The Goblin Market has always been the center of Sin’s world. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin’s place is in danger. Thrown out of the Market she loves, Sin is thrown together with brothers Nick and Alan—whom she’s always despised.
Alan has been marked by a magician and is being tortured so that the magicians can get to Nick. As Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see him in a new light—but she and Mae are locked in a fierce rivalry over who will inherit the leadership of the Goblin Market, and a decisive battle with the Aventurine Circle is looming. Mae’s brother, Jamie, is holed up with the magicians, his loyalties in question. And Nick—well, who knows what a demon might do to save his brother? How far will Nick go to save Alan—and what will it cost them all? Find out in this gripping conclusion to the trilogy Scott Westerfeld says is “full of shimmery marvels and bountiful thunder.”
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
The Demon’s Surrender
MAGIC WAS LIKE A SPECIAL GUEST IN SIN’S LIFE. IT APPEARED all too rarely, stayed for a brief interval, and she spent the rest of her time preparing for it to come again.
She had taken the day off school so she and her dancers could set up the lights. She and Chiara had spent an hour singing into Phyllis’s new music boxes, which echoed back their voices transformed into strange, sweet melodies. Then she’d had to rush away and help Carl set up his display of knives with luck stones in the hilts.
The magic had been worth waiting for. The Market at Dover Beach was one of the most beautiful Markets she’d seen this year.
The musicians were high on the white cliffs, streaked with shadows by the twilight, and the Market itself was being held on a platform a few steps up from the shingled beach. The sea lay sparkling and still in the curve of the bay, like water held in the hollow of a pale hand, and fainter than the light of the stars, Sin could see the nighttime lights of the French coast.
There were other Goblin Markets held in other countries. She wanted to dance at them all one day.
For now she was glad to be at this one.
Sin was watching Toby while Mama put the finishing touches on the fortune-telling stall. The lanterns swinging over their heads cast rainbow gleams over the surface of the crystal balls, in the depths of the jewels on Mama’s hands. Sin rocked Toby and Mama sang a Goblin Market song to them both as she laid out the cards.
“Hush little baby, don’t say a word.
If you have two marks never get a third.
Hush little baby, don’t you cry.
Mama never falls and demons never lie.
Hush little baby, don’t say a thing.
Mama’s going to buy you a magic ring.
And if your ring won’t give you a wish,
We’ll be all right, baby, just like this.”
Sin smiled. “Who are you planning to dance with tonight?”
“The best-looking man who asks me,” Mama replied, and they both laughed.
Mama was in a good mood for the first time in a long time. She had been sick too long after Toby was born and Victor had left with no word since to Mama, the woman he’d said he loved, or to Toby and Lydie, his children.
He wasn’t Sin’s father, and they were better off without him, but money had been tight since he went. What tourists really paid for were answers from demons, and to get those you had to dance. Mama had been too sick to dance, and she never accepted help from anyone. She’d never even let Dad help after he left. They had barely been able to scrape by on what Sin made dancing.
But now Mama was finally ready to dance again, they would be all right. Just like this.
“How about you?” Mama asked.
Sin just smiled, which meant she was holding out for Nick Ryves. He hadn’t been to the Market in a couple of months, so he was due back.
Nick and Sin weren’t exactly friends. It was hard to be friends with Nick.
He was the best dancer she’d ever seen, though, and that made her like him. Sin respected talent, and it was hard to dislike anyone when you loved to watch them move. Besides, you learned a lot about people dancing with them. That was why Sin made sure to dance with every new dancer once.
“Don’t tell me it’s Nick Ryves.” Mama wrinkled her nose. “That boy’s creepy. I’m saying this as someone personally acquainted with fifteen necromancers.”
Sin shrugged. “He’s better than his brother.”
“I don’t see what you have against Alan,” Mama said predictably. “He’s very gifted.”
Alan Ryves was the kind of boy all the parents and grandparents and busybodies of the Market thought everyone should be like: perfect, studious, ever so polite and ever so politely disdainful of the dancers. He got up Sin’s nose more than anyone she had ever met.
“I know. Being so boring and yet so irritating at once, that’s a gift.”
Mama did not respond. Sin glanced up to see that her mother’s eyes had gone wide, pools of brightness reflected from the lanterns, and Sin immediately twisted around to see the threat.
There was no threat. There was just Alan Ryves and his annoying face, and at his shoulder where Nick always stood there was… well, there was Nick.
It wasn’t that Sin did not recognize him. It was unmistakably Nick, all dead-white skin, dead-black hair, and drop-dead stare, but those sullen, too-sharp, and too-strong features of Nick’s had clicked into place: He was almost as tall as his brother now. Muscles that had made him look squat before, like a surly full-grown goblin rather than a kid, fit on his new frame in easy rippling lines as he walked.
He still moved like a dancer, smooth and sure.
This was Nick made new under the burning lanterns, light racing golden along the angular line of his cheekbones, fire kindling in the depths of his black eyes.
Sin smiled absently. It wasn’t that she was not interested by Nick’s sudden ridiculous good looks. She was just distracted by something even more unexpected.
She found herself feeling a little sorry for Nick.
Sin had always been a cute kid. She’d known that ever since she could remember: There was no way not to know, when she and Mama had to use it. She’d been using curls and ribbons and a sweet smile to get people to come to Mama’s stall and have their fortunes told since she was five years old.
