Mae Crawford’s always thought of herself as in control, but in the last few weeks her life has changed. Her younger brother, Jamie, suddenly has magical powers, and she’s even more unsettled when she realizes that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. Even worse… Jamie hasn’t told Mae a thing about any of it. Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger from Gerald themselves because he wants to steal Nick's powers. Will Mae be able to find a way to save everyone she cares about from the power-hungry magician's carefully laid trap?
About the Author
Sarah Rees Brennan is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Unspoken and The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy. Her most recent book, In Other Lands, was a Hugo Award finalist. Visit her at SarahReesBrennan.com.
Read an Excerpt
Magic on Burnt House Lane
Any minute now,” Rachel said, “something terrible is going to happen to us.”
The area around Burnt House Lane was deserted at this time of night. The cracks in the pavement that Mae hardly noticed by day had turned into shadowy scars along the cement, tracing jagged paths that led into the dark of yet another dead-end alley. They peered down into the alley and made the silent mutual decision to walk on extremely fast. Mae was in the lead.
“Come on, this is an adventure.”
Rachel muttered behind her, “I’m pretty sure that’s what I just said.”
Mae had to concede that this might not have been one of her better ideas. She’d just wanted something different now that she was finally able to leave the house, something a little exciting, and a party in an empty warehouse near Burnt House Lane had seemed the perfect plan.
A streetlamp above slowly winked its single evil orange eye, and night swallowed them at a gulp. The light sputtered back on with a grudging crackle and night spat them up, but by then Rachel and Erica had both walked into Mae’s back and were huddling together.
Rachel was shivering. “I think this may be the worst situation I have ever been in.”
“Don’t be an idiot,” said Mae. “I’ve been in much worse situations than this.”
She shivered and thought of the knife sliding in her sweaty grasp, the terrible resistance as she had sunk it into skin. She remembered the blood on her hands.
Rachel and Erica didn’t know anything about what had happened last month. They still thought she’d run off to London with her poor misguided brother on some crazy impulse.
Her mother thought that too, which was why Mae had been grounded for two weeks, picked up outside school in Annabel’s car like one of the younger kids who ran from school to car, frantic to exchange one cage for another.
Mae closed her eyes, more desperate to escape than any of them, and the dying streetlamps and broken lane faded away. She remembered bright lanterns flooding the forest with gold, dancing with an edge of danger so she wasn’t sure if she was sweating from exhilaration or fear, and black eyes on hers.
She’d seen magic. And now she’d lost it.
She wasn’t thinking about that, though. She was finally out for the night and she was going to have a good time. She was going to see Seb, and she wasn’t going to think about anyone else.
There was a clatter and movement in the shadows. Mae jumped and Erica grabbed her arm, five sharp fingernails biting like a small scared animal.
“It’s fine,” Mae said loudly, more to herself than her friends. She’d walked around Burnt House Lane after dark hundreds of times. She’d never been scared before. She wasn’t going to start being scared now just because she knew exactly what could be watching.
Mae walked on, keeping her stride measured and sure, and nothing followed them that she could hear.
“There’s nothing to worry about,” she told Erica. “Nothing.”
They reached the next alley and saw the warehouse where the party was being held, its windows streaming steady yellow light. Erica took a deep breath, and Mae grinned.
“See,” she said. “What did I tell you?”
“Sorry I got freaked out,” said Erica, who had not said a word all this time, who was always the angel on Mae’s shoulder saying, “Sounds great!” while Rachel on the other said, “We’re all doomed.” “I know the Lane’s safe enough, really. After all, Jamie hangs around here. Can’t really see Jamie strolling through a crime den.”
She laughed, and Rachel on Mae’s other side did too, both of them towering over Mae in their heels, fear melting away in the light.
The warehouse suddenly looked a lot less inviting.
“Jamie’s been hanging around the Lane?” Mae asked. “Since when?”
Jamie hadn’t been grounded. Annabel had assumed Mae was responsible for the whole thing, and Mae had let her. It wasn’t as if they could tell anyone the truth.
Mae had taken the blame and waved Jamie out of the house every night for weeks. He’d said he was going to the library to study; after all, it was his GCSE year, and the tests were coming up soon.
She didn’t know why she’d believed him. He’d lied to her before.
Erica looked uncertain about how Mae would take this, but she said, “Tim’s seen him around there almost every night for weeks.”
Erica’s boyfriend Tim was in Seb’s gang of guys, who weren’t Laners but liked to hang around Burnt House Lane anyway. The Lane was mostly just kids messing around, but far too many of those kids thought hassling Jamie was a good time.
Wandering Burnt House Lane after dark . . . Jamie did not take chances like that. She always told him he needed to take more risks, have a little fun, and Jamie always smiled his lopsided smile and said that he felt he got all the danger he needed in his life eating school lunches.
Mae thought about the very real danger Jamie had been in, less than a month ago. She thought about seeing a black mark on Jamie’s skin and hearing two strangers tell her that her baby brother was going to die.
She could hear the music coming out of the warehouse by now, not calling to her and promising her magic, but steady and reassuring as a heartbeat. She wanted to have fun with her friends again, to find Seb and see where that was going. She wanted to return to her normal life.
And she would, as soon as she knew her brother was safe.
“You guys go ahead, I just need to check something out.”
Mae had already sprinted a few steps away, so when she looked back her friends were superimposed against the light and music, staring at her with identically wide eyes.
“You just need to check something out in the pitch dark, in a dodgy part of town?” Rachel asked.
Mae didn’t need to be told it was dangerous. If it was dangerous for her, it would be twice as dangerous for Jamie, and every minute she spent talking was another minute he could be getting deeper into trouble.
“You’re barely even wearing a shirt! What are you going to do if a mugger jumps out at you, flash them?”
“That’s the basic plan,” Mae told her, and ran.
Mae had walked around Burnt House Lane at night plenty of times before, stumbling out of clubs with a guy who always turned out to be less interesting in the light of day. It was different now, alone with the night air running cool sharp fingers along her bare shoulders, her whole body tense. The moonlight was casting spiderweb graffiti on already scrawled-on walls and the night was full of potential danger.
