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So Demon's Lexicon is out in paperback, and Demon's Covenant is coming out in three weeks. I am all over nerves!

But of course, there have to be gatekeepers of fiction. People who read advance copies, through being authors or reviewers or my awesome competition winners or book bloggers or... people who find advance copies lying handily in the street.

And I thought you guys might like to prepare yourselves for what to expect as follows. So, one author (two co-authors actually, because I am a cheater) and my very first trade review for Demon's Covenant.

"There is more spirited humanity, love, loyalty, and humor in these pages than demons, magicians, and warriors combined. Only Sarah Rees Brennan could make you love a demon."

"Sarah Rees Brennan spins an endlessly inventive and always entertaining tale of love and loss."

- Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, of Beautiful Creatures, who kindly provided a blurb each!


Plots thicken, characters deepen and snark is bantered with witty abandon in this dark fantasy sequel to The Demon’s Lexicon (2009). Mae hoped that her life could return to normal after her brother was rescued from murderous magicians.

But the catastrophic aftermath has only increased the Obsidian Circle’s interest in Jamie, and Mae herself can’t forget the allure of the Goblin Market or the blood on her hands—and anything connected with the Ryves brothers is about as far from “normal” as possible. While the plot suffers from middle-book syndrome—too occupied with repercussions and setup to provide a satisfying independent story line—the prose sparkles with clever humor, arresting metaphors and more than a hint of sexy romance.

Mae’s viewpoint provides welcome insight into her enigmatic personality, revealing her passions, insecurities and reluctant fascination with magic. But the compelling characters of Alan (compassionate, manipulative, devoted and deceitful) and Nick (vicious, baffled, powerful and vulnerable) still dominate. Above all remains the painful depth and invincible beauty of family love, however that family is cobbled together. Not to be missed.
- Kirkus

You see I left the unflattering bit in, because I try to be an honourable lady really. I am much pleased by the idea of Mae as enigmatic, like a spy.

I am extremely delighted by both these good opinions, and can't wait to hear what all y'all think of the book!


( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
There was an unflattering bit? Oh yes. *squints* As it happens I love middle books so it just makes me more excited!
Apr. 28th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
Middle books are tricky, but I love them best if they are done right. I tried to do it right, but naturally cannot decide on my own performance! So you guys will have to. ;)
Apr. 28th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
I like middle books! But...I also like middles of books. I am perhaps strange this way.

Although, I would disagree with Kirkus in that Alan and Nick dominate. Okay, Nick dominates. But I seem to have a strange blind spot when it comes to Alan, despite how complex he is. I think Mae and Jamie take center stage in THE DEMON'S LEXICON.
Apr. 28th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)

One should not type when one is functioning on 40% of brain capacity, having stayed up all night looking at pictures of Zachary Quinto and suffering from allergies.
Apr. 28th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC)
I like to think that the stage expands for all four of them to become the mains, and then has potential to open out further in three! Of course, that is only my intention, and the author is dead, so mostly I just hope people like the books!
Apr. 28th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
I meant that Nick dominates in that he has a dominating personality. :)

I've always seen all four characters as the main characters of your book, but the spotlight focuses on Mae and Jamie in COVENANT. (You made me cry! About siblings! It was awesome! ...especially as I don't really cry in books.)
Apr. 28th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
Can't wait to read The Demon's Covenant! I keep hoping that The Book Depository will make some sort of clerical error & ship my book early! Congratulations on the awesome blurbs & reviews! :)

By the way, I think we all read "middle-book syndrome" as "make-out book syndrome", so the unflattering bit doesn't lessen this book's appeal at all. ;)
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
I second that hope - it is the price, one supposes, for even lower prices and no postage.

Interesting to note, btw, that when searching for The Demon's Covenant on the Book Depository, there are four hits - three are for The Demon's Covenant in various editions, and the fourth seems to be a how-to on breaking demonic covenants.
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Every small snippet of information makes me long for TDC even more. Is it May yet?