She’d been dancing almost as long. First just to amuse the tourists, providing entertainment that was more about her smiles and her pretty costumes than the fact that she could dance, and then for the demons, when it was only talent that really counted. But making it look good never hurt.
She was used to attention and admiration. But it did change when you grew up, new and sometimes unexpectedly painful, like aching muscles.
Last year she had been at the stall of a potion-maker she’d known for years, and he’d given her a present because she looked so pretty that night. He’d spelled out her name in dandelion seeds, shining like stars in the moonlight.
He’d spelled it Sin. She’d always spelled it Cyn before. But now people looked at her and saw something different.
Mama had put her arm around Sin’s shoulders as they left the potion-maker’s stall.
“So make the name yours,” she’d said.
A stage name was the truest name a dancer could have. She’d learned to use what people saw when they looked at her. She’d always been a performer.
Heads were turning as the brothers moved through the crowd, and Nick did not look even slightly fazed. Sin saw him meet a few gazes for an instant and then let his eyes slide deliberately away, his mouth curling. Nick, who never wanted to talk or play or be friends, looked as comfortable as he did in the dancing circle with the demons. As if he had always known he was going to be beautiful.
Nick had never been one for performance. But it looked like he knew how to use this new power he had as a weapon.
She could understand that.
Sin rose from her place by Toby’s crib, and took a moment to let the lights of the Market and the wind from the beach wash over her.
Her mother caught her eye and winked. “Go get your partner.”
“Oh, I will, but Nick can wait,” Sin said. “First I want an audience.”
It was the night of the Goblin Market, a night for seeing someone in a new light.
She thought Nick was human at the time.
Sin spotted her mark right away. He was a guy in a suit who had the air of someone who’d been to the Market a few times before and was trying to give the impression it had been more than a few. He was also handing over a lot more money than the German book of witchcraft he was paying for was worth.
“Welcome to the Market,” Sin said.
When he spun around, she was already positioned so that the fairy lights caught the red glints in her hair and left her face wearing shadows and a slow scarlet smile.
It was a lot like placing her mother’s crystal balls on the stall so they were shown off to their best advantage. Sin wasn’t for sale, but it did no harm to let tourists believe she might be.
The man visibly hesitated, then swallowed. “It’s not my first time.”
“Oh,” said Sin. “I could tell.”
“I guess,” the guy said, his eyes traveling over Sin’s bright clothes and gleaming skin. “You’re one of the attractions?”
“I’m the star attraction,” Sin murmured. “Follow the music when it starts, and you’ll see me dance.”
The man took a step toward her and she felt a flash of triumph. She had him, like a fish on a line.
“What are you doing right now?” he asked.
“She’s busy being underage,” said the most irritating voice in the world.
They both looked around to the book stall, which Alan Ryves was leaning his bad leg against, a book in one hand and his usual expression of righteousness on his face.
“So perhaps what you should do right now is leave,” he continued in his gentle voice, the one he used as he limped around the Market charming every old biddy in the place. Such a nice boy, they all said.
Nice boys were such a pain.
“Er, so I’ll just be,” said the tourist, and then stepped backward and away, into the crowd.
Alan gave her a little smile, as if he expected her to thank him for scaring away her audience. As if he’d done something nice for her, and he was expecting her to be pleased. There were fairy lights over his head, too, making his glasses catch the light and his red hair seem to catch fire. He looked even more ridiculous than usual.
He was wearing a T-shirt that said I GET MY FUN BETWEEN THE COVERS. It had a picture of a book on it.
“Hi, Cynthia,” he said.
“What is wrong with you?” Sin demanded. “Besides the obvious.”
Alan’s smile twisted in on itself, and Sin bit her lip as she realized what he thought she’d meant. She hadn’t been thinking about—well, she had been, it was hard not to notice—but she hadn’t intended for him to assume she was talking about his leg.
She didn’t feel like losing any ground before the ever-so-saintly Ryves brother, though, so she just sneered, turning her face pointedly away to look at the rest of the Market. There were a lot of sights that deserved her attention far more than Alan.
One of them was her little sister Lydie, being carried past in Trish’s arms. Trish made fever wine during the day before the Market, but at night she often volunteered to babysit.
“Lydie,” said Sin, and brushed a kiss at the golden curls at her sister’s temple. Lydie looked past her and reached her arms out for Alan.
“Hi, sweetheart,” said Alan, his voice turning slow and sweet as honey. Lydie’s arms stretched forward, questing and imperious, and Alan leaned his weight against the stall and reached out to hold her.
Sin had to look away as he lurched.
“You’re so irresistible to women, Alan,” she remarked. “Pity your charm only works on those over fifty or under five.”
“Poor me,” Alan said. “I just missed my chance of dazzling you. You’re what, seven by now?”
He gave her the smug look of a boy a bare three years older than she was. Sin rolled her eyes.
“Same age as your brother,” she remarked. “And he’s looking pretty grown-up these days.”
Alan’s stance shifted suddenly, and Sin realized that there was one of the Ryves brothers at least who was not entirely comfortable with Nick’s transformation. Alan’s T-shirt might as well have read MY BROTHER IS JAILBAIT. IT’S MAKING ME ANXIOUS.