People who thought it was funny to write “Gaz was here” on the walls might think it was funny to hurt Jamie. Mae was almost stumbling in her hurry through the night, so intent on her search that she put her foot into a slimy puddle. The plastic bag half-sunk in the dirty water clung to her laces as if it was a drowning swimmer. She shook her foot until it slipped off and into its watery, oily grave.
As she shook, she heard a boy’s voice say, “Crawford?” and she turned, wet shoe squishing as she ran toward an alley.
Lurking in alleys around the Lane, Mae thought in outrage. What did Jamie think he was doing?
She was mad about his stupidity right up until she turned the corner and actually saw him: skinny, small, his blond hair standing up in spikes that didn’t make him look any taller. Jamie always seemed a little fragile, and he seemed a whole lot more fragile when he was backed against an alley wall, staring up at three taller boys. The alley looked forlorn, the walls dirty and the dented, lopsided bins leaning against one another like drunks. It looked like the perfect setting for some petty crime.
Then she recognized the other boys.
Apparently Seb McFarlane wasn’t waiting to dance with Mae in the warehouse. Instead he’d decided it would be better fun to corner her brother in an alley.
The other boys were two guys she knew vaguely, part of a crowd who liked to smoke behind the bike shed and grab at clubs without asking.
Seb was tall, dark, and a little dangerous, but he never grabbed. Mae had really thought he was a possibility.
Now he was stalking toward Jamie, and Jamie was shrinking away, and the only possibility in Seb’s future was the possibility of being bitch-slapped by a girl.
He wasn’t that close to Jamie yet, so that meant Jamie had backed into a wall all by himself. Which was just like Jamie.
“Out here all alone?” Seb asked. “You sure that’s good thinking, Crawford? What if you get into trouble?”
Jamie blinked. “That is a concern. I’m glad I have you big strong men here to protect me!”
Seb shoved Jamie hard. “Your helpless act isn’t convincing me.”
“I don’t know,” another boy said lazily. “I think it’s pretty convincing, myself.”
The two boys Mae didn’t really know just seemed bored and ready to mess around, which wouldn’t have been a problem; Mae could have strolled in and made it all seem like a joke until she could whisk Jamie out of there. It was different with Seb, his big shoulders set and his voice intense. He seemed angry.
“It’s an act,” he insisted. “And you should drop it. Or maybe …” He leaned in, very focused, his eyes sharp and his voice soft. “Maybe I’ll make you drop it.”
Jamie swallowed and spoke, his voice equally soft. “I think I’m beginning to understand. Are you, um,” he said, and grinned suddenly, “are you hitting on me? Because I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’re not really my type.”
Seb stepped away from Jamie as if he’d just been informed Jamie was radioactive. “You’re not funny,” he snapped. “You’re just pathetic.”
Jamie kept grinning. “I like to think I’m maybe a little of both.”
Seb’s face twisted and his hand moved, clenched in a fist. Mae moved too, but her wet shoe slid and she almost fell. Her heart was beating hard with surprise and rage, absolute rage, because to keep Jamie safe she had killed someone—she kept remembering the knife and all the blood and that magician’s surprised face—and now this stupid boy dared touch him. Why didn’t Jamie do something?
That was when she felt the warm hand at the back of her neck. It was a light clasp, as if a friend or a boyfriend were passing by and wished to alert her to their presence, fingers trailing over the delicate skin. The talisman she wore tucked in her corset flared into life, pain bursting like a small star against her skin. She found she could not move, not even to shiver. She was held frozen in place, like a butterfly gently caught between two fingers and then abruptly transfixed by the cruel steel point of a pin.
Her heart was beating harder than ever, loud in her ears and in her enforced stillness. She thought and almost thrilled to the thought: magic. Magic here, magic in Burnt House Lane, when she had thought it would never enter her life again.
She felt a presence brush by her and heard a voice ring out in the night close to her ear, almost echoing her own thoughts.
“Jamie,” said Gerald, “why don’t you do something?”
The last time Mae had heard that voice, he’d been promising to come back for their lives.
Seb and the other boys turned their heads and stared, the tension in their bodies easing as they took in the sight of Gerald. He was hardly an awe-inspiring sight, Mae remembered, though all she could see of him was a blue shirt and sandy hair going in every direction.
She recalled the mild, freckled face under the sandy hair; the shy voice, the sweet smile, and those clever, watching eyes.
Gerald lifted a hand, and the lid of a bin rose and spun in midair like a ninja’s star, missing one of the boys by an inch and striking sparks off the wall.
“Funny how these freak winds happen,” he observed in his friendly way.
The boy who the bin lid had almost hit took several steps back. Gerald gestured easily and the lid rose again, quivering in the air.
A slow, small creak came from the darkest corner of the alley. Even the boy being menaced by the airborne bin lid turned his head to see the rusty old drainpipe peeling itself from the wall.
The bin lid was pinwheeling in the air now, a blur of silver. The drainpipe was bowing toward them, tall and thin, looming out of the night like a spindly, starving giant who had finally spotted food.
Gerald laughed indulgently, as if he was showing them all a trick, as if he’d just produced doves from his sleeve rather than killer drainpipes.
“Run,” he suggested.
Two of the boys exchanged frantic looks, their eyes swiveling from Gerald standing in the alley entrance to the drainpipe, and then back again.
“Don’t bother Jamie anymore,” Gerald advised. He stepped back, politely motioning for them to go through.
The two boys ran. They didn’t even notice Mae standing frozen and furious to one side.
Seb did not move. For a moment Mae thought he was frozen by magic as she was, his hand still lifted to deliver Jamie a blow that would never land. Then he let his hand fall.
“Did I fail to make myself clear?” Gerald said, with an edge to his voice now. “When I said run, I meant you, too.”
“I’m—” Seb began, and shook his head. “Sorry. I’m sorry. I—right.”
He bowed his head to Gerald. Mae saw him shoot a dark look under his lashes at Jamie.
Jamie gave him a little wave. “Don’t let the alley hit you in the ass on your way out.”
Seb looked like he wanted to answer, possibly with a blow, but then he cut a swift look back at Gerald and stepped slowly away. He passed Gerald, making for the alley entrance.
