The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
(McElderry Books, Hardcover, 2009)
Nick and his brother Alan have always relied only on each other. Ever since their dad died at the hands of a magician, the two have taken care of each other and stayed one step ahead of the evil magicians. That changes when Mae and Jamie come to Nick for help. Jamie has been marked by a demon and Nick and Alan are his only hope. Nick is so used to walling himself off from people that he is caught off guard by his feelings for Mae. But more importantly, he needs to protect Alan from the magicians that are seeking them.
Nick's isolated nature comes through the page and, at first, I found it hard to connect with him as a character. He pushes everyone away from him and his attitude towards Jamie and Mae was so frustrating. It was easy to get wrapped up in the setting and the magic of the story and then Nick would say or do something to make me want to shake him. As the story unravels, Nick's dislike of people is explained and my earlier inability to connect with him seemed like pure genius on the part of Sarah Rees Brennan. Alan, Mae, and Jamie are easy to like characters and I want to know the rest of their story. And as for Nick, well, I have a feeling that I'll be able to connect better with him in the sequel. The demons and magic in this story are seductive and dark. It was no stretch of the imagination to believe that the world depended on Nick and Alan's actions. Given the exciting ending, it will definitely be interesting to see where Sarah Rees Brennan takes the story next.