Monday, September 21, 2009

Mock Printz 2010: The Demon's Lexicon

Title: The Demon’s Lexicon
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
ISBN: 9781416963790
Starred Review: Kirkus
ISBN: 9781416963790

“The pipe under the sink was leaking again. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that Nick kept his favourite sword under the sink.”

So starts “The Demon’s Lexicon” by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is Brennan’s debut work and it is the story of sixteen year old Nick, his older brother Alan and their mentally unstable mother Olivia. They live their lives on the run and armed to the teeth ready for attack at any moment. The family is evading the magicians who are after an amulet worn by Nick’s mother. Magicians are given power by demons but this comes at a price. Nick’s own mother was driven mad by magic and other magicians have committed acts of violence in their search for power. Into this chaos come Jamie and Mae, a brother and sister, with a serious problem. Jamie has been given two demon marks. One more mark and Jamie dies. Alan agrees to help and Nick reluctantly finds himself doing so as well, only because Alan wants him to, and not because he cares whether Jamie lives or dies. This is typical of Nick who seems unable to feel or understand complex emotions. All Nick cares about is ensuring his and Alan’s survival. Not even his own mother, who screams at the sight of Nick, enters his sphere of protection.

“The Demon’s Lexicon” is an adventure packed read. Nick is all brute strength and is very over protective of Alan who has a weakened leg after an attack when they were young. Alan can be just as fierce and deadly but is obviously a very caring person, something that seems completely beyond Nick’s capabilities, much to Alan’s dismay. Nick is such an interesting character precisely because he is so fierce. One gets the sense that he would absolutely do away with anyone in his way and the only thing keeping him in check is Alan. Nick has had an unshakeable faith in Alan but even that faith is tested when family secrets begin coming to light. This rocks Nick’s world as Alan, the one constant in his life, seems to be changing the rules on him. One can’t help but root for Nick as he struggles to temper his ways and at the same time protect Alan who puts his own life in danger in the quest to help Jamie. Some might be put off by Nick’s anger and antipathy throughout the book but stick with it and the twists and turns lead you to a sad, suspenseful, and action packed climax. “The Demon’s Lexicon” is not a Printz contender but is a must read for any fan of the TV show Supernatural since the brotherly dynamic is so reminiscent of that between the Winchester brothers.