Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: The Demon's Covenant
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: May 18, 2012
Pages: 440 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: audiobook clip | author website

Mae always thought she was in control, but in the past few weeks, control has turned into chaos. She's learned that her brother, Jamie, has magical powers, and that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. The same magicians who tried to kill Mae and Jamie last month in London. The magicians who get their power by feeding people to demons.

Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger themselves. Every magician in England now knows what Nick really is--and they all want him dead.

Nick's new power has also caused a rift between the brothers. In the weeks they were gone something terrible happened, something that haunts them both. With Nick as unreadable as ever and Alan making secret bargains with a demon, Mae finds herself attracted to both brothers--though she knows she can't trust either of them. The magicians are closing in on one side, and the dangerous, seductive Goblin Market is tempting her on the other, and Mae has to form her own plan to save them all. She's going to find that the price she must pay is more than she ever imagined.

The covenant is binding. There is no escape.


I've got far too many unread books sitting around and calling my name (and three of those books need to be read/reviewed ASAP), but The Demon's Covenant was screaming it louder than any of the other books. That's why I put a wrench in my to-do list and picked it up instead of one of those three important books. The Demon's Lexicon was fun, but I wasn't interested in reading the rest of the trilogy until I read another novel the author wrote. The second book of Brennan's trilogy is an improvement over the first and has me hooked to read the last book, but there were a few things about it that really harshed my bookish mellow.

If there's one thing I love about Brennan's books, it's the strong characterization. Mae, Nick, and Alan are all fantastically established and developed. I wish Mae could have been as well-developed as demon-struggling-to-understand-human-emotions Nick and lying-puppetmaster-and-pretty-much-unpredictable Alan, especially since Mae was the narrator for this book. The bonds the author creates between each pair of siblings were well-done and believable. What I don't find quite as believable is Mae's insistence on crushing on Nick. I just don't see what is worth continuing to take all the bull her throws at her. The desire to save him, maybe? I hope not. I get tired of that trope. "I want to save this bad boy!" Pfft. Not happening.

Some elements of the worldbuilding confused me a bit, but hopping back into the series was easy and the book was a thoroughly fun read. A little bit of trimming to speed it up some would have helped, though. A patch in the middle and a complaint I'll detail in the next paragraph had me picking up and putting down the book like a hot potato I was handling with my bare hands.

Characters that speak primarily in one-liners annoy the piss out of me. Authors who write characters like this too often are authors I tend to avoid and Brennan write just well enough for me to not swear off her. Jamie is a fine character (though lacking the extensive development his sister and the Ryves brothers get, he does get some), but the way he speaks in one-liners made me dread any scenes with him. Nick has his tendencies to fall into the same holes, but all the development he gets and who he has been characterized as for two books now makes it easier to forgive on his part.

It may seem like I disliked more than I liked about the book, but detailing what rocks about this book is much more difficult than detailing. The good parts feel so natural even for a paranormal novel that I'm having a hard time to say anything about them. The basic building blocks of a good novel like great characterization, adequate writing, good pacing (for the most part), and all that? Right here.

The Demon's Surrender is sitting on my bookshelf and calling my name too, but it's not loud enough for me to read it immediately. That means I have to get to the important books now. Le sigh.

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: The Blessed by Tonya Hurley