At the suggestion of a friend, I recently read the following books:
Brennan, Sarah Rees. 2009. The demon’s lexicon. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Brennan, Sarah Rees. 2010. The demon’s covenant. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Brennan, Sarah Rees. 2011. The demon’s surrender. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Overall, this is a great set of engaging books. Since one of the things I greatly appreciated was that I was genuinely surprised by each book, I’m going to do my best to provide a spoiler-free review.
For people of faith who read this blog, don’t be put off by the titles. In some ways it’s better to think of the “demons” in this story as extradimensional aliens who long to break through into our world. The demons would fit in quite well in a Doctor Who story and not at all well in The Exorcist.
With that out-of-the-way, what is this series about? In my view, the three books are a story of unconditional love and its power to bring about change in the objects of that love. It’s also about the possibility of redemption for all. The series is realistic in showing that redemption is hard to come by without sacrifice and pain and that not all are redeemed. But it also insists that all have the possibility of making different choices. There are also interesting and sometimes humorous explorations of the lengths people will go to rationalize their actions.
All three books crackle with great dialog that avoids preachiness. Each of the three books is told from a different character’s point of view. I didn’t think this would work and neither did Ms. Brennan’s publishers. But it not only works, it was truly required. Otherwise it would have been impossible to believably pull off some of the surprises I mentioned earlier. The use of the different narrators also allows for a fuller exploration of the Demon Lexicon’s universe.
The one minor flaw in this series as that the main characters: Nick, Alan, Mae, Jamie and Cynthia (Sin/Thea) are supposed to be teenagers. They all attend high school, but to me they all talk like they are in the late 20s, except for Jamie who sounds like a real teenager and Alan, who is portrayed as about 19 but talks and acts like he’s 40. It’s a minor flaw to me because I love good snarky dialog much more than I love authenticity in voice.
The final thing I’ll mention in this hopefully spoiler free review is to watch out for the t-shirts. There are several characters who wear message t-shirts and they often correspond to the mood or situation. My favorite is one of Alan’s t-shirts that proclaims: “I get my fun between the covers” and features an open book.
If you do read the series, check out the author’s Live Journal account, which features a number of short stories set in this universe. Sarah Rees Brennan also has an author website.