Mark Reads ‘The Demon’s Covenant’: Part 2

In the second part of my review series of The Demon’s Covenant, shit got real way faster than the last book. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Demon’s Covenant.

I HAVE A LOT OF ~very deep thoughts~. This review covers chapters 6 – 10 of The Demon’s Covenant.

    • Does this count as a ~very deep thought~? I really want that RISE AND WHINE puppy shirt.
    • I can’t deal with Nick. I can’t! I mean, this whole cast of characters is endlessly complicated, which is something I appreciate as a reader. It’s not just that I can easily categorize any of them. It’s the fact that at any moment, things can change. You’ve got a character who is a demon in a human body, and that means you have to disavow yourself of any notions of human understanding when you look at him critically. Honestly, that’s a challenge! It would be silly to try to quantify him in ways that I understand as a person because it ignores the reality of what’s really inside Nick. So, every time he is on the page, I realize what a unique position Mae is in. The big reveal in chapter six is that Nick wants Mae to teach him how to act human. And right when all these adorable, emotional emotions pop up in me about how Nick clearly wants to make Alan happy, Nick is quick to remind me and Mae that he has no interest in learning how to be human. It’s a very deliberate thing that Sarah Rees Brennan does because it’s so jarring. Now, I don’t mean that it’s out of character or unnecessary. Oh, no, it’s quite the opposite. Nick does not understand human affection, and he has no interest in ever doing so. At best, I could say that Nick wants to learn human behavior for practical reasons, and even that is getting dangerously close to being too human myself.
    • Y’ALL, THAT IS WHAT THIS BOOK IS GETTING ME TO TALK ABOUT. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I tend to like works of fiction more if they get me to think critically about the world or myself, so I’m extremely satisfied with the direction this is going. Plus, Brennan never forgets to include how Mae feels about this. Her thoughts and agency matters. Despite that she’s confused and terrified by this all (WHICH I DON’T BLAME HER BECAUSE OF THE WHOLE SCENE WITH THE GERMAN SHEPHERD WHY), she responds with humor. And perhaps it is a defense mechanism, but that’s perfectly fine! Look, she totally understands the complexity of the situation, and it benefits her to help Nick out as well.
    • And then Nick very dramatically reminds her that he’ll never ask her out, after pushing her towards asking Alan out. Just when I think I’ve got a grip on what Nick will do, Sarah Rees Brennan reminds me that NOPE. NO I DO NOT.
    • Oh god, the meeting with the Aventurine Circle. It’s so painfully awkward because the group is a complex mess of emotions. Jamie isn’t talking to Mae, who is feeling weird about Nick, who is hiding something from Alan, who is – well, you get the picture. These people do not come to the Aventurine Circle as one single group in this sense. That’s fascinating to me because it then becomes so easy for Celeste Drake to tear them apart. It doesn’t help that Alan is in over his head, either, as he expected a far more agreeable reaction from Celeste Drake. In hindsight, I really should have seen this outcome. Did Alan think these magicians would just graciously accept Alan’s info and give him whatever he wanted? Actually… yes. Yes, he did. OH GOD.
    • So it fills me with endless hilarity that in the moments after Celeste Drake announces that she’s taking Jamie, Nick is hurt because Jamie pretended to be interested in his car. Sometimes, Nick is deeply, deeply human, AND IT MAKES ME LAUGH.
    • Celeste Drake made a literal and gigantic magicians’ circle in Southwark. My brain cannot handle the sheer simplistic brilliance of this.
    • Bless you, Mae, for refusing to listen to Alan’s perfectly reasonable logic in order to stay with your brother. I admire that.
    • OH MY GOD, NICK CALLS HELEN FOR A DUEL AND SHE HAS TWO SWORDS AND WHAT.
    • “I was using magic and my swords before you were ever born.” “I was killing long before you were born,” Nick told her, suddenly soft, as if struck by a pleasant memory.
    • H E L P M E
    • HOLY SHIT. Nick spared Helen’s life SO SHE COULD GET BETTER AT FIGHTING WITHOUT USING MAGIC. Nick. Nick.
    • Okay, why did Celeste tell Mae to come find her “when you’re ready to be your own woman”? Oh god, what. Mae isn’t magical! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN.
    • Nick apologized to Jamie for snapping at him. Oh my god, y’all, I know he’s just ~pretending to be human~, but still. That’s a huge moment!
