From here on in, there will be Spoilers for both books in the Demon's Lexicon Series.
Ahhhhhh *runs around*
eta: ok out of fear of accidentally spoiling people with multiple cut tags on my giveaway post, I am relocating my book squee here. So: SPOILERS AHEAD. I'm not kidding, I spoil everything so be warned, only click this cut if you've read everything, etc.
(Seriously spoilers ahead)
STUFF I LOVED, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER BC MY THOUGHTS ARE STILL A COMPLETE HAPPY SLOPPY ECSTATIC MESS:
- MAE MAE MAE
- JAMIE JAMIE JAMIE. JAMIE. IS. MY. FAVORITE.
- Mae talking to inanimate objects and almost walking into things and trying to be all ~suave~ climbing over walls and probably failing, lol, I related to her so hard in this book.
- ANNABEL. HOLY CRAP I WANTED MORE OF THEIR FAMILY AND I GOT IT. JAMIE'S ADORING GAZE WHEN HIS MUM TOTALLY BASICALLY RESCUED HIM. HER BADASSED MOMENTS OF GLORY, ALL BAZILLION OF THEM. GOLF CLUBS. omfg love :(((((
- the fact that in the end, the whole plan to save everyone was completely put into place, organized, galvanized, and executed by TWO KICKASS GIRLS, HELLO.
- And that they didn't ultimately save the day, but they came super, super-close.
- the fact that, basically, the FATE OF THE WORLD now rests in the hands of one amazing, super-powerful, incredible, heartbreaking pair of siblings--one of whom is a GIRL, the other of whom is GAY.
- the fact that I totally freaking wanted Gerald to SEDUCE EVERYONE EVERYWHERE, and it PRETTY MUCH HAPPENED. GERALD *_* omfg you are so evil and hot and I totally called Jamie's wicked hot heartbreaking crush on you.
- Sin's giving Mae the flowers, saving Mae a dance. Ahhhhhh, Mae/Sin for life.
- Nick calling Mae the war leader. *flails all over the place*
- the fact that "kill them all" being part of The Plan has been bandied about since early on in book one, but in all seriousness, it continues to be an active underlying subtext to all their Plans ever. The fact that Mae knows that, never glosses over it, steps up to the challenge of having to deal with that.
- Annabel. *cries and cries*
- omfg family in this book. I cannot even stress enough how much I love SRB's version of family--her belief in the overwehelming strength of family bonds and what they can do, what they can save you from. I knew that about her from the start, and I went into this book expecting it, but she still managed to undermine my expectations for how much each of the families in this book could endure--Nick & Alan's family, the family of the Goblin Market, the Crawfords--and every time she reaffirms my faith in the power and love of family and friendship. And it's so wonderful. :( :( :(
(I should note that, however unintentionally, the narrative equates Seb's fake family, with the fake, coerced, and manipulative bonds that the Obsidian Circle represented, to actual foster families. This is potentially problematic because real foster families aren't all fake, and often have far stronger bonds than real family connections do. However, that thread is a very minor one, and SRB does a good job at subverting it in that, at least through Jamie's eyes, Gerald's "family" does look real, and Gerald's efforts to protect his magicians do come across as sincere and earnest, up to a point.)
- spoiler roundup: Called Jamie crushing on Gerald on the beginning. Called Seb working for the circle from the beginning. Called Gerald's second mark being a mimicry of a demon's mark, and called Alan having some kind of surprise anti-plan to not!betray Nick. Everything else? Totally unprepared for. Totally unprepared for the SHOCKER ART PORTFOLIO STALKER REVEAL, well-played, Sarah Rees Brennan, well-played. Totally unprepared for Nick to heal Alan omfg and for Gerald to unheal him again, Ger, you bastard. (Do you think Jamie calls him Ger when they -- um, sorry, got ahead of myself there.) Totally unprepared for Mae realizing that Alan was using her, UGH ALAN. Totally didn't see the Merris bodysharing thing coming, though looking back of course it was obvious. And seriously, what kind of skills at persuasion must Alan have for him to basically TALK A WOMAN INTO SHARING HER BODY WITH A DEMON? even when the other option is hideously painful slow death, DEMON-SHARING. not exactly every person's first alternative to cancer.