Sin smiled with glorious and terrible joy.
“You’ve seen Nick,” Alan said, his voice suddenly wary. “Did you talk to him?”
She raised her eyebrows. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware that he needed a signed permission slip to play with the other children. I have seen him. I had a lot of fun looking.”
“Yes, all right, Cynthia,” said Alan, who apparently felt he needed to use her full name at all times in order to achieve the maximum possible level of condescension. “Look, I’m just—I’m just saying, maybe be a little careful.”
“Careful?” Sin repeated. “You’re telling me to be careful of your own brother.”
Alan colored a deep, unhappy red. Sin did not give a damn.
Market opinion was divided on what Nick thought of Alan, their guesses ranging from “total indifference” to “sullen adoration.” But Alan had always seemed to love Nick, sticking close to him, taking care of him as Nick scowled about it. It was the only thing about Alan that Sin actually approved of.
She reached out and pulled her sister out of his arms, rocking Lydie when she made a noise of extreme dissatisfaction. She pressed Lydie’s cheek to her talisman, the enchanted web of net and crystal against her heart.
“I can’t count the ways you make me sick,” she said conversationally to Alan. “Besides the obvious.”
She wielded the words with vicious, deliberate emphasis like one of her long knives, and saw them cut deep. The color drained out of Alan’s face.
“Stay out of my way,” Sin ordered. “And don’t you dare interfere with any of my audiences ever again.”
“He was a creep,” Alan mumbled. “It’s wrong to objectify women.”
He turned away toward the piles of books, as if retreating to a refuge, and sounded a little awkward when he said that, like he really believed it but knew it sounded stupid. Alan was supposed to be so smart; Sin could not understand why he didn’t see that he was insulting her by implying she hadn’t known exactly what she was doing, and exactly what that guy was.
She gave Lydie to Trish and stepped in close to Alan, whose eyes widened slightly. Sin ignored her own surprise that Alan was so tall and leaned in closer still, almost resting her chin against his shoulder, so close she could feel his body heat. She concentrated her gaze until he followed it, and saw who she was watching.
She gave him a slow, sweet smile.
“Guess what,” she said. “I’m objectifying your brother right now.”
She left without another look at him, sliding through the Market. She smiled, seeing first-time tourists arrive looking wary about the mysterious invitations they’d received from strangers, and then seeing their faces wiped clean of everything but wonder. The stalls were full of glittering marvels like treasure chests newly discovered and just opened for the first time, and even the stars shone bright as new coins under lamplight against the black velvet drape of a stall. Sin remembered being very small, walking through the Market holding her father’s hand, dazzled by everything.
Sin was part of the marvels now.
As she listened to the pipers, the music from above changed, became something intense, with a beat that rang out to the sky. Sin tipped her head back to see white cliffs painted violet and black by the falling night, the pipers at the edge with their instruments gleaming in the moonlight, and above them walls and a castle keep.
Then she lowered her gaze and saw that everyone was looking at her.
She had already positioned herself under a lantern that beamed white light in a pattern like lace: a lantern enchanted to make everything it touched radiant. Sin knew it was making her silvery dress glow like moonlight on steel, that it made the fever blossoms woven through the pale material and her dark hair kindle with crimson fire.
She sent her body rippling to the music, bringing attention to the shifting whisper-soft material over her skin, to the sway of her hips. Her movement called the other dancers to her, spilling in from every corner of the Market to join her dance.
She swayed a few more times, slow and sinuous. The whispers and gasps of the audience stroked over her like caresses.
When she pulled a fever blossom slowly out of her hair, dark locks unraveling from the flower like ribbons, the noise from the audience rose to an excited pitch.
Clearly, this crowd had been informed that whoever was thrown a fever blossom had the dancer’s favor.
Sin laughed, and threw.
The single point of red drew every eye and painted a fiery streak against the sky, like a tiny falling star.
Nick was standing alone and looking bored, his eyes hooded. He caught the fever blossom in one hand.
Sin left the dance and walked toward him. His lids lifted as she came close. There was a gleam his eyes.
“You ready to dance?” Sin asked.
“Don’t tell me you were considering someone else.”
Nick smirked. “Why, will it break your heart?”
“No,” said Sin. “I just won’t believe you.”
She saw the glint of appreciation touch his cold face, curving his mouth at the very edges. Nick never showed much emotion, but even the smallest hint of a reaction was like a victory. And he’d always appreciated directness.
“Well, I don’t lie,” he said, tucking away the fever blossom and offering her his hand. “And I don’t want to dance with anyone but you.”
The summoning circles were cut, the drums were beating, and Nick was in the circle overlapping hers before she spoke to him again. Even then, he didn’t speak back.
He couldn’t. They always used a speaking charm so Alan could talk to the demons for him.
“Good luck,” Sin murmured, and they both smiled because the idea he might need luck was a joke.
The music had started as a trickle and became a flood now, cascading over the sand and into the ocean, echoing off the pale cliffs, coursing like sweet electric shocks through Sin’s bones. Sin could see the tourists’ heads turning even more than usual, as she looked at them with eyes that lured them into drawing closer and Nick stared at them with eyes that said to draw closer if they dared.
