Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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So, yeah, kinda decided to take a week off and read books instead of write ’em. I think this weekend, when I’ll be home and not traveling, will be a great time to do the final revision of my WIP. I can just start at the top and go straight through fast and I think that will be a good thing. Plus, it means I have an excuse to stop for a week! And read books! By other people!

So I re-read TROUBLED WATERS by Shinn because I wanted a nice comfortable book. Yep, I still love that book!

Then I finally (FINALLY) read a book by Sarah Rees Brennen, whom I know some of you really love, so her book THE DEMON’S LEXICON had been filtering up toward the top of the TBR pile for a while.

I really enjoyed it! I’m sure that’s not a surprise. Have you all read it? I loved the first paragraph:

“The pipe under the sink was leaking again. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except that Nick kept his favorite sword under the sink.”

Okay, I’m hooked — that’s a great couple of sentences. This is excellent book to think about “starting with action,” in a good way. Also, the dialogue is so snappy and clever. I really admire a writer with a gift for dialogue.

I loved the protagonist. Nick is so interesting! He is an emotional cripple, and of course with his personal history you can see why. Or you think you can. And then you turn out to be wrong. Did anybody see that coming, the thing about Nick? I admit I did not, although Brennen certainly plays fair and you can see she dropped plenty of clues. I hope my saying this is not going to spoil the surprise for anybody who hasn’t read this book. I am trying not to give the important twist at the end away.

I loved all four main characters — I loved Mae and Jamie, I loved Alan and Nick. I really enjoyed have the older and younger brothers both take on the role of protector, in different ways and for different reasons. What a tough job Alan’s had all these years! But then, what a tough job Nick’s had all these years, too. I really feel for them both. Brennen did such clever things with relationships all the way through this book. All the relationships not only feel real, they are genuinely touching. I really appreciated the ending.

Particularly because I also just read a short story collection by Ted Chiang called STORIES OF YOUR LIFE, and frankly a story with an ending like “Hell is the Absence of God” should come with a warning label. (The stories are all very good, though — I would read more short stories if they were all as good as this. Unless they often had endings like “Hell is the Absence of God.” Then, not so much.

Anyway, back to Brennen! I’ve got the second book on my TBR pile and I plan to start it tonight. I just ordered the third one, so I expect it to arrive Friday — just in time for me to read it before starting the final (well, final for now) revision of my own book.

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7 Comments Recent reading

  1. Maureen E

    I’m a big SRB fan, and in my personal opinion the second two knock the first one out of the park. I’m so glad you liked the first one: it’s always fun when people like your favorite books. :)

  2. Mary Beth

    I love LEXICON — the cleverness, and the heart. Glad you enjoyed it too!

    You might enjoy taking a look at some of the short stories Sarah has posted on her website, usually to promote the paperback or hardcover release of her books. They’re lovely! “Nick and Jamie Go to the Movies” is set during the events of DEMON’S COVENANT, but the other five are all actually prequels to LEXICON. Fantastic backstory for minor characters (sometimes extremely minor!) She also does some great book and movie parodies. (I’m particularly fond of “Peter the Magnificent and Caspian the Super-Fine”.)

    And I am so excited to hear that your own WIP is in the final stages of revision. When do we get to hear more about it?

  3. Rachel

    Thanks for the link! Short stories I always DO enjoy are those linked to novels.

    My own WIP — well, it may be awhile before I’m very forthcoming about it. First it needs to go back and forth between me and my agent, then I want my Knopf editor to commit to taking it before I say anything firm about it. Don’t hold your breath! She is a great editor, but she does not turn things around fast.

  4. Rachel

    I’m really happy with the second one so far. I think Brennen was clever to switch main characters; Mae is an excellent protagonist and I don’t think Nick would have carried a second book nearly as well as he carried the first. But I LOVED his pov during the first book!

  5. Michelle

    I really enjoyed the series, I didn’t see the twist coming either. I liked the first one the best, but the second book was good. I didn’t enjoy the last book as much. Not to be spoilerish, but some of Jamie’s actions in book 3 really irked me.

    Have you read Elizabeth Pope’s The Sherwood Ring? It is excellent.

  6. Mary Beth

    Brennan has got a LOT of grief for switching protagonists for all three books, but I actually quite liked it — although I think it forces her to have her protagonist do a lot of overhearing important conversations in the third book. I adored Nick’s POV but ended up liking Mae best. I also really like how good she is at getting us inside a character’s head, then switching to somebody else’s point of view and letting us see exactly how messed up and scary this person is from the outside.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed on your WIP, then, instead of holding my breath. :)

  7. Rachel

    This doesn’t surprise me a bit. Sharon Shinn said she also caught a LOT of flack for switching protagonists in her Angel series, and again for her 13 Houses series. Come to think of it, I’ve certainly had some protests about that for the Griffin Mage trilogy. Switching pov protagonists is just something a lot of readers hate.

    Well, tough. *I* like switching pov protagonists — and in Brennen’s trilogy, I agree it added a lot to see Nick from other protagonists’ eyes. I didn’t realize just how creepy he was till I saw him from Mae’s perspective!

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