He did see Mae. For a moment they looked at each other, his scowling face smoothing out. He looked as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do, and in the end he did nothing, just backed uncertainly away.
She’d deal with him later.
In the alley Jamie raised a hand and the spinning of the bin lid slowed. It was held still and suspended for a second, and then it flew with extreme force at Gerald.
Gerald caught it easily and nodded thanks, as if Jamie were a squire who had just tossed his knight a shield.
“Yes, like that. Why do you allow them to hassle you when you can just do something like that?”
“Because I don’t have to,” Jamie said shortly. “They’re idiots, but that doesn’t mean I want them hurt or scared. And I don’t need you to scare them either. There was no need for all that! I have to live here, you know.”
“No, you don’t.”
Jamie batted his eyelashes and laughed. “Oh yes, take me away from all this. You don’t listen.”
“It’s you who doesn’t listen!” said Gerald. “You’re a magician.”
“No, I’m not.”
“It’s not a choice,” Gerald said. “You were born a magician. It’s in your blood, and you think you can just stay here in this dull little life, being persecuted by dull little people, when you could be so much more. I could teach you.”
Jamie smiled, so much more at ease with a murderous magician than with school bullies. He spread his hands wide and stepped away from the wall. Gerald was taller than he was, but he didn’t look at all threatening.
He looked protective. They looked comfortable together.
“What could you teach me?” Jamie asked, a dimple flashing in his right cheek next to his earring. “Do I need to learn a secret magician handshake? Do I need to learn to do finger wands?”
Gerald burst out laughing. “I—” he said, and seemed somewhat at a loss. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Like a finger gun, but only magicians get to do it,” Jamie explained, grinning and shifting his schoolbag on one shoulder. He swished one finger in a dramatic circle, making a swooshing sound to accompany the gesture.
“We don’t use wands,” said Gerald.
“Don’t think that wasn’t a crushing blow for me.”
Gerald laughed again and ducked his head, shoving his hands in his pockets. “C’mon,” he said. “I want to show you something.”
“Well, that sounds ominously nonspecific,” Jamie remarked. “How could I refuse?”
They fell into step casually, as if out of long habit. Gerald grabbed the bag that was always sliding off Jamie’s shoulder and adjusted it. Jamie murmured something that made Gerald grin.
When they were leaving the alley, Mae thought that Jamie would see her, but Gerald said, “Look,” and pointed.
As Jamie looked up, the night over Burnt House Lane was torn like a veil. The air shimmered, and the broken road was paved with gold, and the whole world was magic.
“That’s just an illusion,” Jamie said while wonder still held the breath caught in Mae’s throat. He hesitated and added, “How did you do it?”
“I’ll show you,” said Gerald. “I’m going to show you everything.”
The light faded slowly, like honey dripping off a knife. Jamie still had his face upturned to the sky, mouth open, as Gerald led him away with one hand at the small of his back.
The magician brushed by Mae and suddenly she could move, as if she was made of ice and his touch was hot enough to change her to water.
She fell to the ground like a puppet with its strings abruptly cut, gasping and trying to think, trying to make a plan for a situation she would never have believed possible.
She’d always believed there was more to the world than school and clubs and the life Annabel wanted her to live. And she’d found out that there were people in the world who could do magic, people who sold magical toys in Goblin Markets and magicians who called up demons that could do almost anything. For a price.
The last time she and Jamie had seen Gerald, he’d just become the leader of the magicians’ Circle that had given Jamie a demon’s mark. The Obsidian Circle had almost got Jamie possessed by a demon, an evil spirit that would use his body until it crumbled from the inside out. The Circle had almost killed Jamie. Gerald had certainly killed countless others.
Now here he was in Mae’s city, acting like her brother’s best friend. And Jamie had told her nothing about it.
She was in over her head. They needed help.
She struggled up onto her hands and knees, and then sat up. She was leaning against a filthy brick wall in the wrong part of town with no trace of magic left.
She dug out her phone and called Alan.
When he answered she jumped, because he was screaming above high wind and the sound of a storm.
“Alan?” she said, staring up at the calm, empty sky above her head. “Where are you?”
On the other end of the line there was an echoing snarl of thunder.
“Mae?” Alan yelled, and there was silence.
The sound of the storm had just stopped abruptly, not as if it was dying away but as if someone had thrown a switch and turned off the sky.
Mae realized she was trembling. “Alan, what’s going on?”
She could hear Alan properly now, his low, sweet voice more remarkable over the phone than it was in person, when it was hard to notice much about it other than that it made you want to do whatever he asked and believe whatever he said. There was a warm undercurrent to it, as if Alan was happy to be talking to her.
Of course, that was the way he talked to everyone.
“Nothing’s going on. Is something wrong?”
Mae swallowed and tried to sound calm and assured, as if she wasn’t running to him begging for help. Again.
“Jamie’s mixed up with a magician.”
There was a pause.
Then Alan said, “We’re on our way.”
It was long past midnight by the time Jamie got back. Annabel was still at the office, because she liked being there more than being at home, and Mae had been sitting for hours in the music room with her head in her hands.
She’d thought this was over.
As soon as Jamie looked at her he came rushing to her, sinking to his knees between hers and taking her hands in his.
“I thought you were going out tonight. Did something happen at school? Are the teachers not understanding your unique and rebellious spirit? Did you kick some guy in the biology textbook again?”
Mae smiled at him with an effort. “Things are fine at school. Though now you mention it, no teacher does understand my unique and rebellious spirit at all. Where have you been?”
“Out,” Jamie said. Mae saw the unease plain on his face. She supposed she should be thankful her brother wasn’t an accomplished liar, wasn’t like Alan, but seeing him dodge her question made Mae feel sick. “C’mon, get up.”
Jamie sprang to his feet and turned on their sound system. He ran through their CDs and put on a waltz. She laughed and shook her head at him, and he beckoned to her.
“Nope,” said Mae. When Jamie grabbed her hands and tugged her gently to her feet, she laughed again and let him.
He stepped back and spun her so the lights of the chandelier and the white walls formed a dazzling blur before her eyes, as if the walls had turned to light and were turning with her. These days Mae kept imagining magic.