The music from the new drums was better, the tiny rattle of skulls adding an edge to the melody. Lines and circles leaped into fire under Sin’s feet.
She turned to fire with them, muscles burning as she twisted and turned and pushed them to their limit, blood burning in her veins as she spun. She was never so aware of her body as she was when she danced, of her body as a weapon honed to a perfect edge and a decoration polished until it was perfectly irresistible. Every pair of eyes resting on her, every breath she took away, was a triumph.
Sin never doubted the demon would come.
And Anzu did, golden wings meeting over his head like a crown, empty glass-colored eyes fixed on Nick’s. Nick stared back without flinching: a real dancer, who would never in a thousand years stumble or fall.
Alan’s voice came out of the darkness beyond their burning circle, sure and calm. Sin had to admit, he always knew just what to say.
She’d hardly been aware of her partner as she danced, aside from the fact that she could trust Nick never to make a wrong move. But she was always most grateful for Nick when the demons came. Nothing ever frightened him.
Sin looked at him and saw the same satisfaction she felt, the same rush and thrill of daring death and doing it just right, and was absolutely certain that later tonight there would be making out.
Then a magician sent a fireball through a stall.
Merris Cromwell sent the alarm bells ringing for an attack, Matthias and his pipers started playing music to work everyone into a battle frenzy, and Carl from the weapons stall threw an ax at the head of the first magician in the sweeping rush.
Sin and Nick had to stay perfectly still. If they moved, they might break through one of the lines, they might cross the circle, and that meant the demon could tear off their talismans. That meant possession: that meant worse than death.
They were left totally exposed.
“Scared, my beautiful dancer?” Anzu the demon whispered in her ear. “Sure you don’t want to run?”
“I dismiss you,” Alan said coolly, as if nothing was happening. The demon’s fury curled around Sin’s heart like a fist as his balefire started to dim.
Sin lifted her chin and ignored him. Part of dancing was knowing when to stay still.
The demon was leaving, the fire dying. Soon the circle could be broken.
She could see only three magicians, but the three were cutting through the Market people like a spearhead, their demons clearing them a path, their hands streaming lightning and darkness. They rushed down the pier, and Sin realized in a moment of cold horror that they were coming straight at Nick.
The circle would not be broken in time.
Then there was the sharp crack of a gun firing, and the head of the man in front exploded. Blood splashed hot into Sin’s face. There was another shot and the glint of a knife in the night. Sin did not let herself even tremble.
Then there was nothing but three dead men between Alan Ryves and his brother.
Alan stepped over them without a glance, a gun in one hand and a bloody knife in the other.
“Are you all right, Nick?” he demanded, and pulled the speaking charm off Nick’s neck, chain breaking in the hand that held his knife, so Nick could answer.
Nick nodded silently. He had not moved a muscle, and he did not look even slightly surprised.
Once reassured, Alan lowered his knife and looked over his shoulder at the trail of dead bodies he’d left behind. Apparently now he could register that he had killed three people in less than a minute and look a little startled and a little sorry.
That was why Sin didn’t like guns. Apart from the fact that they sometimes didn’t work on magicians, it was too easy to use them. There was no physical, visceral awareness of what you had done when you used one.
She did like knives. And as the last of the balefire died she stepped out of her circle and drew hers, though there was no threat left to face.
It was excellent that there hadn’t been many magicians, that they had been neutralized quickly, that the Market night could go on. But it left her with the blood racing in her veins, her heart battering her chest as if it wanted to take wing.
She had meant to stay and see Mama do her first dance.
Instead when Nick caught her eye and turned away, she followed him.
It was dark and cool down on the shore, white seashells and sand crackling beneath her feet. Sin moved toward the shoreline, where the surf was kissing the sand in a rush of exuberant foam, looked around, and saw no sign of Nick.
Sin walked along the water’s edge, the lights of the Market behind her, sea and sand stretching to either side, and waited until the moon-iced surface of the ocean broke.
Nick pushed back black hair, drenched and sleek as seal fur, and smiled at her. He might as well have beckoned. The angles of his face looked more sharply cut than ever, his shoulders white and wet, all the planes of his body given gleaming definition by moonlight.
She walked into the surf and he walked out of it toward her: the water of the English Channel was cold even in August, rushing up to meet Sin mid-thigh almost at once and hitting her at waist-height as she waded in deeper, washing the sweat off her skin and all the tiredness out of her muscles, leaving her with nothing but a sweet ache along her body.
She reached out and trailed her fingertips down the ridges of Nick’s stomach, curious, until her hand met the cool shock of water and the leather of his belt.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Sin said.
Nick smirked. “I’m a little shy.”
Sin caught hold of the wet rope securing his talisman, knotted it around her hand, and pulled his head down to hers. He caught her small delighted laugh with his mouth.
His skin was cool and his mouth hot against hers, and she stood on her tiptoes to get more. It wasn’t like Sin was short: These Ryves boys were both too tall.
Nick rescued her from the passing and disturbing moment when Alan Ryves crossed her mind by solving her problem and picking her up, hands sure on the small of her back and bending her backward so she was lying on the water like a mermaid in her bed, her hair spreading out with the waves. Then he pulled her back up to him, and she slid her arms around his neck and kissed him again.