No, seriously. It has been April for about a year now. I am ready for April to be over with already.
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough, Middle books and films are often my favourites. I guess i'm just an odd type. : ) I can't wait to read the book and have an enthusiastic and hyper review of my own. Eeeeeek!

A lot to look forward to, as far as books are concerned this year!
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Haha! Can't wait to 'suffer' this middle book! ;)
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
I always get the warm fuzzies when Kirkus loves a book that I also love. So I will be very excited to get my hands on The Demon's Covenant.

More than I was already, I mean. I'll be Making Inquiries at my local indie bookstore soon. :)
Apr. 28th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Excellent - I heart indies, Demon's Lexicon was on the Indie Next list last year. ;) (And for other reasons too!)
Apr. 28th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
It just occurred to me that it must be exciting to read reviewers iconically describing characters ("compelling characters of Alan (compassionate, manipulative, devoted and deceitful) and Nick (vicious, baffled, powerful and vulnerable)") that YOU made up. Something about having followed your livejournal since before Lexicon came out, knowing that you're, you know, possibly a Real Person, and your characters have become Deep Literary Creations that one reads about when one reads as much meta-literary stuff as I do, made me appreciate the Magic that is making ones own imaginings come to life for complete strangers though words!
Apr. 28th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
There is nothing like the thrill of loving your very own characters, and seeing others respond to them! It is the best.
Apr. 28th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
CONGRATS! Wonderful reviews and I can't wait t read it!
Apr. 28th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)

Question: After you've finished a draft of your book do you print it out and edit it by hand? Or do you do everything by computer?
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
After I've finished a draft of my book I generally edit it via computer, then inflict it on writer friends, who send me feedback so I edit more: at a certain stage I send it to my editor, and she prints it out and sends me a hard copy covered in notes. Which I then use to edit on the computer. ;) Occasionally I'll draft on the back of her hard copy, but usually, the computer's it for me. But having my editor's hard copy really helps me focus.
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC)
You could probably already guess what I will think about the book. As in "My lord, this is AWESOME." I'm checking the calander compulsivly, and the reviews are making it this much worse. In a good way, of course. :) And yesterday's story, and the paperback out, and the fact that I've been waiting since November...
(Please say it's Mae soon.)
Apr. 29th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
I enjoy the middle, setting up portions of books most of all. Climaxes always make me sad... it means it's ended!
Apr. 29th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
*long-winded fangirl*
While the plot suffers from middle-book syndrome—too occupied with repercussions and setup to provide a satisfying independent story line— [...]

I understand that this is criticism, but repercussions and set-up are so much LOVE LOVE SHINE~ that really, all it does is make me look forward to reading it more. You are human; your books are going to have flaws.

(For instance, I worshiped Anne McCaffrey for years and years and she still holds a special place in my heart, despite her occasional concrete prose and distressing tendency--in her later years--to leave plotholes and focus on charming precocious twin main characters; and I will always love Tamora Pierce for her Mary Suish early characters as well as her shiny shiny awesomeness of EVERYTHING and oh how I adored the Circle of Magic and. It's bad if something is perceived as "perfect," really. Take me to a magical place where my imagination can play! Let me find things I don't like about it and the way you write it! Prove that you're just as human as everyone else! It makes me grow as a person. I love that. [/tl;dr])

Repercussions of the shit that went down in TDL--shit that has consequences! Building slowly towards the finale, practical detail by delicious practical detail! Oooooh the suspense, it makes me indecently gleeful.

But the compelling characters of Alan (compassionate, manipulative, devoted and deceitful) and Nick (vicious, baffled, powerful and vulnerable) still dominate. [...]
There is more spirited humanity, love, loyalty, and humor in these pages than demons, magicians, and warriors combined. Only Sarah Rees Brennan could make you love a demon.

