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Review: The Demon’s Covenant

The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan. Simon & Schuster. 2010. Personal copy.

The Plot: The story of Alan, Nick, Mae, and Jamie starts not that long after the events of The Demon’s Lexicon. Demons, magicians, and battles, oh my.

The Good: There will be spoilers.

For those who have not read The Demon’s Lexicon: if you like horror infused with humor, read my review, read the book, then get the sequel. Know that yes, this is a trilogy, and the sequel is as good as the first so yes, you want to invest your time in this one.

The rest of the review is for those of you who read The Demon’s Lexicon and are wondering — how’s the sequel?

Alan and Nick are dealing with the consequences of Nick’s true identity being made public. Meanwhile, Jamie is trying to balance school and being an untrained, unaffiliated magician. Mae is trying not to think about the magician she killed to save Jamie, as well as her relationships with both Alan and Nick and Seb. Seb being the main person bullying Jamie. Alan is concerned that Nick is going to end up giving in to this true nature and disaster will follow. Mae doesn’t want to lose her brother. Jamie wants to know about how to be a magician, even if it means meeting with Gerald, a magician known to see humans as sub-magician and not worthy of care or concern. Mae’s concern for Jamie brings her back to the Ryves brothers.

This is terrific horror. The demons are chilling in their difference from humans, the magicians terrifying in their belief in their superiority. As with the first book, the risks to body, to sanity, to life are quite real. And, as with the first one, the quartet of teens deal with stress, danger, and risks with one-liners that make me both laugh out loud and want to hang out with them. Without, of course, the threat of doom and danger. You know what it’s like? Redford and Newman at their finest, in The Sting and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. (If right now you’re going “huh? who are they?” don’t share your reaction with me, as it will make me cry. Just go to Netflix or your library or wherever you go to get movies. You won’t be sorry. Do share your new-found love of these movies.)

Alan, Alan, Alan. The older brother who will do anything, lie to anyone, risk everything, to protect his brother Nick. Including protecting Nick for the consequences of Nick’s actions. And Nick. Oh, Nick. The younger brother who see the world differently, knows he is out of step emotionally with everyone around him, yet wants to change (or at least pretend) for Alan.

And Mae…. can I officially be jealous of Mae? Because with who she ends up kissing, well, how can I not be jealous? I loved, loved, loved how this was handled. A female with multiple love interests? At the same time, no less? And for each one, I thought, “yes, this is right, pick him.” OK, maybe there was one I was a bit “eh” about. The Demon’s Covenant, while not a paranormal romance, does a terrific job of exploring attraction, want, need, lust, love, and sexuality.

Because I love me a book that can have me scared and laughing, often at the same time, this is a Favorite Book Read in 2010.

The third book, The Demon’s Surrender, is due in 2011. I cannot wait!

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. Ooh – I shall bump this one to the top of my stack. The library is killing me — SO SLOW with all of my holds and orders!!! Why is everyone else reading what I want to read!?

  2. I have the first book on audio and really need to get to this one. I’ve heard such great things about the series.

  3. I was just thinking about this one recently, and I think that what made it so exciting and – I don’t know – larger than life is it’s set in a world we know, but with so much color and chaos that when you finish it, you come down into this world and it seems so flat and dull in comparison. The book is so – hyperaware. I don’t know how else to describe it and the experience of reading it. It was a great book.

  4. tanita, do so immediatley. you won’t regret it. and the next time we meet I can do my fab booktalk / alan imitation for you!

    michelle, who does the audio? how is it? I tend to listen during my commute so am always looking for good books on audio & know that good book isn’t always good audio.

    beth, oh, hyperaware! yes! excellent description of this one. because, perhaps, they are facing death or worse? have faced it? so yes, the world is larger than life not just because, you know, wizards magics & demons oh my but because of how the characters decide to live their lives.


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