Published by Margaret McElderry Books
Date Published: June 2, 2009
Rating: 3.5 of 5
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.First off, I am going to say that I LOVE Sarah Rees Brennan. She’s funny and strange and bubbly. She makes me smile. And she’s from Ireland. That a bajillion cool points right there. However, as many good things as I’ve heard about this book, I didn’t much take to it. Why? I am really, *really*, not a high fantasy girl. Demons I can handle, but getting into magicians, talismans, demon dances and you’ve lost me.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.
Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.
So, how did I even finish the book? Tenacity. So while I was battling the fantasy part of it, I found myself trying to connect to any one of the four main characters with medium success. Nick, the protagonist, fits the definition of “ass” perfectly. While he’s somewhat snarky and even a little funny, I found him to be a tad too mood-swingy? That’s not a word, but bipolar seemed too strong. Alan I found a bit annoying until about 200ish pages in, then he was okay. Mae was uninteresting. At times she was all “Ra Ra I am Woman strong,” and then other times completely impassive and weak. Jamie was the most likeable, but only because he was constantly afraid of Nick...and that was funny.
And on that mention of the 200 page turn around, I actually started to get intrigued 200 pages in. Finally. A little late really. By the end, I really got the feeling that this was very much the first of a series...that the later books would have a better flow, but the end of this one needed a shock, but failed to deliver one. And on a final note about those last 100 pages, I got SUCH a strong Mortal Instruments vibe from it! Almost like a watered-down plot twist from Cassie Clare’s world. Anyway, I might read the sequel some day, but I’m not pressed to devour it now.
And now comes the usual who I’d recommend this for bit. Honestly? I recommend this to anyone who loves high fantasty, or who loves the The Mortal Instruments series and doesn’t mind reading a slightly similar book.
-Reviewed by Jennifer