Absolutely. When I think of Nick's character, the first thing I think of is love. (And not just because of the ever-growing crowd of fangirls!) Love that his brother (and others...but mostly Alan) have and have had for him, love that he himself has and has had for his brother (and others...but again, mostly Alan) that he doesn't quite recognise and doesn't realise/believe he is capable of feeling, the questions of what is love (baby don't hurt me), what is family, what is humanity, what is power, how do these things make their mark on people and what people are willing to do for these things...and also the near-instant empathy I and many others have had with Nick for his struggle with emotion, society, words, and his own identity and (in)humanity. And how he makes others feel--he's provocative, both negatively and positively; not very good at blending in and being part of the crowd, sensual and callous and a sharp contrast to everyone else's reality, everyone else's moral compass. He forces people, especially readers, to re-evaluate their judgements and preconceptions of issues like these.

...My bias is showing. ^^; But your characters are so powerful. You've spun us such a wonderful tale with Demon's Lexicon, such an enchanting world with enchanting people in it; I can't wait to see what your next story will be.

Aaah, when I can finally relax and think about the summer, two purchases start me off! Paperback Lexicon and The Demon's Covenant. Yum.
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
Re: *long-winded fangirl*
Thank you for such a lovely comment! Indeed few people have written a perfect book (off top of head: Pride and Prejudice, the Changeover, the King of Attolia) and I am certainly not among them.

I do see where the reviewer was coming from in his/her extremely kind review, Covenant is very repercussiony! Because I always try to do the tricky stuff (this is hopefully ambition, but possibly not being very bright) it is not just repercussiony in regard to Lexicon, but also in regard to the couple of weeks we don't know about. In that Nick and Alan are doing the Nick-and-Alan equivalent of 'Baby, I'm sorry!' and 'I cannot even LOOK at you right now' while Mae wonders what the hell is going on.

And yet I do believe it is important for every book in a series to stand on its own! How I square this I don't even know: possibly my deep fondness for backstory makes even my book ones repercussiony in my head...

I like very much the idea of Nick as agent provocateur, and had not previously considered it: he is a huge catalyst for change in his very being for Alan, but also for Mae and for Jamie and even for Sin, so the idea of him also challenging the reader finds much favour with me. ;) My feeling with Nick is that he is difficult (I have heard people say they just gave up on Lexicon because, well, he was so mean) and yet, I hope, to some, worth it!
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
Re: *long-winded fangirl*
I don't believe in perfection except as an ideal, much as I don't believe in "normal" except as an average of the majority. I do, however, believe in amazing and awesome and fantastic and flabbergasting and beautiful and incredible and so on and so forth in the "extremely pleased reaction" section of the thesaurus. You and your work tend to fit this description. ;)

Covenant is very repercussiony! Because I always try to do the tricky stuff[,] it is not just repercussiony in regard to Lexicon, but also in regard to the couple of weeks we don't know about. In that Nick and Alan are doing the Nick-and-Alan equivalent of 'Baby, I'm sorry!' and 'I cannot even LOOK at you right now' while Mae wonders what the hell is going on. [P]ossibly my deep fondness for backstory makes even my book ones repercussiony in my head...

I believe that backstory is vital for understanding of context, and context is vital for understanding of a story; I will often stop in the midst of reading something to piece together contexty clues to extrapolate the backstory in my head, because it makes everything make so much more sense and be so much more meaningful. Repercussions are delicious, and I do so adore seeing the effects of Epic Climactic Actions rather than having to imagine them on my own.

And now I desperately need to know what happened in those few weeks, because eeeee that sounds so interesting and startlingly different from what one would assume would be their dynamic even after the truth came out, and Nick didn't do anything to Aunt Tasha, did he? Agh, every time I hear more about Covenant I get more impatient to read it! You're evil, you are. *fisheye*

(The thought of someone "giving up" on Lexicon because Nick is "mean" makes me sad. Sad for them, mostly, for missing out. It also makes me wonder if I'm weird for instantly identifying with a character that apparently puts people off, but I think we already had this discussion earlier, with people having or teaching or living with others on the autistic spectrum and other disabilities weighing in, so yeah. ^^; I know I'm weird! It makes my life interesting, and because of that discussion I know I'm not alone.)
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)
Yay! Congrats, those reviews make me want to read the book even more!

