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The Demon's Lexicon
By Sarah Rees Brennan

Discussed October 2011

Buy from Amazon.com

Characters

  • Our heroes:
    • Nick Ryves
    • Alan Ryves
    • Mae Crawford
    • Jamie Crawford
  • Their families:
    • Olivia
    • Natasha Walsh
    • Marie Walsh (d.)
    • Daniel Ryves (d.)
  • The Goblin Market:
    • Merris Cromwell
    • Cynthia "Sin" Davies
    • Lydie Davies
    • Phyllis
  • The Obsidian Circle:
    • Black Arthur
    • Gerald
    • Laura
    • Rufus
    • Mark
  • The demons:
    • Anzu
    • Liannan

Questions

  1. Did you finish the book? Have you read the sequels?
  2. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  3. As a narrator, Nick has a number of limitations. Did you find his perspective intriguing, off-putting, or something else entirely? How would the book have been different if told from one of the other protagonists' points of view?
  4. At what point in the book did you pick up that Nick was a demon? At what point did you figure out what Alan's plan was? When did you realize Jamie was a magician? Did you feel the exposition was handled smoothly and fairly? Would you have preferred more or less foreshadowing?
  5. Alan is presented as the "good" Ryves brother, the one with the empathy and humanity Nick lacks. He's also the one planning on unleashing an unconstrained demon on the world. Did you find Alan a sympathetic character? Are his motives and actions understandable?
  6. There is LGBT material in this book, but it is very muted. Did you pick up on which characters are gay? How did you feel about how they were presented?
  7. Nick, who never interacts with Olivia, believes she is crazy, but Mae and Alan both have apparently normal (off-screen) conversations with her. Do you agree with Nick's assessment? Do you believe Brennan intended to present it as fact, or was she deliberately making use of an unreliable narrator?
  8. The magicians in Demon's Lexicon kill others for power--but they're still human, and we're told the drive to use magic is hereditary and to some extent inescapable. Meanwhile, the Ryves brothers are unapologetic about torturing and killing them. Do you consider the Ryves and Crawfords "good guys," or do you see shades of grey? Do you think the magicians could be redeemed?
  9. How did you feel about the book's romantic sideplots (Mae/Nick, Mae/Alan)? Would you have preferred more or less romance? Did you find it integrated well with the main plot?
  10. Brennan gives Nick many traits that match real-life mental illnesses--dyslexia, childhood mutism, sociopathy. It's later revealed that these traits indicate that he's not human. Some dyslexic readers have found this problematic. Are you comfortable with it?
  11. Do you buy Nick's choice to return to his human body at the end? Do you feel it's supported by his character development throughout the book? Did you generally find his character development consistent (and convincingly non-human)?

For further reading:

In addition to the two books following The Demon's Lexicon, Brennan has written a number of short stories and made them available free online. Ones set before The Demon's Lexicon that do not spoil later books include:

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