As I’m writing this review, my mind is still reeling.. just a heads up of the tone of this review. I’m gonna keep it short and sweet (hopefully) and again (hopefully) Spoiler Free!
Oh, and you should know, I’m a really picky paranormal reader. I’m sick of werewolves and vampires, was never really into the fallen angels or the ‘mysterious witch girl’, turned off by faeries after one fey book… but Demons were never an annoyance for me. This series kind of makes me love them, thank you Ms. Brennan.
Summary (cover flap):
Mae always thought she was in control, but in the past few weeks control has turned into chaos. She’s learned that her brother Jamie has magical powers and that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. The same magicians who tried to kill Mae and Jamie last month in London. The magicians who get their power by feeding people to demons.
Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger themselves. Every magician in England now knows what Nick really is—and they all want him dead.
Nick’s new power has also caused a rift between the brothers. In the weeks they were gone something terrible happened, something that haunts them both. With Nick as unreadable as ever and Alan making secret bargains with a demon, Mae finds herself attracted to both brothers—though she knows she can’t trust either of them. The magicians are closing in on one side and the dangerous, seductive Goblin Market is tempting her on the other, and Mae has to form her own plan to save them all. She's going to find that the price she must pay is more than she ever imagined.
The covenant is binding. There is no escape.
My Expectations: pretty high. I don’t remember exact details from The Demon’s Lexicon apart from the fact that I absolutely loved it, so I wanted this one to be just as good. I was iffy about the focus on Mae though.
Delivery: Oh. My. God. It was so good, from the first page to the last. SQUEE. Exceeded my expectations and resolved my doubts.
Put-down-ability: very low, 3/10. A pretty addicting book, especially the second half.
I only request review copies of books I’m 90% sure I’ll love. I went into this without reading any reviews, so a very fresh blank slate and the lingering memory of my love for The Demon’s Lexicon. The Demon’s Covenant? Even better.
But how is this possible? Could it be because the writing has grown exponentially? That humour is subtlety interlaced perfectly? That the characterization is mind blowing? The plot was oh-my-god amazing? The climax that will rival the one from DL (that is saying something!)? And the make out scenes (oh man, the make out scenes!) with the love triangles? *swoons a bit*
The answer to all of the above is a big fat YES. Sarah Rees Brennan is an undoubtedly clever author capable of weaving a fast-paced, action-filled novel that doesn’t surrender to sequel-syndrome.
The characters are arguably my favourite part of the novel (since I loved everything..) because being a sequel, it gives way to character development that sometimes goes overboard in middle-novels. Brennan keeps this in check and unveils true intentions layer by layer in a way that keeps you guessing and doubting the whole time. Each character becomes alive a jumps off the page (and into your heart). Mae’s feelings about having a magical brother and lacking her own powers doesn’t get in the way of their sibling love for one another.
But this really can’t hold a candle to how much I loved the Ryves brothers, Nick and Alan. The bond between the two can’t be described as anything other than: so freaking good. The charred conflict between the two lies just beneath the surface as Alan deals with his life of lies, and Nick with his struggling grasp on human emotions and protecting those who are important to him. How they act, care, worry and fight is all portrayed splendidly. Each one is characterized perfectly, with their own actions and words that just fit.
Jamie is one of my favourite characters, his sweet and soft nature really sets up for the turmoil he will experience when dealing with his magical abilities. He can offset this with quick wit and a extremely funny dialogue that won’t fail to make you laugh. And he’s not the only character capable of bringing laughter into a darker paranormal book. I don’t think a person other than Nick could have pulled off all those references to knives XP. Snippet, anyone?
"You're not taking him," said Nick. "He's ours."
"I really kind of am," Jamie put in. "I mean, I'm mine. Nick is being horrifying and inappropriate as usual, but I'd much rather go home with them. Not that I don't appreciate the kind offer of hospitality as experessed by kidnapping me.
...oh Jamie. I would totally follow you on twitter*.
And Mae has confused feelings for more than one boy… I think I’m going to be wickedly cruel and leave you this teaser *hides from flying objects*.
"She was kind of in love with him."
The writing in this one never distracted me, and kept me engaged and flipping the pages well into the night. Although I don’t have an elephant's memory of DL, I do think that this time around, the writing improved by leaps and bounds, showing the author’s tremendous growth. Action scenes were concise and clear, and the descriptions, especially of the Goblin Market were unique and vivid. The whole magician/demon world created was fantastic.
A small thing that wasn't perfect: sometimes there were subplots that fade away, then come back suddenly leaving me a bit disoriented. And I'm sad to say this, but sometimes there were too many things going on, like the whole Seb thing, Celeste/Aventurine, Gerald/Jamie, and Annabel issue in addition to the main storyline. But one 'subplot' I adored was Daniel Ryves diary :)
However, there is just too much win in this novel for that to even matter. Too much win to even comment on. And if you've read the book, which 'ships are you rooting for?? I've got my own favourites, *fingers crossed*
Parting thoughts: I can NOT wait for the next book!!! Oh, and there are a few new sub-plots introduced and loose ends...and a huge loose end just setting up Book 3.
Book in a HP terms (from the OWLs): Outstanding.
9.3/10 – because it ties with two of my favourite books this year (The Piper’s Son by MM and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness). It has an engaging plot with endless twists and turns, wonderful writing, and characters you aren’t embarrassed to wear a ridiculous suit for if that meant cheering them on and falling in love with them. If you are by any chance thinking of the next paranormal book to read, pick up this series now. Read The Demon’s Lexicon first, and keep a jar handy for all the bits of your brain when you get your mind blown. The Demon's Covenant gets a big fat A.
Recommend to all YA paranormal lovers, it won't disappoint.
The Demon's Covenant is released May 18, 2010.
Source: review copy from author.
Not convinced? Read a review from Angieville.
PS- I'm still tweaking my reviews. I added the 'parting thoughts' and 'book in HP terms'. Your thoughts? I'm really iffy about the HP one, is it too much? haha
*shout out to an awesome post by Alexa.