The Demon’s Covenant: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees BrennanMae thought she had left all of her troubles behind in London. Certainly nightmares followed her home to Exeter, but that was okay because her brother Jamie was safe from the magicians and the Ryves brothers were too far away to draw either of them into their more complicated web of lies and trouble.

That’s what Mae thought when her life finally seemed to be getting back to normal.

But trouble has its eye on Mae. The magicians who wanted to kill Jamie are now trying to  lure him into their ruthless circle. Nick and Alan Ryves are, of course, uniquely qualified to help. Their return brings its own unique blend of exhilaration and mayhem to Mae’s life.  The lure of magic is tantalizing but the danger is greater than ever before as Mae tries to make sense of her own, normal, world and the magical one that glitters just out of her reach in The Demon’s Covenant (2010) by Sarah Rees Brennan.

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If Sarah Rees Brennan’s first book, The Demon’s Lexicon, crackled with intensity then this book is burning with it. Brennan has taken a story that already seemed at the breaking point with tension and emotion and made it all even more taut and thrilling. As ever, the characters shine with a unique blend of action and humor throughout the story.

The Demon’s Covenant necessarily spends more time looking at what it means to be human and, more importantly, what it means to love. Watching Nick stumble through what it means to really care about someone and try to decide if he even can care for someone is heartbreaking and utterly compelling to follow as Mae tries to explain alien concepts like comfort to one who never had use for such feelings. It’s a strange thing to say about what is largely an adventure fantasy, but this book brims over with brotherly love and friendship. There are few writers who handle those themes as well as Brennan does here.

Some reviews expressed disappointment that the story shifted to Mae’s point of view in this installment but, really, the transition was seamless. The writing here is spot-on with a dynamo combination of exposition and character development to create an exciting story with substance besides. And, of course, Mae is an awesome girl (with awesome pink hair) ready to not only save herself but also everyone else! All in all, The Demon’s Covenant was even better than Brennan’s rather great first installment in her Demon Trilogy.

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Caster by Elsie Chapman, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, Shadowshaper by  Daniel José Older, The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Exclusive Bonus Content: The only great flaw in this book, and it’s a big one, is that Alan remains painfully fictional. One might even call it disastragic.* Aside from being one of my favorite characters (of all time) Alan is also really well developed. He also continues to run brilliant, cunning circles around all of the other characters with his brilliant, cunning plans all while being charming, smart, and just a bit dangerous (and cunning and brilliant). It was crushing, upon finishing this little gem, to be forced to acknowledge that this literary hottie is not real and that even if he were he would be in England and far too busy fighting magicians and saving demons to bother with boring old me. Alas and alack.

*That there is a new word I created, a combination of disastrous and tragic, obviously. Ray Gunn decided it might have some staying power, so feel free to use it in situations like this one where you want to convey a disastrously tragic event or a tragic disaster.

Unrelated Note: Who else loves this cover? Isn’t it fantastic?