“Come on,” Nick murmured against her mouth. “I don’t like the sea. Why don’t we get out?”
Sin smiled. “Why don’t we?”
He carried her out of the ocean and laid her down on the shoreline, the place where the pebbles lay washed by the surf until they looked like jewels. Her soaked hair fanned out in the sand like seaweed, and Sin arched up so he could slide his hands under her back and save her from the chill. He stroked up and down her back obligingly, and slid down her body a little, nudging her talisman sharply to one side as if it irritated him, so the wet rope bit hard against her neck as his mouth opened on her throat, warm and lingering.
Sin pulled his wet hair a little as a punishment for the sting of the rope, and arched up against him again.
Then an alarm shattered the silence from cliffs to sea. Sin went rigid with fear: She levered herself up and met Nick’s gleaming black eyes.
“Alan,” he growled.
“Mama,” Sin said, and now that they’d both named what they had back at the Market, what could be in danger, the spell of a moment was broken. Sin was up and running, not caring if Nick was running too or where he was, only caring that she got back.
She launched herself up onto the cement platform and landed hard, skinning her knees bloody and not caring about that either, rolling to her feet and running.
There were magicians all around them. The first three magicians had been a decoy, something to make them feel as if they were safe from attack. This was real.
Sin saw the tourist Alan had warned away from her, magic glowing in his hand. His eyes went wide as he recognized her.
She was faster on the draw than he was. Her knife was buried in his throat before the magic ever left his hand, and she was running on.
Everywhere across the Market her people were fighting, and they beat the magicians back. Sin was shivering with triumph and exhaustion by the time she finally reached the dancers, ready to find Mama and rest, with her singing that they would be all right.
It was very quiet where the dancers were. It was so still.
Mama was lying facedown in her circle. The balefire had all gone out.
Sin stepped into the dead summoning circle, knelt down on the earth and turned her mother over, so gently. For a moment she was absolutely, blessedly relieved: Mama’s breath was coming steadily, stirring the fall of her golden-brown hair over her face, and Sin thought she was just hurt, that everything was going to be fine.
Mama opened her eyes.
All the light and joy of the Market, all the light and joy Sin knew in this world, drained away in the terrible demon darkness of those eyes.
“No,” Sin said, her voice a lonely whisper, drowned out by the sound of the sea, by the terrible sucking silence emanating from the thing that had moments ago been her mother.
“Mama!” came Lydie’s voice, and Sin looked up to see her little sister come dashing toward them, and thought, No, no, no with the force of a scream she could not let loose, with the force of a prayer.
Alan scooped Lydie up fast as she went by, turning her face toward his with his free hand, talking to her in rapid, soothing tones, comforting her, not allowing her to see.
There was nobody to comfort Sin, and she had to see.
The demon seemed to be registering its success, its body coming to terrible life in Sin’s arms, Mama’s mouth curving into a gradual, awful smile.
Mama was nothing but a shell with a demon inside her; Mama herself was caged in the back of her own mind. That was what happened whenever an ordinary person had dreams of demons and opened a window to let them in. Or whenever a dancer fell in a summoning circle.
In the distance Sin could hear Merris giving the orders to those in the know for taking a possessed person, for dragging the demon-infested body to Mezentius House, where it would be held prisoner until the body rotted away from the inside out, until the body died. The necromancers were coming and the men with chains, those who had spells to throw.
Her mother was still inside there, helpless, with the demon in command.
“Mama,” said Sin, finding her voice in extremity, the words tumbling desperately out. “Mama. I’ll come with you. Don’t be too scared. I’ll come, I’ll stay. Mama, I love you.”
Her voice rose then, in a high childish wail, but she couldn’t afford to be childish now. As the Market people came to deal with her mother, Sin surged to her feet and went to deal with Merris Cromwell.
“You certainly cannot come to Mezentius House,” Merris informed her. “You’re far too valuable to risk.”
Sin had always been awed and scared by Merris before. She’d always seen her at a remove, knowing that her mother would probably inherit the Market someday, since she was a Davies and the best dancer they had. She’d left her mother to deal with Merris.
Her mother was as good as dead. Which meant Sin was the best dancer in the Market, and she was the next in line to be leader.
“My mother’s in there,” Sin said. “I’m going to stay with her. And if you don’t let me, I’ll leave the Market.”
It was an insane thing to say. What would she do if she left the Market, especially now Mama was gone, now Toby and Lydie had only her? She couldn’t do anything but dance. She would have to become one of the dancers not attached to the Market, who danced for demons alone, who usually died in less than a year.
It was an insane thing to say, but she meant it.
“You can let me go to Mezentius House, or you can find a new heir. I will not let my mother die alone!”
Merris let her go. Sin promised Trish and Carl all her tips for the next season, anything, if they would care for Lydie and Toby until she came back. Toby was asleep, but Lydie cried, and Sin was terribly grateful that Alan was still holding Lydie, his eyes wide and so sorry for them both. Sin wasn’t going to let herself cry in front of Alan Ryves.
She cried at the House of Mezentius. She stayed with her possessed mother for three nightmarish weeks, cried and bled and screamed and stayed, until her mother died. And she went back to the Market, still able to dance.
That was one mercy. There was nobody else to inherit the Market, and nobody else to take care of Lydie and Toby.
