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The Demon's Lexicon (The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy) Hardcover – June 2, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–In this riveting debut novel, 16-year-old Nick and his older brother, Alan, are accustomed to life on the run. Since their father was murdered, the boys have been forced to slay demons set on them by magicians seeking the powerful charm stolen by the boys' mother. Nick is furious when Alan receives a first-tier demon mark while saving a neighborhood boy. While seeking to remove it, Nick begins to suspect that his brother is lying to him about the reason for the magicians' attempts to kill them and about why their mother screams whenever Nick touches her. Fans of the Supernatural television series will be hooked from the novel's opening lines (The pipe under the sink was leaking again. It wouldn't have been so bad, except that Nick kept his favorite sword under the sink.). Even teens who don't consider themselves genre buffs will appreciate the solid writing, fast-paced plot, and sense of authenticity that Brennan gives to the shadowy world between ordinary, modern-day London and the otherworld of demons and magicians. Though Nick and Alan's story is mostly resolved with Nick discovering the truth behind his father's death and his mother's fear of him, readers will no doubt clamor for the next book in this planned urban fantasy trilogy.–Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD
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From Booklist

What if the bad-boy hunk in your class was actually a sword-wielding demon slayer? That’s the enticing scenario offered up in Brennan’s debut, and although the results are periodically workmanlike, they will satisfy the legions currently clamoring for this brand of dark fantasy. Nick (the aforementioned hunk) lives with his empty-shell mother and older brother Alan, but they’re constantly on the move as they hunt—and are hunted by—evil magicians and their conjured demons. Their brutal routine is interrupted by the arrival of two teen siblings in need of help, one of whom has been “marked” by a demon for certain death and the other of whom fosters a growing desire for one of the brothers. Though unique, the mythology has some holes and feels needlessly convoluted. That said, Brennan excels when she dwells upon her characters’ more human emotions (desire, loneliness, loyalty), and hits her stride in the final stretch, creating several scenes of unexpected horror and piling on some truly surprising twists. Stick with it, and you’ll be glad you did. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

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Product Details

  • Series: The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416963790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416963790
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Rees Brennan was born and raised in Ireland by the sea, where her teachers valiantly tried to make her fluent in Irish (she wants you to know it's not called Gaelic) but she chose to read books under her desk in class instead. The books most often found under her desk were Jane Austen, Margaret Mahy, Anthony Trollope, Robin McKinley and Diana Wynne Jones, and she still loves them all today.

After college she lived briefly in New York and somehow survived in spite of her habit of hitching lifts in fire engines. She began working on The Demon's Lexicon while doing a Creative Writing MA and library work in Surrey, England. Since then she has returned to Ireland to write and use as a home base for future adventures. Her Irish is still woeful, but she feels the books under the desk were worth it.

The Demon's Lexicon trilogy is her first published work.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Gold Star Award Winner!

Nick and his brother, Alan, have been on the run for Nick's entire life - and when they're not running, they're fighting the vicious magicians pursuing their mother and the powerful charm she stole. Magicians who trade lives for power. Who killed their father and left Alan with a permanent limp. And who show up yet again as soon as Nick has started to get comfortable in their new home.

This time, everything's different. A demon marks Alan, and Nick can't rest until he knows his brother is safe. Especially after one of the most powerful magician's circles delivers a warning that leaves Alan more shaken than Nick's ever seen. But the harder Nick tries to protect him, the more he realizes how many secrets Alan's been keeping from him.

No longer able to trust the one person he thought he could count on, Nick sets out to find the truth.

Unfortunately, this truth is more dangerous than most...

THE DEMON'S LEXICON is a dark, fast-paced story filled with equal parts of action and emotion - and incredibly difficult to put down once you've started. The narration, from Nick's point of view, is stark but comes with plenty of biting humor.

All of the characters have more to them than it appears at first glance, and it's easy to believe the vivid world of magicians and the Goblin's Market could truly exist amidst our own. The many twists will keep readers guessing and glued to the page, but ultimately the story rests on Nick and Alan and the intense yet tenuous bond between them. It's this relationship that gives the novel its heart, and raises it above the many other paranormal and urban fantasy offerings hitting the shelves.

Highly recommended to all!

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By flamingakira on February 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the first of the authors, and the first in a series. It is exceptionally well written, with excellent humour, a solid and detailed plot, and a surprise ending. I would recommend it to young adults and adults alike. Though the main character isn't gay, the book is gay friendly and deals with it in a mature way.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Karisha H on June 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'd actually have given this 4.5 stars, but rounded up because it deserves more than a flat 4.

As another reviewer has mentioned, it was refreshing to read a YA novel where romance does not factor heavily. There is lots of love, but it's familial love--brotherly (and sisterly) and devoted. Mae could be considered the love interest, but the touch is fairly light in this regard.

Sarah Rees Brennan has a knack for humor. It's apparent in her blog and her fanfiction. It shone a little less brightly in this book, but it was still present. Nick and Jamie have most of the good lines, and while Mae was spunky and opinionated, I felt a little more could have been done with her. She and her brother crash in on the secret life Nick and older brother Alan try to keep hidden, pleading for help with Jamie's predicament. The relationship between brother and sister is believable, but I wanted just the slightest bit more. The dynamic between Nick and Alan took some getting used to, but as the story goes on, it works well in context.

While the protagonist is undoubtedly Nick, the dark brooding hero who has all this knowledge of swords and demons and evil magicians (Sarah Rees Brennan has attempted to deconstruct this stereotype, and it works well enough, especially as the story goes on), it is Alan who is perhaps the most intriguing throughout. Both Ryves brothers keep secrets, but Alan keeps more than anyone else suspects--even Nick. And when Nick glimpses something Alan's been keeping from him, he becomes obsessed with uncovering it fully.

There are a few twists in the last third of the book or so, and one huge one toward the very end.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Greenwoman on March 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I adored this novel. I frightened a woman at the bookstore by brandishing it at her maniacally and asking if she'd read it in a fevered whisper. But she should have listened to me. She would have enjoyed it more than the silly novel she was buying, I'm sure of it. It has one of my favorite first paragraphs of a novel EVER. It has action! Smooches! Surprises! And also, complicated relationships and excellent dialogue. I recommend it unreservedly. And I'm kinda picky.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By webgrunt on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I was partway through reading The Demon's Lexicon, there were a few plot elements I thought were errors which I chalked up to it being Sarah Rees Brennan's first novel. I couldn't have been happier to be wrong! Everything became clear, all the loose ends were tied up, and earlier events took on deeper meanings as new plot twists opened up.

The characters are clearly drawn and it's easy to like them. The bad guys are depicted as humans with good qualities as well as bad, and the good guys aren't 100% good, either--just like in real life. It's a refreshing change from many fantasy stories in which the characters are cartoonishly depicted as either pure good or pure evil.

The pacing is good, as well. You won't have to read through pages and pages of useless drivel in between the good parts. The book is almost entirely good parts.

In short, this is an excellent story, masterfully told. I eagerly await Ms. Brennan's next book.
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