Fancast/pimping: The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

So far, 2012 has been an excellent year for new fandom discoveries. Between Revenge and The Middleman and Teen Wolf, I already don't even know which way to swoon first, and that's not even taking into account all the great books.

So here's another book rec, because I am seriously bursting with love and I need to share: The Demon's Lexicon is a young-adult urban fantasy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan, whom some of you may remember from her Harry Potter fanfic days and the epic win of "Underwater Light", and whom the rest of you need to start reading, like, NOW.

The trilogy consists of three books: The Demon's Lexicon, The Demon's Covenant and The Demon's Surrender. I read the first one years ago when it came out and wasn't that impressed; then I reread it this year and fell violently in love. Go figure.

I suck at plot summaries, so here's what the blurb for the first book has to say about the premise:

"Sixteen-year-old Nick knows that demons are real. Magicians call up demons in exchange for their power. The demons can appear in any shape, show you marvels, promise you anything - until you invite them in and receive their mark.

What happens next?
First you get possessed.
Then you die.

Nick's been on the run his whole life, ever since his mother stole a charm from the most feared magician of them all, and the only person he trusts is his brother Alan. Alan's just been marked by a demon. Only Nick can save him, but to do so he must face the magicians - and kill them. The hunt is on, and Nick's going to discover things he never dreamed were out there."


So yeah. There's lots of drama and darkness and violence and running from things and running after things. Lots of saving each other's lives, and also risking each other's lives. And of course there has to be time for snarky one-liners while doing either. And for hitting on people. Or rejecting people. Or becoming friends with people you really, really didn't plan on being friends with.

On my personal scale of awesomeness, which measures everything in this particular genre against Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I should find a name for that - the Buffy Meter?), this gets about 90%. The writing is smart and fun. There's snarky dialogue and a clever sense of humour ("My life was going to flash before my eyes, but it decided to hide behind my eyes and quake with terror instead."). There's heartbreak. There are clever twists and the pacing is great. When Nick and Alan are forced to team up with another marked boy and his sister - who is as determined to save her brother as Nick is to save his - the obligatory teenage love tangles ensue, but there are no cliché turns here. This story does one of my favourite things really well: reversal of stereotype. The women are smart and strong and nobody is annoyingly perfect - on the contrary, everyone is fucked up in the most delicious ways, lol. There's a strong focus on unconventional friendships and family ties, especially sibling relationships, complete with twisted loyalties and betrayal and agonies of all sort. It is fabulous.

Above all, it has well-crafted, compelling characters. That are insanely shippy. I love every single one of them so much that I can't even pick a favourite, so instead, I've done a fancast and am just going to throw all of them at you. With the proviso that if/when you read the books, you are grudgingly allowed to imagine them completely differently ;) And if you're very keen on not being exposed to someone else's physical idea of characters, don't click on the cut or don't read on.

Thus endeth the rec.


(Basically this was my excuse to collect a bunch of pretty pictures of pretty people and flail embarrassingly about beloved characters at the same time. Everyone wins, especially me.)

((Also this is spoiler-free. I am not giving away any major plot points.))



Alan Ryves (my pick: Eddie Redmayne)

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Alan is a bookworm and a scholar. He's been on the run from magicians for most of his life and has been taking care of his little brother for about the same time. He'd defend him against anything. Despite being a geek and having a crippled leg, he's also pretty handy with weapons.

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SWORD.

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He's also one of the most caring people ever and attracts strays of all kinds like a bowlful of kibble, much to Nick's annoyance.

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And he's lovely. So lovely. I picked Eddie Redmayne because there is literally no other choice in the world. Geeky charming redhead, check. Hidden badassery, check. All the expressions, check.


Nicholas Ryves (my pick: Luke Pasqualino)

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Nick is Alan's very grumpy, very gloomy, very dangerous little brother ("little" only as in "younger" - he's taller, stronger and faster and a lot more scary). He basically doesn't give a fuck about anyone but Alan in the entire world.

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No, really. Not a single fuck. He likes knives. And swords. And guns. And foils. And anything else that will kill people.

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And he gets very cranky when Alan has to remind him that he can't just go around killing people.

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What can you do. He's had an unusual childhood.

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He's also shirtless a lot. A LOT a lot. It's a bonus.


Olivia Ryves (my pick: Rachel Weisz)

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Olivia is Alan and Nick's mother. She's a magician who has been very much insane ever since she escaped from the above-mentioned powerful magician she stole a charm from.

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She mostly hangs out in attic-type rooms, being crazy.

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I like to imagine this involves wandering around in her underwear. Because that's what insane people do, Y/Y?


Mae Crawford (my pick: Julia Augustin. YES, TOTALLY.)

