Nick Ryves is tired of running. For one, he actually likes Exeter. Moving, finding a job, and trying to blend into the latest new high school does get old. At least it’s for a legitimate reason, since demon-riding magicians are after them and all. But before Nick, his brother Alan, and his mad mother can leave, a kid from Nick’s school has to go and get himself marked by a demon – twice – the third mark being death. So they’re off to the Goblin’s Market to dance with the demons and help Mae and her marked brother Jamie all they can. However much to the chagrin of Nick, Alan ends up marked as well. Now it’s up to Nick to save him by hunting down the magician’s circle after them before Alan is possessed by demons indefinitely.
So I realize that I’m probably the last person to read this. Admittedly, a fantasy book featuring two brothers and demons wasn’t unappealing, but it wasn’t exactly grabbing me either. Alan and Nick got progressively harder and harder to avoid though, what with all the passionate die-hard fans proclaiming their love throughout the blogosphere (Team Alan here!) or debating the US v. the UK covers (UK covers FTW!). Their ubiquity coupled with Sarah Rees Brennan‘s felt presence – both her seemingly awesome book recommendations and friendly, accommodating online personality – and The Demon’s Lexicon finally became impossible to ignore. Still, I opened up my copy hoping for the best but with hype-aware reservations.
What I found was unexpected but oh-so-welcome. When readers said Alan and Nick’s relationship was well-done, they weren’t exaggerating. Brennan nailed their brotherly relationship, which is complexer than most considering that Alan practically raised Nick since their father’s been out of the picture for years and their mother is nearly legally insane. Caring, responsible, soft-hearted yet mysterious Alan I loved just as much as I (to my surprise) didn’t hate Nick, who is one of the more fully-fleshed, well-written, and just plain cool characters in YA fantasy of late. He’s selfish, dog-eat-dog, and oft-times frightening in his cool, ruthless demeanor. He truly cares about no one but himself and Alan. In theory Nick seems hard to like but in reality his selfless, determined, yet openly denied love for his brother trumps his unforgiving disregard for everyone else. Honestly, Alan and Nick’s complicated and authentic relationship and the stunningly huge, unexpected, and completely awesome reveal in the last half made this book for me. There is even a moment I’m dying to quote in its spoiler-y entirety that had me melting and wiping away a tear I was so moved by Alan’s devotion. Whether worn on a sleeve or incapable of being expressed in words, the Alan and Nick’s love for each other won me over. That and the unexpectedly dimensional secondary characters, the dark, original urban fantasy world, and the mind-blowingly cool possibilities and rereading potential therein. Bottom line: The Demon’s Lexicon has another ardent fan who is dying to get her hands on The Demon’s Covenant.