Sunday, 19 June 2011

Review: The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE DEMON’S SURRENDER, AND THE TWO PRECEEDING BOOKS IN THE TRILOGY. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE READ THEM.

The Goblin Market has always been the centre of Sin's world. She's a dancer and a performer, secure in her place. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin's place is in danger. Keeping secrets from the market she loves, struggling with a friend who has become a rival, Sin is thrown together with the Ryves brothers, Nick and Alan - whom she's always despised. But Alan has been marked by a magician, to be tortured as the magician pleases, and as Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see both brothers in a new light. But how far will brother go to save brother - and what will it cost them all?

There is going to be an awful lot of me loving everything in this review – because I really did love everything. Which in itself is impressive because I can be incredibly picky about books.

I loved the first two books in this trilogy, I love the dynamics, the characters, the way that Sarah Rees Brennan plays with family and all the different facets of love and relationships. I love that she wasn’t afraid to mix it up and that each book has a different narrator at its core.
And I love that with each new narrator you see different sides to the other characters. You notice different things, you realize different things, and it makes everything seem so much more real.

For example book two is narrated by Mae, and I loved Mae, but along comes Sin in book three who likes but also doesn’t like Mae, and I immediately rushed to Sin’s side and disliked Mae. I then got a grip and went back to liking Mae, but it’s impressive that simply with another turn of voice Sarah Rees Brennan can completely change your view of a character.

I’m going to throw out a warning here and now that you are going to need a box of tissues and large quantities of chocolate to get through this in one piece. The first two books had darkness in them, but they were nothing in comparison to the darkest places she takes you in this book. It felt like all the hope was being drained from the world. That everything was a trap set up by someone who had thought ahead three steps more than you could, and there was no way that anyone was going to emerge from this in one piece.
I cried like a small child in most of the scenes between Sin and Alan. I wanted to throw things, I wanted to howl, I wanted to devour the rest of the book because even at the darkest most awful moments I tried to cling on to the idea that there had to be some hope somewhere. That not everyone was going to end up dead or miserable for all eternity.

One of the main things I love about Sarah Rees Brennan’s writing is that she isn’t afraid to go there – to do the horribly upsetting things that make us scream and howl and tear our hair out with the stress (in fact I think she thrives on it) – that she can do all these things, but still leave you with a sliver of hope, and still leave you with the idea that even though bad things happen, we might be strong enough to overcome them.

I love her wit – seriously the dialogue goes from heart breaking to hysterical so smoothly it’s incredible. I love watching the characters grow and change, and as I said earlier, I love that each character narration offers us new sides, new ideas about the people we thought we knew and understood, and prods us into realizing we never really understood them at all. People are complex, and not only does she get that, she puts it down on paper so eloquently it makes me want to cry.

I was so excited to see more of Sin – she hasn’t featured too heavily before, so it was great to get to know a new character, to see how she interacts, and how she views the people around her. And again, this is another fabulous thing, that I love each of the narrators despite their flaws, in fact probably because of them, and because of their strengths too, and because of how much each of them grow throughout.

Every character made me gasp at some point or another – because they all did things that were so completely ‘I can’t believe you just did that!’ and it’s even better because you’re with Sin, so you only know about the schemes and plans that she knows about, and everything else you’re finding out about together. And some feel like a betrayal, and some filled me with hope. And some just made me want to cry.

The only thing I wish I could have had more of? More Jamie. I adored him in book two, and I wished there was more of him here. So as well as a Jamie book, I’d also like an Alan book. Even though I know there won’t be, I can still wish…

Because despite the fact that this tale is over, I can well imagine the things they might get up to next, because this is by no means the end for all of them. And that in itself is a great thing – that the characters keep living and breathing beyond the last page when you’ve put the book down. It feels as though they’ve truly existed, and for a little while they let you in to watch their lives. And I feel so privileged that they did and we were allowed to read it.

So thank you Sarah Rees Brennan, for providing one of one my all time favourite series of books. I want to go back again and again and re-read them to see all the things I missed the first time. To see how you’ve woven them together, and how that affects my views the next time round. I want to re-read them just for the pleasure of immersing myself in that world again.
And then I’ll try to wait patiently until her new series is released…

1 comment:

  1. The Demon's Surrender is the third and final book in the Demon's Lexicon Series. I have been waiting for this book for what feels like forever! I am always a little nervous when a series I love comes to and end.

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