Sin did not need anyone else. She could do it, just like dancing: It didn’t matter how hard it was. What mattered was never, ever to falter.
She didn’t falter, and she did not fall once over the year and more that passed, not when they found out that Nick Ryves was a demon that had been put in a child and raised among them all this time. Not when they discovered that Alan was the greatest traitor imaginable, someone who had chosen a demon above his own kind. Not when the threat of the magicians became so great and Merris got so sick that they had to make a bargain with the demon and the traitor.
Not even when Alan Ryves, the boy Sin had never liked, gave her a gift she could never have imagined and could never repay when he put himself in the power of magicians to save her brother.
So Sin was not going to hesitate for a moment now, though a demon had strolled into her ordinary London classroom with its graying blackboards and harsh fluorescent lights. Sin’s magic world and her normal world were meant to be kept apart, but here was Nick Ryves at her school.
He looked much the same as he had more than a year ago, when he’d stood looking down at her with wet hair fringed by moonlight.
“Sin?” asked Nick, who she had thought was human once. He seemed, as far as you could tell with Nick, startled and perhaps even pleased to see her.
Sin crossed her legs under her rough uniform skirt.
“I’m sorry,” she said smoothly. “My name’s Cynthia Davies. I don’t believe we’ve ever met.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sarah Rees Brennan has a true talent for writing absorbing characters and this book is no exception. Once of the unique things about the series is that each of the three books is told from a different point of view. This book is told from the perspective of Sin, the heir to the Goblin Market in the series. Sin was a character I never much sympathized with but throughout this book I came to truly care for her.This was a wonderful and absorbing conclusion to the Demon's Lexicon series.
The final book in Rees Brennan's trilogy, I very much enjoyed this book. Loose ends are wrapped up, the story is completed. I really liked the switch to Sin's POV, because this is really her story. There were so many times in the early part of the book that I wanted to pull her close, give her a hug, and tell her she didn't have to be so hard all the time - but it's a journey she had to go through on her own, and she has quite a time of it. She's great, and I'm glad we got to spend this time with her. But don't worry, Rees Brennan manages to keep us filled in on what was going on with, say, Nick and Mae, even with Sin's POV (quite cleverly, I thought).Please don't get the impression that the story wasn't good - it was! The war between the Market and the magician's, Jamie's defection to the magician's, and Mae and Sin's push-pull relationship - these are all covered and more. But I'm a character person, so of course that's what I focused on.
I was super excited to read the final installment in the Demon¿s Lexicon series. I couldn¿t have been more satisfied with the ending of the series.Initially, I was very worried about this book. Like the previous two books in the series, this book is told from the point of view of another character. The first book was told by Nick¿s point of view and the second from Mae¿s point of view. The final book is told from Sin¿s point of view, and this worried me a bit. Sin was more of a secondary character in the first two books so I was a bit worried about how the narration of the central story line would play out. However, I ended up really liking Sin as a narrator and the story played out perfectly. I really liked learning more about Sin and I loved her personality. She was probably one of the best people to tell the conclusion of this story and I really loved learning her back story.I have to say, most of my fears about Sin as the narrator stemmed from the fact that I really wanted Nick and Mae together. I worried that because Sin was the narrator we would get none of the private scenes between those Nick and Mae, but Sarah Rees Brennan handled it well. We still got many private scenes between other characters as well.The plot picked up from where we left after the Demon¿s Covenant. I was really happy with were Sarah Rees Brennan took the story. I think the twist in this book could really rival the twist from the first book, and that was a huge twist. I knew things were going too well for it too remain so happy, and boy did she deliver a shocking twist. Sarah Rees Brennan was probably the evilest in this book to her characters, but it made the story so great and was done to the benefit of the story, so I can forgive her for her evilness.I was very happy with how all the characters story lines were settled. I really enjoyed seeing whom everyone kind of ended up with and seeing the amazing growth of nearly every character in this book. The characters were put through very difficult times in this books, I really liked watching them growing and becoming stronger because of these difficulties. And I have to say, I was very happy with who ended up with who in the end. It was perfect.The emotions were running high in this final installment of the Demon¿s Lexicon series. It was another emotional roller coaster. I was happy, I was angry, and I was sad. At parts I was crying. And then there were those scenes that just made me so giddy and happy. They were perfect and I could not have wanted anything else. And my favorite scene was one of the most emotional for me. That scene that Sin overhears between Nick and Mae. My favorite, even if it was very emotional. Trust me you will understand when you read it.I was really happy with how this series concluded. The ending wrapped up the main story line, but did not leave everything wrapped in a perfect package. Instead, things in the ending were still a bit shaking with the characters. The characters and their world still had always to go before everything to be settled perfectly and the ending demonstrates that. I was really happy with where the characters were all heading in the future, even though we do not know if everything they plan for will occur. The ending was very bittersweet for me because it was the last time I¿d hear these characters stories. I really liked that the ending did wrap up every little detail and solve every problem, because that is not real. The ending felt real and I loved that.It¿s really hard to say goodbye to this series because it really is one of my favorites. I will never forget reading the ending of Demon¿s Lexicon and my awe at the twist at the end. I will never forget all the incredible twists and turns that Sarah Rees Brennan has taken me on. I love this series and I want everyone to read. I am deeply sadden that this GREAT series has ended and that I will never read more about Nick, Mae, Jamie, Alan, Sin and everyone else, but thankfully I can always reread this
This book is from a new POV, that of Sin (Cynthia), the former presumptive leader of the Goblin Market now forced to compete with Mae for that position, much to her dismay, while also taking care of her two young siblings (including hiding a dangerous secret about one of them) and being subjected to the varied attractions of Nick and Alan Ryves. It¿s effective in many ways, not least because we know a bit more than Sin about certain emotional dynamics and thus can enjoy our superior knowledge, but it also helps Brennan hide some key plot points from Sin and from us¿very effective authorial manipulation. I¿m not sure I¿m happy with the final outcome, both in its neatness and its treatment of Sin, whose ultimate reactions are not impossibly out of character but needed a firmer grounding beforehand. Also you have to ignore that they are all way too young to know this much really hard in a way that wasn¿t quite as apparent to me in the earlier books, but I think I can do that.
