Daydream Sanctuary Features

Monday, December 20, 2010

Demon's Lexicon #1: Please Remove the Angst From the Brotherly Love Fanservice

by Sarah Rees Brennan
Nick: Demons and Magicians are a pain. I just want to live a normal life with my brother, Alan.
Mae: My brother was marked by a demon! Please help him!
Nick: Who cares....
Alan: I'll help you! I don't care if I'll also be in trouble in doing so!

RATING: B- (PRETTY GOOD! But it could have been better!)
FAVORITISM: 3 Hearts ---> LIKE

The novel's pretty good actually.... but it's just too angsty for my tastes.

I had been familiar with the author before I started reading any of her books because I've heard that she had been a fanfiction writer for the anime/manga Fullmetal Alchemist (I'm quite a big fan of it). Like FMA, there's quite a lot of brotherly love moments in this novel... and they have been really sweet~ I firmly believe that the brotherly love in this Demon's Lexicon is no doubt inspired by the brothers in FMA. So seeing the brothers drawn in FMA style didn't feel awkward to me:

Arakawa-sensei drew the Japanese version of this novel... cool!!!!

But a novel that is somewhat inspired be something awesome doesn't necessarily mean that it'd be awesome as well. I had enjoyed reading it at first, but as I read more... the more annoyed I get with it. Finishing it had become a chore.

Here are some of the reasons why reading it had become so painful:
  • It's freakin' repetitive.
    For some reason the novel loves to mention that Alan never misses, or that Nick isn't good in expressing feelings, or that Alan knows Nick best, and so forth as many times as possible. Quit emphasizing too much on how cool and interesting the main characters are. It's sickening.
  • There's the stupid plot convenience.
    One of the supporting characters had a cool ability but he remained quiet about it and let himself be vulnerable to danger until there are no other options except for him to do something extraordinary. Nice.
  • An enemy didn't kill two supporting characters for the sake of keeping all the protagonists alive and also for the sake of using those supporting characters for the sequel's plot. Though with the enemy's wit, no matter how you look at it it would've been better if he had killed them or kidnapped them at least. Great.
  • The characters are okay but.... it's hard to like them.
    Jamie wasn't not as weak as he seems... but he hasn't really been that useful. Mae is brave and doesn't like to do nothing... but her existence was used for the annoying love triangle. Alan is a cool and nice guy... but he's also a stupid martyr. Nick is talented and wicked... but he's the biggest problem in the novel (not to mention, most annoying as well).
    In other words, the characters are decent comparing to their stereotypes; however, their undesirable qualities have been to the extremes that it has been quite difficult to appreciate them fully.
  • There's too much Nick.
    It's even harder to appreciate the other characters when most of the focus is centered on the leading character. Of course the leading character gets most of the spotlight, but neglecting about the others for his sake sucks. I'm not saying that the other characters didn't get a moment to shine at all, but in terms of development, they all lack of it while Nick is overdeveloped. Seeing too much Nick is nauseating... especially that he's the one who causes the most headaches to me.
  • I don't get why the author is trying so hard to make Nick as "emotionless" as possible.
    It has been emphasized so much that Nick doesn't understand emotions at all... when in fact he's the most emotional character throughout the novel. Yes, he's not very good in expressing positive emotions.... but I could no longer count how many times he felt angry, hurt, lonely, jealous, depressed, and anxious.... so with such feelings, how the hell did he become someone not able to feel emotions?! Ugh, he's so freakin' angsty.
Nevertheless, the novel also had great stuff:
  • The humor was awesome.
    The jokes here are more of subtle or dark... and most of the time witty. They had been really amusing~
  • The plot twists were good.
    Though many of the twists were only revealed only around the last few chapters, it had been an interesting surprise. They made sense and were pretty cool~
  • It had great story concept.
    The novel had its own ideas on the nature of demons and magicians... also on how rituals are performed and why some things happen. I find it good that it had no intention to make evil creatures become different from what they really are (like making nice demons) and it had also shown that when humans use dark magic for something evil... it can't ever be something pretty.
I think this novel will make a good movie adaptation (if ever it'll have one, and will be under the hands of a good staff and played by a good cast). It had a lot of cool action scenes and events like the dance ritual would've been really wonderful to see on screen. The story and the characters aren't really what's wrong in this... just the storytelling and the characterization. Just fix those, and the movie version would be awesome~

Though I liked the story in this novel, I don't think I could suffer from headaches like this one gave me all over again. So nope, I won't bother to read the sequel anymore unless someone changes my mind. But that doesn't mean I don't recommend it at all. It hadn't been my thing, but I'm pretty sure that many others would be appreciating this since it's actually a very good supernatural-action series~
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