.

So Nick. Nick is heartbreaking. Something about him, about his hopeless attempt to become more human, about his deepest fear just makes me want to cry. (In fact, this book did make me cry. Four times.) Brennan is walking a fine line here, trying to emphasize his alienness while at the same time keeping him sympathetic enough to care about. I think she manages it very well indeed.

The interactions between Jamie and Nick were amazing. Hilarious. I already knew that Brennan could be really funny* but the first book wasn’t quite so amusing so I wasn’t entirely prepared. This time I laughed out loud several times. But Jamie isn’t just there to be the comic relief. In his own way he’s as heartbreaking as Nick. And the end…oh the end.

I haven’t said anything about Alan yet, which isn’t because I don’t like Alan. FAR FROM IT. Alan is awesomeness. Alan is swoonable. There is no argument. In fact, I’ve been trying to come up with something else to say to prove his awesomeness and can’t.

And this book has so much to say about love and the stupid, wonderful things we do for it. I was really impressed by the fact that the most unconditional bonds in both books are between family members. Romantic bonds, at least so far, are more…fraught. (I have opinions about these romantic bonds. Strong ones.) It has a lot to say about the cost of decisions as well. Each character makes a difficult decision, one which is not without consequences. There are things which happen which are irreversible, which will not be solved with the wave of a wand or all the magic in the world. Brennan isn’t pulling her punches here, and as much as it breaks my heart, I also totally respect her for it. So yes. These will be books that stay with me for awhile, for all the right reasons.

Book source: public library
Book information: Simon & Schuster, 2010

* She did write the best summary of the Attolia books EVER. (Scroll down a bit, although the rest are great too.)



Filed under bookish posts, reviews

5 responses to “The Demon’s Covenant: a review

  1. Alan = swoon.

    And I am very glad we don’t have too terribly long to wait for the next book.

    • Maureen E

      I am so glad you agree with me.

      Yes, but even a year can be tortuous. (Although by now it’s less than a year. The unexpected benefit of being late to the game?) I may have said this before–when I was young, I read authors who were dead or at least not publishing much anymore. Now I’m reading primarily authors who are still publishing, and who are often publishing series. I’m waiting for the next book in about six different series and it’s bothersome. But I’ll wait.

  2. Pingback: October book list « By Singing Light

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