I have not made my adoration of this series a secret. The first two books were solid five star ratings from me. Don't be put off by the fact that the final bookd "Demon's Surrender" clocks in at four stars. It maybe would have made 4 1/2 if Amazon allowed half star ratings. This book was still epic for me and I was very happy with the conclusion my two book boyfriends Nick and Alan received. I have never had book boyfriends before....but maybe I have never read two characters written so vividly before. These are not just physically beautiful men, in fact Alan has quite a few physical imperfections. Yet they are so real, witty, emotional, and yet very different from each other. Nick takes a bit of a back seat to Alan in this last story. Which is okay because Nick has been more prominent the rest of this series and he still has ample page time in "Demon's Surrender". When we last visited this world, Mae's beloved brother Jaimie had joined the magicians. A tentative sort of relationship was established between Nick and Mae, although Nick was still thinking his brother would be a great match with Mae. Things have reached a head between the war between the magicians and the Goblin's Market. The head of the market has been, shall we say 'demon compromised' and now the leadership of the beloved market is up in the air. Will the new leader be Sin, the beautifully exquisite dancer who was raised in the market and feels it is her rightful place? Or Mae, a market newcomer who has a knack for leadership and making good decisions? The first book "Demon's Lexicon" was told by Nick and I can't imagine a more perfect YA book than it was. The next book was narrated by Mae and I wasn't crazy about that idea. I wanted Alan to narrate. But "Demon's Covenant" was amazing as well. Rees-Brennan apparently can't write a book that won't make me cry. The final book, "Demon's Surrender" is told by Sin. I was very disappointed to hear this. Sin has really been a minor character all along. This book should rightfully be Alan's. And yet, through Sin, it really is. Sin ended up being a phenomenal character. I related to her more than I did even to Mae. She is the only person in this series who could really relate to Alan and be able to call him out of his bull. Every last aspect of the chracters and their relationships was five star. I don't just mean the romantic relationship, but those amoung friends, and most especially that between two very different brothers. It brings to mind the quote "A friend is family that you choose". What really defines family? Is it blood? Or is a name for a true and strong bond that develops between two people for any reason? Now then why was this book rated four stars? Several little things. I found the story convulted at times. There was too much action being TOLD to the readers and not shown. This includes the play between the demons, magician, etc. It also includes the test and trials set to Mae and Sin to determine leadership of the Market. Because there is no real relationship or connection between Sin and Nick, we had to settle for seeing the resolution to their story via Sin 'overhearing' them speaking or from her watching them from around a corner. That just didnt' feel realistic at all. Who is put in those situations that many times? I think they way to overcome this would have been to have this final book told from multiple points of view. That way we could have seen the Nick and Mae story from their points of view. We could have finally seen Alan narrate a little bit. And yes, we could have still had Sin's point of view and the benefit of seeing her characters full potential without losing what we lost by seeing these more intimate aspects of the story from Sin being voyeuristic. Everyone and everything ends up as it should be. I was more than happy about the resolution of this trilogy. However it would have been nice to have gotten there in a little bit of a different way. Anyone who loves YA or fantasy novels sho
Young adult fantasy. Book 3. The Ryves brothers are deep in crisis, the Market is at war with the Aventurine circle and the leadership of the Market is yet to be determined.I have so much love for this series. The point of view for the final book is Sin (Cynthia) and it's a joy to ride along with her as events unfold. I really value the personhood found in the characters, especially the ladies and I value how central their stories are.There is such a lovely balance of whimsical humour and emotional depths that I found myself giggling one moment and holding my breath the next. Thank you Sarah Rees Brennan, I look forward to following your writing career in the future :)
I know a lot of people have been saying this, but when I first found out that Sin was going to be the narrator I thought that the book was not going to be as good as the previous two books. I am so glad I was wrong! I did not realize how much Sin¿s narration was going to bring to the story. We got to see Nick and Alan in completely different lights, we learned more about the Goblin Market and the Magicians, and we get to see a whole different side to Sin that I absolutely loved! The Demon¿s Surrender is the perfect ending to a perfect trilogy! I only have praise for this story and all I want to do is read the entire series again. I totally would too if I didn¿t have a list of books that I still need to read!Sin is awesome! She had the perfect one-liners for Nick and Alan and I couldn¿t help but laugh at them. She is strong, brave, independent and protective of her family. She is willing to do whatever she has to do to keep them safe. I really enjoyed learning about her and reading her story.Alan and Nick were perfect. I love their connection and their protectiveness of each other. I love when they are joking around with each other and when they are scared for the other. Nick had it really bad in this one. It was horrible to read. Sarah Rees Brennan is the only author I know that could make you fall in love with a demon and at the same time is able to make a demon grow as a character. All I wanted to do was hug Nick and tell him everything was going to be OK, but then he probably would have stabbed me. Then there is Alan, who I have loved since the beginning! Seriously, I love him, and he was even better and more swoon worthy in this one! We got to see a whole other side to him that had me melting like butter for him! Mae and Jamie are also in the story, though we see less of them then we did in Lexicon and Covenant. Jamie had me worried there for a while, but once he was back to his old self, I realized how much I missed him! I would love to see a companion novel full of Jamie-isms!There are so many plot twists that I never knew where Brennan was going to take the story and the characters! I was not able to turn the pages fast enough. Seriously, this women is a genius and super talented! She is an amazing author and I can not wait to read more from her!The Demon¿s Lexicon series is one that I am so glad I read! Surrender had an ending that leaves the reader completely satisfied. I could not have asked for a better ending to a wonderful trilogy.Just to add to the awesomeness that is The Demon¿s Surrender, Alan is on the cover and I thought this cover was the best one yet!