For a moment it was as it had always been between them, him and her against the world. This big stupid house felt just like the house they’d had before Annabel and Roger split up: oriel windows, parquet floors, and Jamie and Mae being loud and silly enough to drown out the echoing expensive silence.
“So where did you learn to dance?” Jamie asked, starting the game.
“I learned to dance in a cowboy bar in the Old West,” Mae told him. “The boys could shoot the neck off a bottle at a hundred paces, but my moves were too dangerous for them. Eventually the sheriff ran me out of town.”
Jamie dipped her so her hair touched the floor. This smooth move was slightly spoiled when he almost overbalanced and dumped her on her ass. He staggered and she grabbed hold of his shirt, using it as leverage until she was standing on her own two feet again.
Mae caught her breath and waggled her eyebrows. “Where did you learn to dance, sailor?”
“Oh, I learned to dance wearing a lace frock at Madame Mimsy’s exclusive seminary for young ladies. They thought I was a good girl,” Jamie said cheerfully. “Wrong on both counts.”
He had a hand under her elbow, careful, as if he was afraid she was going to fall again. After a few moments of silent dancing, he said, “Is anything wrong? I feel like there’s something you’re not telling me.”
Mae took a deep breath and heard the door creak open.
She and Jamie separated and turned to face their mother.
Annabel Crawford was as small as Mae and Jamie, and thin because she never ate anything but salads; her hair was lemon blond and her eyes very pale green, not like emeralds but like old-fashioned soap. She would have seemed washed-out and easy to overlook except for how polished she was, always perfectly put together with her hair so glossy it looked lacquered. Somehow that lent her an icy luster that was more noticeable than color, and she was actually almost impossible to overlook.
“James,” she said, her hands folded in front of her. “Mavis. Did you have fun tonight?”
Her cool gaze traveled over Mae, making Mae acutely aware that her jeans were slimy from falling in that alley. Annabel probably didn’t like the corset top with the black lace and the pink ribbons that spelled out ALL WRAPPED UP IN ME either.
Mae lifted her chin. “Yeah, it had everything I ask for in a party. Hard drugs. Casual sex. Ritual animal sacrifice.”
“Dancing,” said Jamie, and advanced on Annabel with intent. “Would you like to dance, Mum?”
Annabel looked as if she would prefer to eat dirt, but she put her perfectly manicured hands in Jamie’s anyway. When they started to dance, she caught him a nasty blow with one of her high heels.
Mae was pretty sure it wasn’t the actual dancing that was tripping her up. Annabel loved sports as much as Roger did, so much that they’d forced Jamie and Mae to take a million classes, though only the dance lessons had stuck. It was spending time with her kids that Annabel was having trouble with.
Ever since Mae and Jamie had returned from what Annabel thought was a cry-for-help mission of mad truancy to London, Annabel had been trying to spend quality time with them. She wasn’t very good at bonding, but that didn’t matter to Jamie. He was eating it up with a spoon.
Mae appreciated the thought, especially since Roger’s response to the whole affair was to decide that Mae and Jamie needed a more settled environment, and cancel all visits to his place. But Mae got along just fine without parental supervision. Annabel didn’t need to strain herself.
“Where did you learn to dance?” Jamie asked playfully.
“Er, I took ballet lessons for several years,” Annabel responded, and got Jamie again with her heel.
Mae went and sat on the window seat of the bay window, hands clasped around one slimy knee.
When the magicians had put a demon’s mark on her brother, she’d killed one of them to get it off. Almost every night since then she had woken remembering the shocking heat of blood spilling over her fingers. She’d lain awake feeling the ghost of that warmth, looking at her clean hands painted gray by the dim light, remembering.
She wasn’t sorry. She would have done it again without a second’s thought, but tonight she had been helpless and had seen Jamie laughing with the magicians’ leader.
Jamie came to stand beside her when the song was done, a warm presence at her side. Mae pressed her cheek against the night-cold pane of glass.
“So is there?” he asked quietly. “Something you’re not telling me?”
“Maybe,” Mae told him. “We all have our secrets.”
© 2010 Sarah Rees Brennan
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A month ago, Mae thought she was happy with a normal life. Then she and her brother, Jamie, stumbled into the lives of Nick and Alan Ryves, and she discovered a world of magic she can't forget. She longs to return to the charms and dancing of the Goblin Market even as she tries to adjust to coming back home. Unfortunately for Mae, there's a darker side to the magic, where demons lurk and magicians offer the lives of others to gain power. One of the most ruthless magician circles wants Jamie to join them, and isn't willing to take no for an answer. Even though she knows she should stay away from the Ryves brothers, who bring as much danger as excitement into her life, Mae can think of no one else to turn to for help. But as Nick and Alan become increasingly at odds, and the magicians set into motion a plan that could destroy both them and the market she loves, Mae finds that it may be up to her to save them all. THE DEMON'S COVENANT is an excellent sequel to THE DEMON'S LEXICON, expanding on the world shown in the first book of the trilogy and letting readers see it from a different, more human perspective. Mae is an admirable and relateable heroine, strong but not without her vulnerabilities, determined but struggling with uncertainty, and willing to do whatever she can to protect those she cares about. The plot will keep readers guessing, and the ending will leave them begging for the trilogy's final volume. A wonderful addition to the YA shelves.
