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Pants' Books & Stuff!

Hi there! I imagine you must be wondering what the heck is up with my blog name. The short answer is, Pants has become my internet handle in a lot of places where I hang out (somehow). I mainly read YA and comics, and I also frequently read speculative fiction of pretty much any kind. My other hobbies include watching anime and playing video games. Other random tidbits: I have a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences. I also have an affinity for tea.
The Demon's Covenant - Sarah Rees Brennan
Review originally posted here.

Why I Read It: No, I wasn't crazy about The Demon's Lexicon, but I WANT to. So I read this in the hopes that it got better. It did. Marginally.

I need to stop writing book reviews days and days after reading them, or at least take notes while I read (I don't -- I find it distracting), because I honestly have nothing to say about this book. I know it was more enjoyable to read than the Demon's Lexicon, but I'm not entirely sure why. I guess I'll try to figure that out while I write this.

First off, I want to say that it was much better not being stuck inside Nick's head. I'm not crazy about Mae (more on that in a bit), but Nick's constant brooding and negativity drove me crazy. Yeah, I know, he's a demon so he doesn't HAVE feelings and all his brooding and being cranky is just because he can't help it, but it BUGGED THE SHIZ out of me. So being inside Mae's head, who is much friendlier and less surly was a welcome relief.

So how is Mae in this second installment? Honestly, I found her boring. I understand that it's very intentional that she be an ordinary girl amongst these extraordinary people and circumstances, so that ISN'T what I found boring. I actually liked that she was struggling with what was going on around her; she just wants to be normal and to lead a normal life, but she CAN'T, and a part of her doesn't want to because of her love for the Goblin Market. But I found that the focus of her drama and overall arc was too focused on the romance: is she going to pick Seb, Nick or Alan? And I don't think women (or anybody) should be tethered to one person when they're not in a committed relationship, but running around kissing three boys at the same time? Really? I did like the focus on her love for her brother though, so I'm not saying she's a one-dimensional character who is characterized solely by her relationship to other dudes, because she's not, but she just didn't do it for me.

The other characters are much more fleshed out though thankfully. I liked that Nick actually felt like a threat in this book. I don't know if it's because we watch him from Mae's perspective, but he was actually kind of menacing this time around, and he did this while also being more friendly. How in the hell? But I loved that he was "friends" with Jamie (quotation marks because I'm not sure how much was him just being possessive and faking for Alan's sake). Similarly, Alan was a lot more complex in this book too. Where I found him to be a Too Nice Guy in the first book (though that was kind of shattered by the end), this time around the reader is much more wary of him. But despite the fact that he's manipulative, you really do get the sense that he just wants somebody to love him. I mean, he's protected and cared for Nick since he was four and was rewarded with someone who is incapable of feeling love (though Nick certainly tries, and obviously LIKES Alan and wants his approval -- that whole matter has also been given a layer of complexity.)

So looking at all this is making me think I liked the book more than I initially thought. But what's holding me back from truly loving it? The answer is sadly, for me, the writing. I complained in my review of Lexicon that the writing felt amateurish and had a fanfiction vibe to it and I'm still getting that this time around. The writing has definitely improved from the first book, but I still don't gel with it completely. Some people find the dialogue witty and snappy; I find it corny and it makes me roll my eyes. But even outside of dialogue (because humour is a personal thing), I find the writing is lacking. It's very accessible, but it lacks finesse.

Another thing that's still bugging me is I find the world-building lacking as well. I still don't have a firm grip on the rules of this world, which made me not really care for the big hoo-hah at the end of the book (which I don't want to talk about too much because of spoilers.) I feel like there are too many holes and not enough explained, or the things that ARE explained aren't explained very well.

Final Verdict: This second installment in the series was definitely better than the first, but it still left me wanting more. I don't think I'll ever be a huge fan of this series like so many others seem to be. The characters were more complex and layered this time around, but the writing and world-building still felt lacking. Will I read the last book in the series? Yes; I've gotten this far so I may as well finish. I'm a little saddened to know that the main POV won't be from Alan though -- I was really hoping for that and expecting it. Ah well.