A disappointing end to the series. Without venturing far into the spoilers, Alan in this book is not the same Alan as in the earlier books. Also, Mae and Sin's quest for the MacGuffin gets inflated beyond the point where it makes much sense. It's not bad, but... compared to the first two volumes, it's a letdown.
I was a little surprised by Sin as the POV choice when I started this book, but I wound up loving it. She's a great character, and I loved getting to see inside her head behind the many different facets of herself that she presents. I also really enjoyed the dynamics of her friendship/competition with Mae.
This book is a truly amazing end to a dynamic series. I am overjoyed that I started the series, and the last book was the finishing touch. I could hug Sarh Rees Brenan.
I absolutely loved this book. I thouht that it was a fantastic finish ti this particular book series. This book has my full reommendation to readers everywhere, as well as the two before it.
The ending to this trilogy is full of new mysteries and the ones we've already discovered in the previous two books. Rees Brennnan's prose is poetic and wonderful as always. Blistering action, unlikely love, and the power to change yourself perfectly wrap up the series. Well, you know, among other things along the way. Perfectly paced and an awesome ending that made me cry a little -- the greatness of The Demon's Surrender is seriously almost indescribable. I love the people, the magic, the market...so gripping, I was never, ever pulled out of this novel. Bloodshed and learning love (even a demon or two) -- what a fitting, thrilling "THE END."
I was super excited to read the final installment in the Demon's Lexicon series. I couldn't have been more satisfied with the ending of the series. Initially, I was very worried about this book. Like the previous two books in the series, this book is told from the point of view of another character. The first book was told by Nick's point of view and the second from Mae's point of view. The final book is told from Sin's point of view, and this worried me a bit. Sin was more of a secondary character in the first two books so I was a bit worried about how the narration of the central story line would play out. However, I ended up really liking Sin as a narrator and the story played out perfectly. I really liked learning more about Sin and I loved her personality. She was probably one of the best people to tell the conclusion of this story and I really loved learning her back story. I have to say, most of my fears about Sin as the narrator stemmed from the fact that I really wanted Nick and Mae together. I worried that because Sin was the narrator we would get none of the private scenes between those Nick and Mae, but Sarah Rees Brennan handled it well. We still got many private scenes between other characters as well. The plot picked up from where we left after the Demon's Covenant. I was really happy with were Sarah Rees Brennan took the story. I think the twist in this book could really rival the twist from the first book, and that was a huge twist. I knew things were going too well for it too remain so happy, and boy did she deliver a shocking twist. Sarah Rees Brennan was probably the evilest in this book to her characters, but it made the story so great and was done to the benefit of the story, so I can forgive her for her evilness. I was very happy with how all the characters story lines were settled. I really enjoyed seeing whom everyone kind of ended up with and seeing the amazing growth of nearly every character in this book. The characters were put through very difficult times in this books, I really liked watching them growing and becoming stronger because of these difficulties. And I have to say, I was very happy with who ended up with who in the end. It was perfect. The emotions were running high in this final installment of the Demon's Lexicon series. It was another emotional roller coaster. I was happy, I was angry, and I was sad. At parts I was crying. And then there were those scenes that just made me so giddy and happy. They were perfect and I could not have wanted anything else. And my favorite scene was one of the most emotional for me. That scene that Sin overhears between Nick and Mae. My favorite, even if it was very emotional. Trust me you will understand when you read it. I was really happy with how this series concluded. The ending wrapped up the main story line, but did not leave everything wrapped in a perfect package. Instead, things in the ending were still a bit shaking with the characters. The characters and their world still had always to go before everything to be settled perfectly and the ending demonstrates that. I was really happy with where the characters were all heading in the future, even though we do not know if everything they plan for will occur. The ending was very bittersweet for me because it was the last time I'd hear these characters stories. I really liked that the ending did wrap up every little detail and solve every problem, because that is not real.