The Demon’s Surrender

by Sarah Rees Brennan

ages: 14+

First sentence: “Magic was like a special guest in Sin’s life.”

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There are many things I enjoy about this trilogy (the other two being The Demon’s Lexicon and The Demon’s Covenant): there’s action, there’s romance, there’s magic. It’s a grand package. But the think I think I most enjoy is that every book is written from a different point of view, something which ramps up the tension, and makes even the old information seem fresh.

Take the opening chapter of this book, for instance. It takes us back to a scene that happened in the first book (something which I was grateful for, actually, since my notorious bad memory and I have a hard time remembering details when it’s been a while since I’ve read this book). But it didn’t seem repetitive or even old because Brennan told the scene from the perspective of Goblin Market dancer, and supposed new leader, Sin.

This whole story, with its inevitable climax was told from Sin’s perspective, and that was the absolute right way to tell it. Though it’s not entirely her story, as evidenced by the cover: it’s also very much Alan’s story as well. I’ve come to realize over the course of the trilogy that it’s a complex, messy book: there’s no simple black and white story here. This is something which, at the beginning of every book, I struggle with: I want to trust characters, and there really isn’t anyone to trust. There is a greater good overarching everything, but getting there is in no way simple. I came to realize that, in the end, it’s lust for power, greed, and using people for personal gain (whether that’s just possession or killing) that is the real “bad guy.” Which means there’s a moral to the story, but it’s not one that’s heavy handed or even blatantly obvious. Both marks of excellent storytelling.

That said, there are some delicious characters to hate, some very intense moments, and Brennan knows how to write swoon-worthy romance (and yet not let it take over the book). All of which makes this trilogy worth reading.

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