I'm just going to go ahead and say it: Sarah Rees Brennan is frickin' brilliant. An evil genius to be sure who has managed to infuse her books with such wit and candor that I find myself wholly ruined for anything else. I don't know how the woman does it but she has managed to blow my mind. Yet again. After naming "The Demon's Lexicon" as my Favorite YA Fantasy of 2009, I began the endless wait for the release of "The Demon's Covenant," not quite sure where Ms. Brennan would take me next, but fully willing to stick around for the ride. Not much time has passed since Mae and her brother Jamie have returned home after successfully facing down an entire Circle of deadly magicians led by enormously powerful Black Arthur. In her head Mae knows Jamie is now safe, thanks in large part to the help of Alan and Nick Ryves, but Mae can't help but remain tense, constantly looking over her shoulder, waiting for the next attack to appear. When the unthinkable does actually happen and Mae discovers magicians circling Jamie again, she panics and calls the only people who she trusts implicitly to help. Like the cavalry, the Ryves brothers swoop back into Mae and Jamie's life without a thought. Ready to protect, ready to defend. Mae has always had trouble staying in complete control when it comes to Alan and Nick and this time proves to be no different. She's torn and stuck in the middle of their ever-increasingly explosive relationship and above all, ready to do anything to rescue the ones she loves from harms way. After falling hard for the Ryves brothers in "The Demon's Lexicon," I will admit to some slight hesitation upon discovering that The Demon's Covenant centers around Mae. Who I also liked, just maybe not as much. But boy howdy - I changed my mind. She is something else. Fiercely determined to stick by and protect Jamie, their relationship is something to behold. Truly, Sarah Rees Brennan is a master at crafting sibling relationships because even Nick and Alan take their crazy, volatile brotherhood to a new level. I am over the moon about both those guys. One brother is supposedly the normal, nice, good guy - but who in actuality is a consummate liar; while the other is seen as evil and wicked but who actually cannot lie and is full of loyalty. Bit of a conundrum, ain't it? And the twists just keep on coming. Once again, Sarah Rees Brennan manages to catch me completely off guard with her unforeseen ending, leaving me shaking my head over the sheer brilliance of it all. I can't even begin to imagine where she plans to go next, but I know I'm in for whatever it is.
Note: This review references Demon¿s Lexicon. I try to keep the big reveal a secret, but, proceed with caution if you have not read the first book. It took a very long time for me to finish Demon¿s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan. I should note, however, that this doesn¿t mean that it wasn¿t a good story. I disliked the character of Mae in the first book - I found her little annoying. I know she was driven by her love for her brother, but she also accosted strangers and then practically threw herself at them and it seemed a little off. Unfortunately, Demon¿s Covenant was written from Mae¿s point of view. I was hoping I would gain insight into her character and thus, love her more, but that was not the case here and so the book dragged on for me.Picking up where the Demon¿s Lexicon left off, Demon¿s Covenant finds Jaime acting strange, Nick and Alan¿s relationship tense and Mae in the middle of boy trouble (something she manages to find with practically every male character in this book! Quite an accomplishment). We visit the familiar Goblin Market which is just as rich in it¿s description and magic as in the first installation of the story. The Obsidian Circle and Gerald are back with the threat of a new mark that makes them even more powerful. Other familiar characters are back as well and we see a lot more interaction and relationship between Jaime, Mae and Annabel. I¿m not sure if this was because of Mae, however, I found that middle of the book dragged a bit. It seemed as though things were happening, but the plot was not moving forward. The ending, however, made up for what the middle lacked. Action-packed and with several heartwarming moments, I thought it was well executed. I kept thinking that Sarah was going to pull the rug out from under us - especially after the first book - and she did! While not on the same level as the ending of Demon¿s Lexicon, (but let¿s face it, who saw that end coming?) it came startlingly close and was every bit brilliant.
I have difficulty deciding whether I liked this book more or the first one. While it was nice going into Mae's head for a change, it felt like a "return to normalcy" after experiencing the er, unique voice of Nick (he likes to say mean things). We spend more time hearing about what Nick and Alan are doing rather than actually seeing them do something. On the other hand, see Mae grow as a character was a wonderful experience. By the end of the book, she is really starting to come into her own. The book spends quite a bit of time in Mae's school and home life so we get to learn more about Mae and Jamie's history. We also get to see Jamie and Mae deal with the consequences of what they have done in the first book. Jamie's character is as hilarious as always (seeing his interactions with Nick makes me laugh every time). Alan is being secretive as always but he just might be opening up to Mae. Expect a lot of twists and plots in this book. Brennan really knows how to keep readers guessing!
I¿ll start off this review by being honest. I picked up The Demon¿s Covenant and was about half way through when I HAD to put it down to read another book. Two weeks later, on the day the book was due back to the library, I renewed it and decided to pick it back up again. Let me just say that after the 200 pages or so¿things get good!I¿ll be honest about another thing as well. When I heard that The Demon¿s Covenant wasn¿t going to be from Nick¿s perspective, but instead Mae¿s, I was disappointed. I had falling in love with him in book number one, so of course I wanted more of him in book number two. I¿m a big fan of having a series continue with the same voice throughout the entire series, I just like it that way. Surprisingly, once I got into The Demon¿s Covenant I was glad I was seeing her to side to things. I admit, I still missed Nick, but we got to see Mae¿s relationships with both Alan and Nick¿we couldn¿t have that from Nick¿s point of view, could we?!In The Demon¿s Lexicon, I was so anti-Alan. I mean I loved Alan as a character, but I didn¿t want him to end up with Mae¿I wanted Nick. Sarah had me second guessing myself, I wasn¿t sure I was making the right choice in my mind. I just want to say that the countertop scene was smokin¿ hot! (page 185 in my copy, in case you¿re wondering)I love all of the magical elements in The Demon¿s Lexicon series. I think I mentioned this in my review of book number one, but it¿s different, unique, and it stands out on its own. I think that can be difficult at times to create characters and story that¿s easier to remember once you put the book back on the shelf. I have a huge problem with characters being forgettable to be, Sarah made memorable characters to the point that I remember more than one character¿s name! GASP!I love the endings to both The Demon¿s Covenant and The Demon¿s Lexicon, so much action and twists and turns¿awesomeness! Sarah Rees Brennan can write herself some endings, they are action packed and don¿t necessarily end in cliffies, but are open enough where you want to get your hands on the next book. I can¿t wait to see how this series is going to end with The Demon¿s Surrender!