- Totally unprepared for Jamie to say "okay." oh my god, I'm still not fully healed. I love/hate/love him for that. Oh, JAMIE, MY JAMIE.
- loved loved loved the symmetry of Alan being willing to take the mark in place of someone else in both books.
- loved loved loved the symmetry and parallelism overall--of Jamie & Mae taking turns in both books to save each other; Nick ending up in the demon's circle at the climaxes of both books, first by trickery and second by choice; each of the narrative characters losing their mothers to the Obsidian/Aventurine Circles in succession; Arthur's plan devolving in the end to "join me" while Gerald's plan is "join me" all along, and both plans ultimately failing; so many tiny things--the way Mae danced with Sin compared to the way she danced for Alan, the scenes between Liannan/Alan and Liannan/Nick, the parallel between what Mae sees in Nick and what Jamie sees in Gerald, the contrasts between the intimacy Jamie and Mae have and the intimacy Nick and Alan don't, the continuing parallels between Nick and Jamie & the continuing parallels between Alan and Mae, the parallels between Jamie and Seb, between Mae and Sin.
- I WAS LOOKING FOR THE ZOMBIE BOYFRIEND T-SHIRT AND I DID NOT FIND IT, WAS IT IN THERE? CLEARLY THIS MEANS I NEED TO REREAD THE BOOK IMMEDIATELY
- SWORDFIGHTS on the FREAKING MILLENNIUM BRIDGE, ahhhh
- Nick, Nick, Nick. I loved so much that Nick did exactly what I thought he would when faced with Alan's betrayal--decide that Alan betraying him would be only natural, that it would be nothing compared to Alan leaving him. I loved that Nick is finding the words he needs, more and more often. I loved that when he says "I hate you" what he really means is "I love you." I love that Mae understands that about him, instinctively better than Alan does, because she's still objective enough to see what Alan can't. But Alan, too, is learning. I love how completely Nick continued to simultaneously break my heart and reaffirm my faith in him in this book. They all did, but Nick & the Crawford Family, as an entity, were the ones who did it most.
- The Crawford Family, as an entity. I don't actually have the words for how much I loved all three of them as a connected and unified whole :((((((((((((((((
- given all the things that we learn about Alan in this book, I'm not so sure that I think his taking of the mark was the noble selfless act Mae thinks it is. I think maybe there's a part of Alan that--I know, I know, this is blasphemy to so many Alan fans, I'm sorry--has Munchausen Syndrome-ish habit of doing things that further people's attention to his own suffering, because it means that for once, the people in his life are motivated to actively care for him, and not the reverse. How fucked up it is that you want love so badly that you genuinely think you have to routinely risk your own life just to get people to notice you, like you, care for you, love you?
- Like one of the reviewers on the amazing BookSmugglers review of TDC, I would love it if Sin could be the person to provide that unconditional love for Alan, but mostly, I just want Alan to love himself enough, and believe in other people enough, that he stops throwing himself into the path of certain death because he thinks that's the only way people will ever care for him. :(
- which brings me to: SHIPPING. Please do not talk to me about how you ship Jamie/Seb after this book because I will not like you. (This is not actually the truth; I will always like you for reading this book. I will just be saddened, because) Seb is a CREEPY STALKER BOY who LIED & EMOTIONALLY MANIPULATED BOTH CRAWFORDS while bullying one of them. He does not get my wonderful beautiful amazing Jamie, okay, no matter how many pretty creepy stalker pictures he might draw.
- LET ME JUST REPEAT, HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS ON JAMIE/SEB: >:[!!!!!!!!!!
- At the end of book 1 I was tentatively shipping Alan/Mae but when I reread recently, that pretty much was destroyed along with all my confidence in Alan to NOT BE PSYCHOTIC. So I am undoubtedly splitting with a lot of fans of the series when I say that Covenant was the deal-breaker for me regarding Alan. The boy is fucked up. I love him and I believe in him to always do what he does out of love, but holy mother of god, always doing things out of love FUCKS YOU UP GOOD.
