In two worlds, there is nothing I love half as much as you.
In modern-day England, brothers Nick and Alan try to live a normal life. They get jobs, Nick goes to school (at Alan's insistence), Alan has crushes on girls (and girls have crushes on Nick).Of course, Nick starts right off rescuing his favorite sword from under the sink (and don't think he won't use it), Alan could shoot you before you realized that sweet, smiling guy even knew what a gun was, they've got to watch out for mad Mum in the attic, and they're forced to pack up and move every time a magician or demon bursts into their house. Which is once every couple of months. At best.Enter Jamie and Mae, a brother-sister duo who witness the latest demonic intrusion and need Nick and Alan's help: Jamie's been marked by a demon, a mark that lets a demon trace, hurt, and eventually possess him, leaving nothing of him behind. Alan wants to help them; Nick wants them out of his house. Naturally, brotherly arguments ensue.Between running from, beating up, capturing, killing, and attempting to outmaneuver scheming magicians, of course.The Demon's Lexicon is written by debut author Sarah Rees Brennan. It's the first in a trilogy. The second, The Demon's Covenant, was released in May 2010, and the third, The Demon's Surrender, was released in June 2011.
And I Must Scream: Being possessed by a demon is this. Imagine being trapped in your body, unable to speak, as a foreign presence invades you and takes over your autonomy. First there's the fighting, the refusal to capitulate, and the demons love that. They respond with torture, every form of mental and emotional and not-quite-physical pain, and you can't even cry out because you have no voice any longer. Then you beg, you plead, for a reprieve from the pain, for your soul back, but demons have no empathy to be moved by human grief. The only thing left is to strike a bargain, but there's no bargain you can make that the demon won't win.
Anti-Hero - Nick. Will he wantonly slaughter evil magicians to save your brother? Yes. But only because Alan asked him to.
Ascended Extra: Sin goes from being in a single scene in the first book, to being a minor character in the second, to being the point of view character in the third.
Bad Dreams - A side-effect of a second-tier mark, in which the demons let you know that they're coming for you.
Mae starts to get them in The Demon's Covenant and eventually realizes that it's the demon Anzu trying to scare her out.
Bedlam House: The House of Mezentius, an institution for restraining demons possessing humans until they wear down the human body and it dies. Relatives of the possessed pay Mezentius House large sums of money for their upkeep and even more for the chance to spend their loved one’s final days with them.
Covers Always Lie: Book one has Nick on the cover, which makes sense as he’s the narrator and protagonist. But then book two has Sin, whose POV book is the third, and book three has Alan on the cover, who doesn’t even get his own point of view narration. Poor Mae.
One edition of the second book, however, does have Mae on the cover.
Creepy Crows - Crop up in the kitchen fairly early on, as demon-controlled attackers.
Cycle of Revenge: Jamie argues it must be broken to change how magicians and non-magicians interact, and makes Mae promise not to exact any further revenge for their mother’s murder.
Foreshadowing: The first book is chock full of hints that Nick is a demon. He has difficulty speaking and even more difficulty reading; his impulses are towards violence and he has a hard time understanding other people's emotions, much less his own; crossing running water sends him into violent fits; and his talisman burns him and feels like a collar.
Good Is Not Nice: The Goblin Market is the only resource people victimized by demon’s and magicians have, so why not turn a profit?
Guns Are Worthless: They only work sometimes, if a magician isn’t enchanted to protect against bullets. Because of the superiority complex most magicians have, many don’t bother.
Has Two Mommies - Matthias the piper. Mentioned very briefly when he arrives with them to tour the Goblin Market at the end of The Demon's Surrender.
Hates Being Touched - Nick. Attempts at familiarity (unless you're Alan) will probably end with a knife in the offending body part.
Hazy Feel Turn: Sin spends much of The Demon's Surrender in the dark on the others' plans, and unsure whether she can trust the others at varying points due to various revelations.
He Who Must Not Be Heard: Demons possessing human bodies are incapable of speech, partly because they have no concept of language and partly because the body is fighting the possession in the only way it can.
Humanoid Abomination: Some demons are fond of assuming human-like form, with just enough minute differences to make the effect disturbing rather than comforting. Liannan, for instance, is unspeakably beautiful but has razor teeth and no eyelashes.
Humans Are Bastards: The magicians’ justification for why they treat non-magicians as no better than livestock: most of them were rejected or abused by their family when their powers became known.
I Am What I Am: Jamie's character arc involves coming to terms with being a magician.
I Know Your True Name: To exorcize a demon is to name it and command it. Conventional belief holds that you must know a demon's true name, but demons don't have true names; they respond to them because humans believe them to be true.
Incest Is Relative: In a deleted scene revealed during the TDS launch chat, Anzu kisses Nick while in his brother Alan's body. It's noteworthy that demons don't care for taboos like incest and probably can't differentiate between sexual and platonic feelings.
