Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: The Demon's Lexicon (Brennan)

The Demon's Lexicon  
Demon's Lexicon, Book 
Sarah Rees Brennan
322 p.
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: June 2, 2009

Genre: Fantasy

Overall Rating: Additional Selection

Give it to: Paranormal and horror fans in grades 7-12. If they can get past about 250 pages of blah, they may find the ending worth it.

Summary: Their father murdered and mother driven mad, two brothers run from magicians who want to recover a charm their mother stole, which is the only thing keeping her alive.

What I liked: Even though Nick is abrasive and a typical paranormal romance hero (hard on the outside, soft on the inside, blah, blah, blah), I like that Brennan created Nick as a character struggling with dyslexia. I don't like that Nick hardly ever attends school, but a protagonist with dyslexia is something I haven't seen in a fantasy hero before. Many readers will identify with Nick's struggles in school (getting there is half the battle!) and with reading. The last 50 pages are pretty exciting if readers can make it that far. Readers will love the twist at the end (which I did not see coming), which sets up a second book.
What I didn't like: With the exception of a couple of interesting parts, The Demon's Lexicon has a slow-moving plot; it took me forever to finish. I was only able to finish when I "toggled" it with another book that I was more excited to read.  The characters are difficult to relate to or care about. Nick is a typical bad-boy jerk; even Nick's mother does not like him. For much of the book, Alan is a poetry-spouting sissy who is way too soft and excessively heroic considering he is running for his life. Mae and Jamie are like annoying little kids who can't take a hint; they push themselves on total strangers, one of whom makes it clear he does not want them there. The mother comes off as a selfish, crazy bitch who favors one son and scorns the other. Who are readers supposed to root for here?  

While it is interesting, the history of the relationship between the magicians and demons does not smoothly blend into the story and is somewhat confusing and disjointed.

Some phrasing is ambiguous. I had to read multiple lines/paragraphs more than once just to understand what is going on. Possibly I was just zoning out while reading a sleepy story, but some of the lines just do not make any sense no matter how much I focused on them. For example, one line reads, "People were usually taken like that by the Market at first" (77). I read the paragraph containing this line several times and still do not have a clue what this line is supposed to mean.

Favorite Quotes"She had no eyelashes, like any reptile or underwater thing. She only looked like a human at first glance, before you noticed that small details were wrong." (p.117)   

"The black ovals that had been his eyes were lifting themselves out of his eye sockets, showing little legs, and in the space of a few seconds there was a fat black beetle emerging from each socket. They crawled down the man's face like tears." (p. 197)

  • Language: one "damn"
  • Sexuality: some horizontal kissing
  • Violence: a torture scene; lots of talk of killing; demonic possession (not nearly as scary as it could be)
  • Drugs/Alcohol: characters eat a fruit that works like a drug 

Status in my library: We don't have it. I have no plans to get it.

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