** spoilers for those who haven't read The Demon's Lexicon**Mae Crawford is still trying to come to terms with the last couple of months. Her brother Jamie discovered he had magical powers. Nick discovered he was a demon trapped in a human body. Mae wants everything to go back to normal, but Jamie is suddenly getting close to Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle. Normally she wouldn't really care who her brother hangs out with, but when he suddenly befriends the leader of the group of magicians that tried to sacrifice them just a few weeks ago. This is bad and even worse is the fact that he tried to keep it from her. She turns to magician-hunter brothers Nick and Alan. In exchange for Nick's help and protection, she agrees to try to teach him to act more human. The Obsidian Circle wants to harness Nick's powers and use him against them, so the hodge podge outcast group must band together and fight. What can Mae do to help when she's not a fighter? Can she manage to save her brother?Honestly, I was disappointed when I heard that The Demon's Covenant wasn't told through Nick's perspective. The first book was amazing and Nick was a big part of that for me. Also, second books in a trilogy tend to not really have plots of their own and only serve to set up the final book. I reluctantly started the book, but it didn't take me long to finish it and I enjoyed it as much as the first. Mae was an unlikely protagonist because she's only a human with no real fighting skills or any kind of magical powers. She wasn't all that memorable to me in the first book except for her ability to dance at the Goblin Market and her pink hair. However, she proved to be powerful and strong in her own way and definitely memorable. She was snarky, sarcastic, and exceptionally brave. This book expanded the readers' view of Mae, Jamie, and their home life. It was simply hilrious how their mother is completely prim and proper, the complete opposite of her children. As the book goes on, you can see where her children get their bravery, confidence, and fire from.Of course, it wouldn't be a teen novel without a love triangle. Mae had feelings for both of the Ryves brothers and there were many a steamy moment between her and both of them (not at the same time). For me, Alan didn't hold a candle to Nick in any way. Alan just seemed like a huge liar with very little redeeming qualities. At least Nick couldn't lie even if he wanted to. Nick was just a more compelling character because he isn't fully human and to see the world through his eyes is truly unique. The diary passages of Nick's father were especially interesting because it shed light on what Nick was like as a child, how his family treated him, and how he treated them.Although much of the novel was dark and gloomy, humor and wit was present in just about every single page. The dialog between the characters felt authentic and was also infused with wit and snarky humor. All of the characters, no matter how minor they were to the story, had dimension, flaws, and their own distinct voice. This was Sarah Rees Brennan's greatest strength and I can't wait to read more from her.The Demon's Covenant was every bit as good as The Demon's Lexicon and featured an unlikely, but awesome character, Mae. Like the first book, through all the demons and magicians, this book was about family and what it is to be human. I can't wait to read The Demon's Surrender!
As I said in my Demon¿s Lexicon review, I am a huge fan of this series. And I have to say, The Demon¿s Covenant, hands down, is my favorite book in the series. This book is made of win. Every time I read this book it gets better and better.The second book in the Demon¿s Lexicon series is told from Mae¿s point of view instead of Nick¿s as it was in the first book. I love that this book is from Mae¿s perspective. I love Mae. She is probably my favorite character and to her be the central character was AWESOME. She has just an incredible personality and I love her voice. In this book, we really see Mae grow a lot of the first book. She no longer has to solely rely on the Ryves brothers. She is willing to fight back in anyway possible. She becomes and incredible strong character and I really loved the growth in her character.I was really glad the whole gang from the first book were back in action for this book. I want to get this review spoiler free for the first book because I do not want to give away THAT TWIST, but we see everyone trying to deal with the consequences of that twist in this book. I really loved learning more about Alan and Nick¿s childhood in this book to through the diary entries of their Dad that Mae reads. It¿s really interesting to see how they were raised effected the people they are now. I also really loved the impact this had on Nick. And I¿m gonna stop there about that so not to say anything spoilery.In this book, I really liked that we got to delve deeper into Nick and Alan¿s world. We got to see a lot more of the Goblin Market and more of Sin which I loved because I love the world of the Goblin Market, much like Mae does. I also really liked learning more about the Warlocks and different Warlocks circles. They play a big part in this book. I also liked that Jamie had a more important role in this book. He becomes extremely important. And we learn more about Alan too. And man, Alan, I wanted to hit you over the head some times. Let's just say he is still not everything he appears to be. And I have to talk about the plot. This book was a rollercoaster ride. My emotions were everywhere. The plot was amazing and literally kept me on the edge of my seat, turning pages until I got to the end. And then the ending. I think I tried to will more pages to appear at the end of this book because I wanted more. Once again, there are great twists and turns in this book that had me cursing the brilliance of the evil Sarah Rees Brennan. And boy, does Sarah Rees Brennan know how to deliver an emotional punch. I will admit, I did tear up towards the end of this book.I also really need to talk about the ROMANCE. Sarah Rees Brenna writes some of the best kissing scenes I have ever read. And the sexual tension. It¿s great. Personally, I really want Nick with Mae, even though there are tons of obstacles in there way and more are constantly being added, but still, I want them together. Badly. And then there is that one scene, on the roof, in the rain. *sigh* That scene. Yeah, you will get what I mean when you read it. Sarah Rees Brennan can definitely play with your emotions in the best of ways as well as deliver shocking blows.This second book in this trilogy surpass it¿s predecessor. The second book is not some filler book that has you waiting for the all the action in the conclusion, but extremely important and sets the stage for the final book. Even after reading The Demon¿s Surrender, this book is still my favorite. Everything is just spot on perfect, the writing, the characters, the plot, the romance, the twists, everything. I love this book so much that I own three copies, a UK, US and eBook version. I stayed up to get it on my Nook the night it was released I was that excited. And it so worth it. One of my favorite books of all time and of 2010.
