Monday, May 16, 2011

Persy -- The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Nick and Alan Ryves's life is one of constant motion. They never stay long in one place, have to always be ready to fight, and have to keep from getting into too much trouble just being them. Oh, and there's Olivia, their crazy mum. They have to look after her, too.

Many years ago, Olivia stole a powerful charm from one of the evil magicians (all magicians are evil, btw), Black Arthur. Ever since, Black Arthur (and just about every other magician) has been chasing them around the country, trying to get it back. And Olivia can't give it back, because it is now the only thing keeping her alive.

Nick wouldn't have a problem with his mum's death. Olivia can't stand the sight of Nick, and Nick can't stand the sight of her. But Alan cares about Olivia, so Nick won't let anything happen to their mum. Alan's the only person Nick cares about.

It's not a bad life. That is to say, they've gotten used to it. But everything goes topsy turvy when siblings Mae and Jamie Crawford come to them for help. A demon has been visiting Jamie, and he now has two demon marks on him, which means there's no hope. Nick tells them Jamie's death is now enevitable, and he's ready to move on. But Alan wants to help, and they end up getting into a whole mess of trouble.

From the very start I hated this book. It felt a bit too...written, if that makes any sense. None of the characters feel real, like someone you might meet on the street. They feel like characters. And then there's their characters. Let's start with Alan and Nick. Nick is always, always, always angry. He's the absolute extreme of teenage angry. Alan, on the other hand, is always, always, always nice and sympathetic and loves everybody. He's the absolute extreme of friendly love and happiness. Or something. Mae is just kind of there to have a girl character, and you can tell that Sarah Rees Brennan tried to make her interesting (pink hair, odd fashion sense, likes magic stuff), but it just didn't work. Mae is just there. Jamie is definitely my favorite character. He's kind of awkward and funny in a nerdy kind of way, and when he and Nick are stuck together things are always funny.

There were many, many times where I almost put down the book. I'd flip forward some, glimpse a mildly interesting paragraph, and then just keep reading in the hopes something got better. And then when I read the first half of the book in about an hour, I figured I might as well just finish it.

I've never been so irritated to find an author who writes well.

Turns out, there is an explanation for everything (well, mostly everything). There's a reason Nick is so, so, so angry all the freakin' time, anyway. Not much about Alan's lovey dovey-ness, but oh well.

I'm not going to tell you what the explanation is, because that would be ruining the most amazing plot twist ever. So, unfortunately, I'm going to have to recommend that you read this book, because it turns out Sarah Rees Brennan does kind of know what she's doing after all. Sigh.

The ending almost makes up for the rest of it, because it was a very good ending. And you know how I feel about endings: a good finale will make up for almost anything else you do. But I still can't quite like any of the characters, or even the world in general. But that one plot twist...*sigh*.

So this is obviously a very mixed review. Hated it almost the entire time I was reading it, but...GAAH. I hardly ever find a plot twist I don't see coming, so now that I've found one that actually makes perfect twist and took me completely by surprise, I can't help but respect and admire the book and writer who pulled it off. So venture into The Demon's Lexicon at your own risk.


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