- Upon rereading, I found to my surprise that I was shipping Nick/Jamie a lot more than I expected. I also half-heartedly shipped Jamie/Gerald as well before reading this book, SO I WAS COMPLETELY DOWN WITH JAMIE'S CRUSH. But I also was made very happy by how much room there was in this book for me to continue enthusiastically shipping Nick/Jamie, as well as Sin/Mae, SO MUCH SHIPPING OF SIN/MAE, at one point before the battle I actually thought they were going to kiss and I almost died of joy. NEXT BOOK, CYNTHIA. AND MISS MAE, DON'T THINK I DIDN'T NOTICE HOW YOU WERE DRAWN TO LIANNAN'S LIPS IN THAT ONE SCENE.
- but mostly, i don't think i ship any of them. Like, I am totally down with Mae/Nick, HOW HOT WAS THAT MAKEOUT SCENE ON THE ROOF IN THE RAIN, SOAKING WET CLOTHES REMOVAL, GUH, HOTTEST EVER. but what i want most of all is for all of them to keep on fighting for each other, believing in each other no matter what the temptation to think otherwise, believing in themselves and believing in family.
- and they did that so so beautifully in this book. I just need to say it again, because the amount of love and passion in this series makes these books so much richer than nearly everything else I'm reading in YA fantasy. So often I read books that just don't have love in them--and I think it's partially because the writers think they need to attain some kind of ironically detached alienated voice in order to appeal to "real" teens, and I think that is bullshit. There is nothing ironic or distanced about Mae's narration, except where logistics and her own lack of a) actual magical power and b) inability to be in the 12 places at once where pieces of the plot are happening at any given time puts her. She is all earnestness, all love, all fire and determination to save each of the boys she loves. I think it's absolutely incredible how much passion, faith, love, and belief was in the first book despite the difficulty of Nick's emotional unavailability. But the second book is infused with all of those things, and even more, infused with Mae's complete confidence in the power of those things to win out in the end. And imo that puts Covenant so far ahead of all the other YA series I've read lately. It's actively, viciously, horribly, beautifully about LOVE, and it's amazing. :(
- and speaking of Mae's confidence. She was so wonderful in this book. So confident and assured, and I loved so much that even when she did potentially embarrassing things like appear before her crush in a dorky nightshirt, or get caught snogging by her brother, or have dangerous interactions with plant life, she was always, 100% determined to be herself, to be as unafraid as she could be, as prepared as she could be, as involved as she could be. I loved so much that she realized where her strengths were and she went with them, that she didn't need to become some kind of cliched sword-wielding magic-throwing Badass Heroine Prototype to be effective, to contribute to the war, to save them all: she was phenomenal just by being her ordinary, laidback, unimpressive self.
- i loved that literally her pursuit of friendship with Sin was the catalyst for the entire unification of the goblin market & the Ryves/Crawfords. (Ryves-Crawfords would make a great hyphenated-name; I hereby declare them ALL MARRIED FOREVER <333333333333). I loved that we saw her HAVING A SOCIAL LIFE, having FRIENDS. I love that there were consequences for traipsing off to London for her, I loved that she took the rap for Jamie because that is such a big sister thing to do, I loved that her discovery that Jamie was lying to her made her withhold things from him, too, because that's also such a big sister thing to do. I loved the "I know you're mad at me, but I love you," conversation, because it broke my heart in the best way. Mae is the best, her heart is so pure and her determination to do whatever she can to save the people she loves is so steadfast and bright and effective. She unites people, she loves people, she never gives up on them, and her belief and faith in them takes root and makes them all stronger. She is basically very close to being my ideal YA heroine. I think she is the greatest.
- I read a review by themadpoker earlier today that said "if this is not the book that converts all of fandom on to Mae I will be shocked indeed." I agree. I have heard so many inexplicable criticisms of Mae since last year, because I basically stalk all Sarah's reviews, right, and I've read all kinds of crappy things that people have had to say about Mae: that she's too "sassy," too shy, too forward, too removed, too pink-haired (seriously, I've heard "I didn't like that she had pink hair" so many freaking times, are you people joking, how is that a real criticism), too invested, too detached, too eager to be involved, too uninvolved, too ~special~, not special enough. So, I'm asking honestly, because I love this character: if you think you have a real criticism of her based on her actions and her decisions and motivations, please let me know, because I'd really, really love to have a discussion about her where we talk about her actual character, and not the color of her hair or the obnoxiousness of her t-shirts.
