In the second part of my review of The Demon’s Lexicon, we learn just how serious Alan’s mark is while being introduced to the Goblin Market. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Demon’s Lexicon.
This review will cover chapters three through five of The Demon’s Lexicon!
- Like, okay, let me start this off by quoting a sentence that beautifully represents why Nick is written the way he is.
- “Nick had never worried where his next meal was coming from, and never worried that someone might try to kill them.”
- Yes, that is an absurd pairing, but that’s the point. I believe that Sarah Rees Brennan has made a bold choice in putting Nick in the narrative center of this story. It’s risky because he’s not immediately likable in a traditional sense. Now, I sort of hate using that word â€“ likable â€“ because I don’t want to imply that he’s hard to like or that people don’t like him, as I’m a clear exception to that case. Nick is very abrasive as a narrator. He’s openly flawed in the text, he’s rude, he is not prone to the type of narrator heroism I’ve seen a lot of in YA literature, and at times I do want to slap him in the face. And that’s all part of his characterization, something that gives him this immediate sort of distinction that I am quickly loving. Essentially, I can’t think of a narrative character like Nick.
- Plus, I brought up this quote as a way to talk about what makes Nick the way he is. He knew his life was weird, but until his dad died, he had hope. That’s why that line above is so striking to me. This kid has been thrown into a chaotic life of hunger and murder, quite literally, and he has no reason to feel like he should view this positively. He is then diametric to his brother Alan, who always seeks out the silver lining, who wants to impress people (especially cute girls), and who believes his altruism is the only way to navigate the world of demons and magicians. (My guess is this comes from the fact that Alan gave his talisman to Nick immediately after their father died in front of them.) This dual-sided view of the world is so fascinating to me!
- IMPENDING BIAS ALERT: I have moved about 30 times in my life, so I WILL PROBABLY GET OBSESSIVELY ATTACHED TO CHARACTERS/A STORY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO MOVE ALL THE TIME. I just need to warn you. WARNING YOU NOW.
- WHAT IS DANCING. Oh my god, I love how casually this is brought up and not explained, because it sounds so silly and ridiculous that way.
- So, I have talked about the fact that Nick is far more closed-off and abrasive than Alan, but you know what? When it comes to how he feels about his brother, Nick is totally a big softie deep inside. He is! He’s all ~concerned~ about Alan having to dance, he’s protective of him, and then he’s jealous when he discovers that Alan is close to someone else, too. I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING, DUDE. And I like it.
- “I’m sorry about your brother. We didn’t mean for him to get hurt.” “Doesn’t matter what you meant,” Nick pointed out.
- TRUMPETS BLARE FOR THIS AMAZING EXCHANGE BECAUSE SERIOUSLY, INTENT RARELY MATTERS. OH MY GOD, I LOVE THIS.
- I am interested to see where Brennan will take the depiction of Olivia. We’re clearly dealing with someone who has suffered from years of post-traumatic stress, who knows that the life of her sons will always be in danger, and who has given up even more than Nick has. I want to know more about her. (It’s interesting that this series has a flawed mother at the heart of the story, like Kami’s mom in Unspoken.)
- UGH, I NEED SO MUCH MORE INFORMATION ON THE CULTURE OF MAGIC USERS. Like, THIS IS DONE SO WELL. I’m fascinated by the idea that there are “necromancers and the messengers, the pied pipers and the soul tasters, and a dozen others, and Market people trusted none of them.” I’d like to meet all of these people.
- Lord, even I know that Alan’s the dependable one, so his fear when he meets the messenger is REAL AS HELL, y’all. This is such an awful predicament, too. The charm that Olivia has is what Black Arthur has been chasing the family for, and Nick doesn’t feel any particular affection for his mother. Oh god, he’s going to eventually turn her over, isn’t he? I mean, when he discovers that Alan wants to go off and hide, he threatens to leave Olivia. So, he clearly isn’t that attached to her, you know?
- Where’s the place Alan was going to go? Where’d he feel welcome???
- TONY’S PHOTOS OMG.
- Now it makes sense why Nick gravitates towards the “bad” crowd at each school: it’s the only way he knows how to fit in.
- “He would deal with the mark and the threat to Mum, and find out about Marie. His brother would be safe. Everything would be like it was before.” OH GOD, NO, NICK, NO, YOU PRECIOUS BABY, WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU EVER THINK THAT. STOP.
- “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a charming conversationalist?” Jamie asked. “No,” Nick replied honestly. YOU ARE SO PRECIOUS, NICK.
- I just adore how overwhelming the Goblin Market is. It’s like a scummier version of Diagon Alley. Yes, I realize Knockturn Alley is that as well, but it’s not the same! It’s not! The fact that the Goblin Market never feels official is what’s so striking to me. It’s an improvisational act of necessity. These people need the market, but it’s not something that can exist in a single location every day.
- FAIRY LAMPS ARE REAL. YES.
- “We may be the only defense against magicians and demons that there is,” Nick said. “No reason not to turn a profit.” BLESS YOU FOREVER, NICK. YOU ARE A TREAT.
- The chimes booth alone was my favorite detail. Then there were “lightning-born blades.” Then the pied pipers. Then the reveal that the Market “had been set up to provide help for magicians’ victims.” Then I had to stop trying to find a favorite detail because I loved this so much.
- Actually, the idea that the Market exists due to a form of mutual desperation is incredible to me.
- And then we have the dancing itself. It’s even more ritualistic than I expected! But before I got to that, I was quite frightened by Mae volunteering to be Nick’s dancing partner. I definitely warmed up to the idea later in the chapter, but initially, this just seemed like THE WORST IDEA EVER. Didn’t we just spend half a chapter being told that the demon’s dance was super complex, methodical, took practice, and required a ridiculous amount of concentration? How the hell was Mae going to pull this off?
- What Brennan does with something so improbable is show us how important emotions are. Nick is not a very expressive person, and aside from sarcasm or anger, he’s a pretty stoic guy. So it’s actually to his advantage that Mae wears her heart on her sleeve. I adore that this is a significant plot point, you know?
- I wasn’t surprised that Anzu had no solution to Jaime’s problem. I wasn’t surprised that Anzu could easily remove Alan’s mark. AND THEN I SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SURPRISED THAT ALAN WOULD FIND A WAY TO HELP JAIME AT HIS OWN EXPENSE. Jesus, I should have seen this coming. It’s in Alan’s nature to value other people over himself! Brennan has spent this whole book so far conveying this to the reader.
- Oh god, Alan took the second mark. Now he and Jaime are both branded, and must sacrifice TWO mages from the Obsidian Circle. Great. GREAT. This is just GREAT. Damn it, how do they even begin to solve this problem? And ultimately, they’ll have to murder two magicians, won’t they?
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