"Want me to flex my magic for you, baby?" - NickI was so irritable every time I get distracted from reading The Demon's Covenant. My mom thinks I was suffering from PMS whereas my sister thinks I'm just withdrawing from caffeine. Well, it's hard to explain to them that I just don't like being away from Nick for so long I might conjure up my own lightning storm (which was not at all related to the recent rainfall in our place).So I guess I took my pace in reading The Demon's Covenant. After bombarding our bookstore with inquiries of its availability hell right I'm going to take my time with it! Especially when things are not always what it seems with Sarah Rees Brennan's writing. She never fails to surprise me (hence, the lower level of caffeine whilst reading).Nature and nurture comes into play when you rear a demon. I guess as a psychologist I am at awe with the natural ability of Alan to be kind that he's bordering on the utter brink of "WTF"?! Only his kind reminds me that humanity is possible if Alan cares.Nick. Nick. Nick. You are so bad sometimes it feels so good. I would want to be a magician so just you'll chase me. After that incident in the rain believe me, i'll let you mark me too. Just tap on my window three times and enter without ur shirt on (the last one's not negotiable).Everyone's taking side now. With magicians becoming powerful and the goblin market becomes the center of the powerplay. Now Jamie is a magician himself and Mae is caught in the tension between Nick and Alan. She realized that she has to do something if she wants to save everyone she cares about.I'm glad that SRB didn't left the ending hanging that i guess i can go through the waiting for the third book without driving anyone but myself crazy. ;)
***May contain Book 1 spoilers***Review:What an amazing book! I even cried in the end. I loved hearing the story from Mae's POV and cannot wait till the final installment.As we left off in The Demon's Lexicon, Nick finally learned that he is, in fact a demon, and his brother Alan sets him free in the human world. Which in turn unleashes his demon powers. Kinda scary to think of a demon running a muck in London.Anyway, The Demon's Covenant starts with poor Jamie getting into trouble with another Magician. Can't seem to stay away can he. Nick and Alan come to the rescue and the group gets together again.Nick asks Mae to teach him how to be human, how to express "feelings" and pretty much how to play nice so his brother won't leave him. Along the way, Mae finds herself caught between brothers, and what she thinks is right. A major betrayal entails.The ending will leave you breathless, and most likely in tears. I'm holding my breath for the final book, and am so pumped to read how it ends.I highly recommend this book to everyone!5/5 Stars!
Excellent second book in a series ¿ does a nice job of avoiding the ¿middle book in a trilogy that doesn¿t have it¿s own narrative arc¿ pitfall that drags many a good series down. The strange sibling relationship between Nick and Alan, which was my favorite thing about The Demon¿s Lexicon, gets even more interesting here.
Sequel to the highly recommended The Demon¿s Lexicon, this book switches POV to Mae as she struggles to protect her magician brother Jamie and reconnect with the brothers Alan and Nick, whose own magical issues are pretty extreme. I loved it, although there were places where the moving parts were pretty obvious (you have to give Mae a reason to hear this conversation! You have to give the protagonists a reason not to kill the bad guy right now and solve all their problems!)¿on the other hand, that¿s vastly preferable to having those things not narratively justified. Mae¿s organizational/planning skills are perhaps more commented on than actually present, but Mae herself is extremely likeable and her confusion over the various hot guys available to her (or unavailable) is plausibly teenaged-hormone-inflected. And both Alan and Nick are intriguing/hot; family loyalty abounds. Warning: ends in pretty serious cliffhanger territory. I¿m looking forward to what happens next.
At the risk of sounding like a completely freaky fangirl, I have to say that "The Demon's Covenant" was amazing. Make that AMAZING. I truly enjoyed the first book, "Demon's Lexicon" and appreciated the twist at the end and the relationship between the brothers Alan and Nick. At that time I realized that the book was truly exceptional. It was well plotted with attention to detail and twists a plenty. The gorgeous and complicated relationship between the two brothers though was what really took my breath away. Side characters in that book, Mae and her brother Jaimie, were interesting enough but really didn't pop off the pages like Alan and Nick. So when I heard there was a sequel (in fact as soon to be trilogy) I was apprehensive. Sometimes the best books seem to be stand alone novels. Then I heard that our narrator Nick, was being replaced with Mae's voice in this installment. Yup, still apprehensive, but I wanted to read the book enough to buy this soon after it was released and in hardback, which I don't tend to do. Somehow Rees Brennan managed to do it again. There was absolutely no sophomore slump here. The plot again was intense, and twisted. I thought I knew what was going on several times only to be shocked by what ended up happening. This time around, Mae finds out that her brother Jaimie has been secretly meeting and befriending Gerald, a evil magician from the first book. Gerald is convinced her can use Jamie and wants to take him away from his home. Mae is terrified and knows its beyond her abilities alone and she called on our Ryves brothers. Once the four are together again, all sort of scary, funny, romantic, and heartwarming things take place. What really gets me, maybe even more so with "Covenant" than "Lexicon" is that bewildering and endearing relationship between Alan and Nick. Alan and Nick have had a falling out in this book and to complicate matters both boys seem to have at least a slight attraction to Mae. She seems to like them both back, which I completely identify with. I think I am madly in love with them both and I have never said that about a book character before! They are so well written that they feel real to me, flaws and all. Nick is so larger than life that I laughed out loud with him on one page and cried over him on the next. I can happily say that this book was at least as good as its predecessor. Mae and Jaimie were so fleshed out in this volume that I can't help but love them both too. Jaimie is adorable and it was absolutely the write decision to have Mae narrate "Demon's Covenant". These may be my favorite books of 2009 and 2010 and that includes in both YA and adult paranormal or urban fantasy genres.
I remember enjoying The Demon¿s Lexicon and thinking that the characters were amusing; I¿m not sure if I glossed over it in that book or if it increased exponentially in this book, but Mae, Jamie, Nick, and Alan are probably the funniest, snarkiest group of characters in any book I¿ve read. I think I read almost the entire book with a smirk on my face, because it was consistently funny. There are, of course, points of the story that aren¿t exactly humorous, and the difference in tone during those times gives those scenes a sense of weightiness that urges the story forward.Most of the book deals with the changes that came with the discoveries at the end of the last book. Jamie¿s a magician ¿ apparently he¿s a very special magician ¿ and that means that every Circle is courting his allegiance. Nick¿s knowledge that he¿s actually a demon means that he¿s using his power in ways he doesn¿t really understand, causing problems for people around him. Alan¿s deception about Nick¿s identity means he¿s now considered a traitor to the people at the Goblin Market. Nothing¿s drastically different for Mae (other than the fact that she¿s dealing with the knowledge of all that stuff), and she¿s trying to get back to a relatively normal life by entertaining the idea of dating bad boy Seb McFarlane.When the brothers return to Exeter at Mae¿s request, any attempts to have a relatively normal life disappear. Magicians are trying to kidnap Jamie, demons are demanding bodies from Nick, Alan may or may not be brokering a deal that will forever change Nick, and Mae¿s taken on the task of teaching Nick how to appear to be human. During Nick¿s human lessons, Mae reads from Daniel Ryves journal, which chronicles the battle within him as he raises a demon alongside his son. These journal entries bring an understanding of the deep bond between Alan and Nick, a bond that was established from the moment Olivia showed up on Daniel¿s doorstep after running away with her baby.This book is told from Mae¿s perspective, which was fun because she¿s the one who takes it upon herself to right any wrongs she perceives. She knows she can¿t do it alone, but she¿s intelligent enough to know where to turn. This also sheds more light on the relationship between Mae and Jamie, as well as their life with a mom who¿s always running out of the house.Delving deeper into the relationships each of the four main characters have with each other, as well as infusing a great story with even greater banter, makes this book a must read for anyone who was even mildly entertained by The Demon¿s Lexicon.