    • I would also not enjoy having to come up with a “lesson plan for humanity.”
    • Daniel Ryves diary. No. NO. NO I AM NOT READY FOR THIS.
    • I WASN’T READY FOR THIS. I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS. Oh my god, my heart hurts. Daniel’s diary is a rumination on guilt and loneliness, and it’s so strange to get the chance to see things from his point of view. Well, it’s probably even weirder for Nick, who realizes how his father felt about him in that first moment of meeting him.
    • WELL, THAT FIRST LESSON WAS A SUCCESS, RIGHT? Be right back, I must go sob into my pillow.
    • WHY IS GERALD IN THE HOUSE???????
    • I like that Gerald’s excuse for trying to hurt Nick was that Nick “attacked” him. Gerald, you broke into his house. What did you expect?
    • Okay, I’m kind of worried about the fact that two different magicians (Celeste Drake and Gerald) have said that Nick will definitely turn against them in the end. Could that not happen? Please? 🙁
    • “Do you know that storm he created in Durham killed two people?” Oh. Oh my god. Oh my god.
    • “People die so I can have my magic. People die so you can have your brother,” Gerald said. “We’re the same, Alan Ryves.” Sweet baby Gandalf, I’m so done. Oh my god HELP.
    • I love that Mae recognizes Gerald’s plan to restore Nick’s humanity as a total trap. BECAUSE SERIOUSLY, I WOULD NOT TRUST GERALD FOR A SECOND.
    • “In two worlds,” said Alan quietly, “there is nothing I love half as much as you.” Just when I think I’m done, Sarah Rees Brennan makes sure to tell me that she’s not even close to done with me. This goddamn book, I swear.
    • OH MY GOD, TINTAGEL CASTLE. I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO THERE, OH MY GOD. And there’s so much Arthurian legend in this part of the book, too. This is great.
    • So… it’s going to awkward in the Goblin Market, isn’t it? Like, this can’t go well??? Everyone knows who Nick is now, right? Oh god, this is going to be painful.
    • Holy shit, they’re dancing on a rope bridge above a crevasse? Dancing is intense enough as it is, but this is just ridiculous! I could not do this at all.
    • Wait, WHY DID SIN SAY SHE HOPED MAE WOULD COME BACK? WHAT?
    • I enjoy Sin. A lot. She’s an intriguing character who’s written in a way that makes me want to know everything ever. Brennan doesn’t reveal too much about her, so she’s got this mystery to her that adds an extra dynamic. Plus, her chemistry with Mae? Lord, it is undeniable to me. Holy shit, there is such a high need for femslash here, y’all. The entire dancing sequence is so erotic! I LOVE IT.
    • Beyond that, they both seem to respect and admire one another in different ways, so I want to see them interact more and more. Mae has this unending desire to join the world of the Goblin Market, and Sin is her key to that world.
    • And then there’s Mae and Liannan, and it’s a whole new dimension of fascination on my part. Given Nick’s past with the demon, I’m interested to know what Liannan wants from Mae besides the obvious. Why is it that Liannan latches on to Mae so quickly? What does she see in her that she could use or manipulate? At the same time, it seems that Mae might also want to use Liannan for her “lessons” with Nick. Can she learn to read a demon?
    • Liannan’s matter-of-fact announcement about Jenny Taylor’s daughter is so unreal and unexpected. I just need to say that.
    • Can I make a prediction? The people of the Goblin Market will find out what Merris has done. We see in this chapter how harshly they’ve treated Alan after they find out the truth about him.
    • I would like to make a prediction about Liannan’s “answer” regarding “the body of a boy you know quite well,” but I’ve got nothing. Unfortunately, that could apply to Nick, Alan, or Jamie. Damn it.
    • Nick thinks that Alan is Mae’s best option; Sin thinks Mae can do “so much better” than Alan. LOL FOREVER. Mae and Sin should just be together forever. I will sail this ship until it has sunk.
    • WHY IS GERALD IN THE MARKET.
    • WHAT IS HE DOING HERE.
    • WHY DOES HE HAVE TOBY
    • I DON’T LIKE THIS
    • I DON’T TRUST HIM.
    • OKAY, AT LEAST SHE GOT TOBY BACK.
    • BUT
    • BUT
    • WHAT
    • WHAT!!!!?!?!?!?
    • WHAT DOES SIN HAVE TO DO WITH GERALD.
    • HELP.

Both sets of videos for this post were commissioned by Natalie! Natalie has some fanart for The Demon’s Covenant that you should check out because OH MY GOD SIN AND MAE OH MY GOD.

Chapter 6

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Chapter 10

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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