Title: The Demon's Covenant
Author(s): Sarah Rees Brennan
Genre: YA Supernatural, Family, Romance
Page Count: 440
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Summary:Mae always thought she was in control, but in the past few weeks control has turned into chaos. She’s learned that her brother Jamie has magical powers and that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. The same magicians who tried to kill Mae and Jamie last month in London. The magicians who get their power by feeding people to demons.
Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger themselves. Every magician in England now knows what Nick really is—and they all want him dead.
Nick’s new power has also caused a rift between the brothers. In the weeks they were gone something terrible happened, something that haunts them both. With Nick as unreadable as ever and Alan making secret bargains with a demon, Mae finds herself attracted to both brothers—though she knows she can’t trust either of them. The magicians are closing in on one side and the dangerous, seductive Goblin Market is tempting her on the other, and Mae has to form her own plan to save them all. She's going to find that the price she must pay is more than she ever imagined.
The covenant is binding. There is no escape.
- From US Hardcover
The Review: Before I begin, I think I ought to confess how this book utterly ruined my week. People, I had plans. I was going to write up multiple reviews here, do more memes, leave comments on posts, go out into that big blue room with the giant yellow fireball in the ceiling and actually socialize with friends and family, but no, ever since I read The Demon’s Covenant last Tuesday, I could think of nothing else. I cancelled all plans, my to-read posts on google reader is at this atrocious triple digit number, and basically I’ve neglected everything just so I could read this book over a total of four times in six days and a small part of me whispers that if I didn’t have to spend a good chunk of my day going to work, the reread count would have at least been double. I even loved this book so much that I went and dug up a copy of the FIRST book to reread as well. (For the record, I reread it twice in these six days. Apparently my revelation for the week was that a day not reading SRB’s writing was a day wasted.) I harassed my family with constant squeals and sighs as I made a public spectacle of myself going all emotional over the book, roping my siblings into listening to various passages I re-enacted for them, whipped out the book from my purse (yes, I lugged that hardcover book everywhere with me) to wave its gorgeous cover in front of the faces of my friends, and even called a friend long distance the second she told me she finished the novel so that I could TALK ABOUT THIS BOOK with someone. This is the kind of sequel that makes the first book a better rereading experience. In fact, this is probably the most amazing sequel book I’ve ever read, and just a really amazing YA book overall and I love it to bits and it’s going to make it on my top 20 books I read this year, I know it, I can feel it in my bones.
I was actually surprised that I loved this book so much, because I wasn’t wow’ed by the first book. I mean, I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favourite read of the year or anything. The first book had its moments of emotional intensity, and a really fast paced plot, (It reminded me of The Hunger Games’ pace, but with a much more careful eye at her choice of words, and interesting metaphor usage.
The world building still isn’t to my taste, to be honest, but I don’t care about any of that because, my gawd, the characters just blew me away here. I was doubtful about this character POV change to Mae, whom I had a mostly reserved reaction to in the first book, but this story from Mae’s POV was so good . It gave me all the very human moments that neither Nick nor Gerald (who was also considered as a possible narrator for Book 2
A large part of The Demon’s Covenant dealt with the idea of consequences. To the best of my abilities in talking about this without spoiling, in the first book people were willing to do the “wrong” thing to “protect” the important person in their lives, and in the second book, it deals with what happens after you do the unforgivable thing. Sarah Rees Brennan doesn’t hesitate to blur the line between Good and Bad, complicating her characters with varying shades of grey, and I really enjoy that, how not only does she challenge the rights and wrongs but is willing to take this a step further and examine the good/bad decisions her characters have made.
I really, really love the theme of family in this trilogy. Of course Nick and Alan was very lovely, and my fondness towards darling lying Alan continues to grow. I really enjoyed seeing the sibling interaction between Mae and Jamie, as a lovely contrast to Nick and Alan, and of course on its own right. It’s nice to see siblings in YA novels who don’t hate each other or the stereotypical Annoying Younger Sibling vs. Distant Older Sibling. I mean, they fight, but they love each other, the kind of family bond siblings share, and they always come through for each other no matter what. I'm so glad we got a better handle of Jamie in this book, because while I liked his lines in the first book, I didn't feel like I really got to know him. All that is rectified in this book. I loved how he was gay without making the whole coming out and what not stuff a Big Issue and he gets a love story and everything, and it was just really, really well done and I want him to be happy. I also enjoyed Mae’s interactions with her mother. Mae’s mom is seriously badass. I may have been a little in love. Actually all the women were rather badass in this novel. No helpless damsels as victims here. Sin in particular was my favourite. (Who is gorgeous and a dancer and an older sister and good with knives and incidentally biracial in the Not Making Race A Dominant Part of Her Identity way and will be the narrator of the third book! So excited!)
I also loved the string of makeout scenes in this novel, but that may be influenced by the fact that I am shallow. Also these kissing scenes were just really hot and sizzling in general. Mmmmmm... *coughs* Er, the fight scene was brilliant too! Very intense, especially the one on the bridge. The dialogue here was much smoother and flowed well to boot, and this book made me laugh and gush sniff and broke my heart and brought it back together all at once. I honestly can’t recommend it enough.
The Verdict: If you’ve read the first book and haven’t put the second book on your to-read this 1) there is something very wrong with you and 2) RECTIFY THIS TERRIBLE AND HEINUOUS ERROR OF YOURS NOW. If you’ve haven’t read the first book, read that first, and then run immediately to grab a copy of the second book. Theorectically I suppose you could read the second book without having read the first, since there’s enough context to pick up what’s going on without getting too lost, but it spoils the first book terribly and the experience of reading the first book would be utterly ruined, so I don’t suggest this. This is one of those rare special sequels that not only tops the first book in every way, but makes the first book better by proxy, and you’d be missing out if you skip out on reading covenant. Plus, the US version is all repackaged with a new gorgeous look with some amazingly beautiful cover models, and HOW CAN YOU RESIST THAT. Dark, intense, funny, and heartwrenching, the story will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
Enjoyment: Look, I’ve read this over FOUR TIMES already since having bought it less than a week ago. If this doesn’t make it obvious that this is the book I enjoyed reading the most so far this year, I don’t know what will.
Title and Cover Discussion: EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. EVERYTHING. I’M SO HAPPY THE US COVERS GOT REDESIGNED. I am in love with the font style and colour choice, the dynamic movement of the models, the beautiful blue flames of beauty, the twirling white dress. I am no longer jealous of the UK covers, as this beats the UK version, hands down. I loved it enough to pay full price for the hardcover, which I wasn’t supposed to do since I’m making an attempt to “save money” but I couldn’t let the precious book out of my hands. (I do miss the secret cover of the first US hardback though, as I was kind of hoping for the same thing with the second book, but blue flames make up for everything.) Although now I’m all ~*conflicted*~ since I don’t have matching covers and I want a matching set for this trilogy and don’t know whether or not I should go and collect this trilogy with the UK covers or US, but I am thoroughly off topic by now so I’m just gonna shut up and give this whole package an A