Mark Reads ‘The Demon’s Covenant’: Part 1

In the first part of my review series of The Demon’s Covenant, this book is full of good choices. By the writer. Maybe not so much by the characters. Oh gods, just read the review.

This review will cover chapters 1 – 5 in The Demon’s Covenant.

Oh, this is gonna be good, y’all.

  • Immediately, I am so pleased with Sarah Rees Brennan’s choice to make Mae the narrator. Obviously, it’s unexpected, and after the final few chapters of The Demon’s Lexicon, I fully expected that this book would be Alan’s journey with his now-aware demon brother. I mean, there’s so much that Brennan can do with both Alan and Nick at this point! A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES. I mentioned in the video for chapter one that I had totally missed out on the fact that Alan was re-contextualized by the endgame in The Demon’s Lexicon just as much as Nick was. Both of them are not the same character I thought they were when I started this series.
  • I can already see one benefit of making a third character the narrator: We now get to see the Ryves brothers from an outside point of view. We are not in their relationship and behavior like we were in the last book, and Mae’s meeting with the two at the beginning of chapter two is so much more fascinating because of that.
  • Hello, endless heartbreak in the form of Nick telling Alan they should get a piano. It is my life goal to be able to write sentences like Brennan or Mira Grant or Tamora Pierce or Philip Pullman where your heart is ripped out between two periods. LIFE GOAL.
  • IT’S JUST SO SURREAL READING THIS AND KNOWING WHAT NICK IS AND SEEING IT THROUGH MAE’S EYES. It’s a treat. It’s like a Christmas present that you get every minute and you keep unwrapping the present and there are more presents inside.
  • WHAT DID JAMIE DO TO THE SWORD, Y’ALL? I had to read that passage three times to understand it. It’s incredible to me: Jamie immediately disavows being a magician, openly tells his friends and sister what he owes them, and then claims that he wanted to take care of his problem himself. This characterization is specifically influenced by what Jamie went through in the last book. He is sick of feeling like a burden. Of course, it doesn’t help that Nick purposely views him that way, but I noticed that he wanted to take care of Gerald without running to the Ryves for help and without dragging Mae into this mess. Again.
  • Still, Brennan doesn’t ignore Mae’s sense of self throughout this, and that is refreshing, too. Mae is the only non-magical, non-demon person in this group, and she’s hurt by the fact that Jamie still lied to her. She killed another person for him! And I think it’s valid that she feel hurt about this. At the same time, she is heartbroken by the predicament Jamie is in. He was born with these powers, he had to hide them for years, and Gerald, as flawed and horrible as he might be, is the first person who can give Jamie some sort of direction and closure. God, this is such a complicated situation. Because then you have all her feelings about Nick, her fear of what Nick might do to “protect” Jamie, the reality that Nick operated solely out of spite for the bulk of the previous book, the fact that Alan is the most manipulative person of the bunch, and the chance that Gerald cast a spell on Jamie to “enhance” his magical abilities.
  • The truth is that Mae is suffering from some sort of emotional and psychological trauma from what’s happened to her. I don’t know if you’d qualify it as PTSD, but she is certainly triggered at school, and her sense of paranoia has grown since the end of the last book. Now she’s got the extra stress of what’s going on with Jamie. She won’t be able to ever escape this world, will she? That got me thinking about how much she wished to be a part of the world of magic in The Demon’s Lexicon, and how much that has changed now that she’s seen what it’s actually like.
  • Her rejection of Seb is informed by all this, but she’s also unnerved by how well Seb is able to read her brother’s “secret.” That’s fascinating to me because it speaks to how much a person is able to read signs of something in another human simply because they’ve experienced it themselves. And then Jamie sees Seb and Mae holding hands, and that sign conveys everything Jamie thinks he needs to know about their conversation. Oh, no. 🙁
  • OH MY GOD, THE MESSENGER FOR THE OBSIDIAN CIRCLE. Holy shit, she has a normal job. I know that should be an issue or surprising at all, but LORD SHE CAME OUT OF NOWHERE. Her conversation with Mae is just… my gods. It’s so manipulative and frightening that Jessica went through Annabel just to talk with Mae. And Gerald has invented a new kind of sigil??? I DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT THAT IS, DO I? I’M SCARED.
  • Oh, a meeting with Gerald? This can’t end well.
  • Okay, I can’t believe that Nick would use Jamie as his “pet magician.” Well, so far, that is. It’s weird saying something is out of character for Nick because his characterization is so complex, but Nick doesn’t currently have the motivation to seek magic out for his own use. He appears to only want to be with Alan and to kill magicians. That doesn’t mean it’s out of the question, but I don’t believe Gerald is correct in assuming that’s why Nick is protecting Jamie.
  • HAHAA;LKD A; ;KS DK OH MY GOD NICK NEARLY DESTROYED ALL THE MAGICIANS IN ONE MOVE OH MY GOD I FORGOT HOW POWERFUL HE IS. Alan has also dropped all pretense of treating Nick as nothing more than a confused younger brother. Look at the way he grabs Nick by the hair and puts a knife up to his throat! Clearly, Alan is more comfortable being direct and threatening to Nick.
  • Ugh, I don’t trust Gerald! I know he claims to want to look out for his own, and he gave Jamie a true protection spell. But I sense an ulterior motive here. Granted, I don’t know what that is, but I’m not ready to accept that he has Jamie’s best interests in mind at all.
  • Oh my god, I love the scene where Jamie and Mae tell Nick that, traditionally speaking, people are frightened when you pull a knife on them. In response, Nick pulls out more knives to assure them that he’s not going to hurt Jamie. Bless you, Nick, and your beautiful logic that only makes sense to you.
  • I would like to meet Celeste Drake and the Aventurine Circle. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE.
  • Plus, learning about the power of circles, their sigils, and territory gives this all a very A Song of Ice and Fire feel. I wouldn’t want to be Gerald right now. HE SHALL BE VANQUISHED TO PROTECT THE GAME OF CIRCLES.
  • I have a feeling Seanan McGuire would be very much into a character like Nick who could bring about the armageddon if he wanted to.
  • Oooooh, does Alan still have a crush on Mae? HE DOES, HE TOTALLY DOES. You can tell a boy likes you after he tells you about demons, sacrifices, the genocide of magicians, and then asks you out.
  • So, they’re going back to the Goblin Market. That should be interesting. And awkward. SO AWKWARD.

As soon as I finish next week’s posts, I’ll continue working on this book!

Part 1

Part 2

I also got a chance to read “Nick’s First Words” on Sarah Rees Brennan’s LiveJournal!

Part 1

Part 2

Mark Links Stuff

– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
- Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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