This didn't do too bad for a middle book of a trilogy. The dialogue was just as bright and there were even a few twists I didn't see coming. There's not a whole lot that gets resolved beyond a few characters' convictions, but it IS the middle book. However, we learn a lot more about Mae and Sin, and I must say, "Yay for ass-kicking girls!
This follows Brennan's rule for trilogies (first book--set up the plot; second book--make out; third book--fight evil): there are more love triangles than you can shake a stick at. But there is also a lot of plot, and the revelations from book one are still very much influencing the characters. Also, it's hilarious.I would have liked to see more girls; Brennan's cast is still mostly male, although Mae narrates this book and Sin makes a few appearances.
The second in a series, The Demon's Covenant is thoroughly enjoyable. It picks up a month after The Demon's Lexicon and while the author does a good job of reminding the reader of the events of the first book, I would still recommend reading it rather than jumping into this one cold. (You should also be warned that a third book is currently in progress, and the end of this book is not really somewhere you'd feel satisfied stopping an entire story.)Narrated by Mae, a character in but not the POV character of the first book, this tells the further story of her and her brother Jamie, and Nick and Alan Ryves. Rees Brennan's mythology building is enjoyable, her characters are fun, and the plot is compelling. I thoroughly enjoy twisty plans, and this book delivered. What really makes her writing stand out even from other quite goo books, though, is the humor than infuses the book. Even through a very real sense of danger and drama, and even sadness (did I shed a tear or two near the end? yes. but I cry at cotton commercials), the wordplay stands out. My best friend maintains that dramatic media with no humor is unrealistic, and I think about him a lot when I'm reading or watching dramatic things, and I think he has a point. Real life has humor in it, even (and possibly even more so) in the most tense of situations, because humans make jokes. We kid. We laugh. We use it in all sorts of ways*, and Rees Brennan is just devastatingly funny. There were times when I was literally laughing out loud while reading this, even when I was reading it with my back against a tree in a park, and I really like that in a book. There were a couple exchanges that I even read out loud just to hear the comedic timing, because I found them that amusing.So, yes, this book is definitely recommended.
The Demon's Covenant is the sensational follow up to The Demon's Lexicon. This book follows brothers, Alan and Nick as they struggle with Nick's new demon powers, as well as twins, Jamie and Mae, who are dealing with problems of their own. Jamie's one-liners in this book were hilarious and his character has evolved so much since when we last saw him. I'm not sure if this is because Jamie has opened up more around Alan and Nick, who saved his life in the last book, or he is becoming more confident in his abilities as a magician. In Brennan's world, magicians=bad, and many covenants are trying to recruit Jamie, much to the dismay of Mae, Alan, and Nick. One thing I absolutely love about these books is the brotherly dynamic between Alan and Nick. **Spoilers for The Demon's Lexicon** We learn in the last book that Alan and Nick aren't actually blood brothers. Alan's dad took Nick and Nick's mother in, and Nick always believed that this was his father. Only Alan knew the truth. Oh, and there was also this tiny issue that Nick is actually a demon, who, with the help of an evil magician, possessed Nick's dead baby body. So basically, even though Alan is the sweetest guy you would ever meet who has lied to his brother his entire life to protect him, and Nick is a demon incapable of any emotions or feelings, loves his brother, in his own, messed-up demon way. I just love the scenes when the two of them are together, and I love how much they care about each other. I would recommend this book to anyone in need of an amazing read! The third, and final book in this series is scheduled to be released June 14, 2011 and is called The Demon's Surrender.
Teen, sequel to Demon's Lexicon, good read, fantasy
I loved this even better than the first book: I love Mae and her plans, and her relationship with Jaime especially resonated with me.
Mae 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. 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, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Note: This review references Demon¿s Lexicon. I try to keep the big reveal a secret, but, proceed with caution if you have not read the first book. It took a very long time for me to finish Demon¿s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan. I should note, however, that this doesn¿t mean that it wasn¿t a good story. I disliked the character of Mae in the first book - I found her little annoying. I know she was driven by her love for her brother, but she also accosted strangers and then practically threw herself at them and it seemed a little off. Unfortunately, Demon¿s Covenant was written from Mae¿s point of view. I was hoping I would gain insight into her character and thus, love her more, but that was not the case here and so the book dragged on for me. Picking up where the Demon¿s Lexicon left off, Demon¿s Covenant finds Jaime acting strange, Nick and Alan¿s relationship tense and Mae in the middle of boy trouble (something she manages to find with practically every male character in this book! Quite an accomplishment). We visit the familiar Goblin Market which is just as rich in it¿s description and magic as in the first installation of the story. The Obsidian Circle and Gerald are back with the threat of a new mark that makes them even more powerful. Other familiar characters are back as well and we see a lot more interaction and relationship between Jaime, Mae and Annabel. I¿m not sure if this was because of Mae, however, I found that middle of the book dragged a bit. It seemed as though things were happening, but the plot was not moving forward. The ending, however, made up for what the middle lacked. Action-packed and with several heartwarming moments, I thought it was well executed. I kept thinking that Sarah was going to pull the rug out from under us - especially after the first book - and she did! While not on the same level as the ending of Demon¿s Lexicon, (but let¿s face it, who saw that end coming?) it came startlingly close and was every bit brilliant.