- jamie, jamie, jamie. i laughed SO HARD at basically everything he said, even through my tears of joy near the end--the way the battle was written was amazing, with Jamie & Mae and Nick all trading quips while they fought, and I was basically full of joy and love while also LAUGHING OUT LOUD the entire time--his nervous laughter; how it's slowly growing less and less his first form of defense and deflection as he learns to be himself and believe in his own abilities, and his own capacity to change the future of magic as we know it. Oh, Jamie, my heart. His completely sober response to Seb about why he hated him broke my heart. His obliviousness to Seb's crush (though not to Seb's sexuality) broke my heart. His completely valid reasons for loving Gerald despite everything broke my heart. His declaration to Mae about how he watched Seb say yes and yes and yes until it led to murder broke my heart. The way he and Mae held hands, the way he let go and clung to her. All of it broke my heart. JAMIE, YOU ARE MY FAVORITE, ILU SO MUCH. :((((((
- actually, my favorite thing of all are CRAWFORDS, TOGETHER FOREVER. CRAWFORDS, NO ONE IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, STICK TO EACH OTHER, STAY SIBLINGS FOREVER, OKAY? OKAY. :(((((((((((((((((
- i like, sobbed hysterically through this entire post. god. I loved it so fucking much. i wish i had WORDS. i have left EIGHT TRILLION THINGS THAT I LOVED OUT OF THIS POST. ASK ME ABOUT THINGS I MISSED IN COMMENTS AND I WILL TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVED THEM. (oh but please be sure if you do to mark your comment as a spoiler.)
- OH ALSO. SURPRISE ZOMBIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- okay stopping now. i think. maybe.
eta: nope, thought of some more, of course:
- THE CRAWFORD SIBLINGS' T-SHIRT SOLIDARITY. Mae wearing her 'lock up your sons' t-shirt and the look on Jamie's face when he saw it. CRAWFORDS FOREVER. :(((((((( Also, Jamie's open confidence, the blatant contrast between his attitude towards his sexual orientation and his attitude about his magic, the fear that he could actually harm someone, because he could--I love that this book blatantly says that being gay doesn't harm anyone. It shouldn't have to say it, but I'm so full of joy that it does.
- The irony of Annabel's talking about how she blamed herself for both of her kids being messed up, when we can tell that next to virtually everyone else they know, they're the only two people who have themselves and their identities more or less figured out: they know who they are. Jamie gazing at his mom in adoration, I KNOW I MENTIONED THAT ALREADY BUT I NEED TO SAY IT AGAIN. ANNABEL. <33333333333
- NICK GIVING JAMIE HIS MAGIC KNIFE :((((((((((((( oh, nick, ilu.
- Also I forgot to mention all *three* of our narrators losing their mothers, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT, STORY??? I haven't mentioned Sin enough in this post so I will just say I thought she was amazing, beautiful and practical and graceful/gracious--and remained all of those things despite basically every crappy thing in the world happening to her all at once. D: D: D: I love that Mae ceased thinking of her as some mysterious ideal to aspire to when they became friends--that in the end she didn't want to be Sin, but to know her and stay close to her world, just as herself.
- also also there is a SCARY AMOUNT OF PLANNING GOING ON IN THESE BOOKS. who picks up a baby and gives him a semi-demon's mark just in case he might need it to escape from a band of bloodthirsty market attendees one day? Gerald, Merris, Alan, Mae, Sin, Jamie--all of you master planners are more than a little terrifying, I just want to put that out there. And how much did I love that "Sounds like a plan" was the last line? A lot. A lot. In the middle of all that complexity and scheming, the fact that Nick's "I was just thinking I could kill someone" approach is kind of the less scary option is a brilliant touch.
Okay, DONE FOR REAL NOW (i may totally go through and add more later on.)
OKAY, SO. HAVE YOU READ IT? SPOIL MEEEEE.