I have begun the process of introducing Lexicon to all my friends, so they can join in with my impatient waiting for Covenant. One of them who is a uni student and normally therefore takes weeks to read a non-uni book read it in two days because she loved it so much.

And I tend to love middle books, so the "unflattering" part actually makes me want it even more.

(I'm a little bit strange).
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
I just got the paperback of the Demon's Lexicon in the mail today! Can't wait to read it :)
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
I cross my fingers and hope that you will like it. ;)
Apr. 29th, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
Hehe, I hope so too!
Apr. 29th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
Apr. 29th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
Kirkus is always kind of mean. It is their thing and I would barely consider that a blip on the kirkus meanness/unflattering scale. I am super excited about the book. Woo!
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:34 am (UTC)
Oh no, dude, I am completely thrilled by my review, I was just kidding around. ;) The 'unflattering' bit makes me think they meant the rest!
Apr. 29th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
I am super-excited about your new book, and also the paperback of the less-new book! Beyond the excitement, however, I do have a question.

If I send a copy of Demon's Lexicon and a self-addressed envelope with appropriate postage to you via your publishing company, would I be able to get it returned with a magical autograph on/in it? I ask because a good friend of mine is getting married and I am a firm believer that good writing and sexy heroes make for good wedding presents, and we've both been fans of yours for years. (She called me and we both danced from different parts of the country when you posted that you were being published.)

There was a great deal of babbling there, but I promise there was also a question. I'd better end here before it gets much worse.
Apr. 29th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC)
Wait, wait. Three weeks? I thought Covenant was coming out on May 1 or 2? 0.o
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:09 pm (UTC)
No, May 18th is the official date. But it is buyable at a special Irish event May 13th, and probably from that date will be acquirable in many UK/US/Irish places...
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)
I have no idea why I scrawled 'Covenant' on May 1 on my calendar. Now I feel hideously incompetent! *embarrassed face*
Apr. 29th, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC)
Well, that is the first of Mae. ;) All your month are belong to me...
Apr. 30th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
I am new levels of excited about this.

My well-worn copy of Lexicon is one of the few books which made it to my new flat (I have gone from a 6 shelf bookcase, a 3 shelf bookcase, 2 wall-length shelves, overspill onto the 'communal' bookcases in the living room and a rough estimate of 6 boxes of books in the loft) to a modest 3 shelf bookcase, although fret not, the other books are still in existence, just at home miles away).

It is pressed upon friends to borrow in a 'read this book, it's niiiiiiiiice' fashion, which I don't actually feel, in hindsight, is the best way to advertise such a tome. Interestingly (or not, if you are anyone other than me), it is currently between my amusing 'Create your own Jane Austen adventure' book and my Dictionary of Latin words and phrases. Surrounded by period hilarity and classical pomposity, it is in good company as modern awesomeness.

In summation: hopelessly overexcited, and only just refraining from shaking my friendly neighbourhood bookseller (or sullen Waterstones manager, whichever) by his collar demanding 'Book, now, dammit'. I wish I still worked for Ottakars (and, in fact, that Ottakars was still in existence), because they used to have pre-releases lying around in the staff room. I would have read it, cackled and then bought it - it's weird to own a book without a barcode, even if it is free and feels vaguely illicit.

Longest summation ever.

That is all.
May. 24th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
I'm in the middle reading Demon's Cov right now, Sarah!!
I realy, really love it so far =]

And I have this totally brand new pairing in mind: Alan and Sin =O

And omg I didn't know Jamie was actually gay!! I just thought he was kidding. That kid needs to stay away from Gerard-I swear-no good can come from this!!
May. 27th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're liking it! And I smile mysteriously. ;)
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Rees Brennan
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