Kiss of Death - Olivia snuggles up to Black Arthur for a kiss, then sets herself on fire while still holding on to him. Subverted that this doesn't kill him straight off - his son does that a few minutes later.
Knife Nut - Nick. Another character points out that he carries the equivalent of a restaurant's cutlery drawer on him at all times. Sin embodies this trope, as well.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: The shock of being thrust into a developing fetus's undeveloped mind wiped Nick's memories of his life before.
“I’m not scared of being hurt. I’m scared of what he’ll do. He could tear himself apart or tear the world apart, and next to those two choices what happens to me doesn’t matter at all.”
Love Redeems: Nick's love for Alan, and eventually for Mae and Jamie, is precisely what makes him an Anti-Hero rather than outright villainous in the first place. And it's their love that allowed Nick to slowly begin to learn how to be human.
Magic Dance: Dancing up a demon. Sin is the best dancer at the Market.
Magic Music: There are pied pipers as well as magicians, and they feed their magic off the vitality of people responding to their music.
Mr. Fanservice: Nick spends an awful lot of time being shirtless and good-looking.
Multilayer Façade: Sin as three primary identities she uses for different situations: Sin, the alluring and exotic dancer of the Goblin Market; Thia, the darling Market princess who grew up among them and is loved by all; and Cynthia, the quiet, reserved schoolgirl who certainly wouldn't be hiding anything you need to examine more closely.
Add in Black Arthur's attacks and Daniel Ryves, in baby Nick's bedroom, with an enchanted knife...this positively abounds.
Our Demons Are Different: Incomprehensible supernatural entities from a parallel universe that’s a cold, bleak wasteland. They only seek the warmth and vitality of the human world, but view humans themselves as insects. They have no spoken or written language and while it’s indicated that they do feel emotion, their understanding of emotion is vastly different from how humans understand them.
Parental Abandonment - Nick and Alan's parents aren't exactly around. Their dad's dead and their mum's mad, to start with. Well, Alan's dad and Nick's mum, respectively. Alan's mum is also dead and Nick's dad is the Big Bad.
On a much more normal level, Mae and Jamie's parents didn't pay them much attention even when they were still together. Their dad dislikes Jamie for being gay and avoids Mae for being odd. Their mum, whom they live with, although she loves them, doesn't have much time for them.
Perky Goth - Mae has pink hair, wears corsets and bat jewelery, and almost always has a smile on her face.
Rotating Protagonist - Although all the books are told in third-person, the first is from Nick's POV, the second from Mae's and the third is from Sin's.
Running Gag - The number of times Nick shows up without his shirt is remarked on by several characters in the third book
Mae: Is this no-shirts festival day?
Alan: Every day with Nick is no-shirts festival day.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Sorcerers and demon dancers alike always take extreme care when summoning demons to never let them escape the summoning circle (or in the sorcerers' case, make sure the demon is constrained to a human body), because a demon freed upon the world would mean The End of the World as We Know It.
Ship Tease - YMMV, but take any two (or three or four...) characters and chances are there's plenty of shipping fuel.
Sociopathic Hero: Nick, who has a hard time understanding concepts like empathy and pity.
Spell My Name with an S: “Cyn” is actually a fairly common pet form of “Cynthia.” Sin spells her name the way she does because a few years ago someone misspelled it, playing into the stereotype of the sexy and alluring black woman, and Sin chose to take it and make it her own.
Thicker Than Water: One of the central themes of the trilogy. Nick would destroy the world for Alan, Alan would set a demon free on the world for Nick, Mae would commit murder to protect Jamie, Jamie would lose his hold on his sanity for Mae, and Sin would give up everything she’s ever known and loved for her sister and brother.
Thou Shalt Not Kill - Averted with just about everyone, magicians being the most probable target. In particular, Nick's default anger mode is Kill Something.
Throwing Off the Disability: Averted, and how. Nick actually heals Alan’s leg at one point for the duration of a single fight, before Alan makes him give his injury back because it’s a part of him. Nick also tries to do this for Jamie later after Jamie loses his hand, but Jamie’s not having any of it either.
Tomato in the Mirror: The end of book one reveals Nick is actually a demon, summoned into a fetal host while it was still in its mother's womb.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Jamie in The Demon's Covenant. It's actually all a part of Mae's master plan to trick everyone into believing magicians can control demons who mark them, so that Gerald lets himself be marked by Nick.
Translation Convention: One of the lines drawn in a summoning circle is designed to translate demons' silent speech into something humans can understand, and vice-versa.
Trojan Prisoner: In The Demon's Surrender, Nick pretends to be bound to Jamie's will so that Gerald will accept Nick's mark, continuing the act with Gerald until they're prepared to corner him and defeat his army.