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Mae comes to seek Alan and Nick's help when her brother gets a demon's mark on him. She is very smart, very protective of her little brother, and doesn't take shit from anybody. She has a wicked sense of humour and is a great friend, unless you piss her off. She loves to dance. She has pink hair. She can't deal with supernatural threats before she's had her coffee. She's basically awesome.

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I'm aware Julia Augustin is German, but this is my little fantasy land, in which she gets flown in and given extensive English courses until she can pull off a kick-ass British girl.

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IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN.


Jamie Crawford (my pick: Robbie Wadge)

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Jamie is Mae's younger brother. He's been marked for demon possession/a horrible death, which is not allowed to happen because he is incredibly sweet-natured and fun and a wonderful friend and everyone should have one.

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Yes, he really does that with his hair. Jamie is absolutely rubbish at protecting himself or anybody else but he contributes a much-needed witty running commentary about everyone's constantly impending death. His is the power of snark. He also babbles a lot when he's scared, or confused, or amused, or happy, or well, okay, at any given time. And he's fiercely devoted to his big sister.

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He may also have a few dark secrets tucked up his sleeve (not pictured: sleeve). Happily, being openly gay is not one of them.

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Robbie Wadge here is apparently a model. Again, I don't care. Get the boy some acting lessons and off we go. He is 150% Jamie.


Black Arthur (my pick: Richard Armitage)

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Black Arthur is the leader of the Obsidian Circle, the powerful group of magicians pursuing the Ryves family.

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He is essentially terrifying. In a hot way.

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Mrow.


Sin Davies (my pick: Lesley-Ann Brandt)

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Sin (real name: Cynthia) is a part of the mysterious Goblin Market, where you can shop for all your basic demon-protection, potions, charms, weapons and magical decorating needs. She's a dancer and conjures up demons for a living. It's a pretty dangerous method of bread-winning since demons are very keen on taking over your body and crushing your soul and destroying the world, but she has two baby siblings to support, so you know, it's a living.

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Besides, she can take care of herself pretty well.

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She's also a born performer which means she's both very good at lying and at noticing when she's being lied to. And she has wicked chemistry with absolutely everybody.

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I hear Lesley here has been on Spartacus as well, so *lures*


Gerald (my pick: James McAvoy)

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Gerald is one of the magicians of the Obsidian Circle.

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He has an agenda. It may be sinister or it may be decent or it may be neither. YOU DON'T KNOW. SHADES OF GREY FTW.

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I picked James McAvoy because JAMES MCAVOY. (My logic is flawless and compelling.)


Annabelle Crawford (my pick: Jane Horrocks)

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Annabelle is Mae and Jamie's workaholic mother. She prefers spending time with her job to spending time with her kids because she's one of those people who never really figured out how to be parents and is terribly uncomfortable with the whole thing. Naturally I adore her.

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Occasionally Mae or Jamie try to talk to her or bring one of their demon-hunting friends home for dinner. Awkwardness ensues.

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I don't know if she has a painting of herself in the huge mansion the Crawfords live in, but I very much approve of the idea.


Seb McFarlane (my pick: Nicholas Hoult)

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Seb is one of the bad boy crowd that Nick hangs out with at school. Mae is interested in him because she has awful taste in men.

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Like everyone else, though, Seb has a few secrets too. And a few good reasons for being an arse.

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He spends a lot of his time angsting and/or crying and/or failing spectacularly at things. Good times.

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Seb has green eyes so voila: GREEN EYES. (This has nothing to do with me just perving over the prettiness of Nicholas Hoult *shifty eyes*).


Celeste Drake (my pick: Liz May Brice)

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Celeste Drake is the leader of the Aventurine Circle, a rival circle of Black Arthur's group.

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She's pretty terrifying as well. I think it's like a leadership requirement for magicians.

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Which made this choice easy, because Liz May Brice can do terrifying very, very well. She was awe-inspiring in Children of Earth.


Helen (my pick: Julia Davis)

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Helen is one of Celeste's magicians and a kick-ass sword fighter.

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She has kind of a minor role but she leaves a lasting impression. Or maybe I just have a sword fetish. It's entirely possible.


That's it! There are more characters, of course, including several wonderfully creepy demons (whom I don't imagine as human, however, hence no casting picks) plus assorted parents and Goblin Market folk and magicians, but I'll stop here. Just read the books, I'm begging you. They're my biggest book love since The Hunger Games and I need people to flail with!

Comments

*paws pretty pretty cast*

I hate to say, this makes me want to say "screw the books, I'll just wait for the movie." Which then makes me really, really sad because (1) I do want to read the books (and yes, I will probably end up buying these to support Maya and (2) this movie probably won't get made, at least not with this supremely awesome cast. Which begs the question: Why oh why are you not a casting director?!!!

I'm not surprised by your pick for the lead role (Eddie has to make an appearance in your fancasting!) but I was by your second choice, mainly because I never thought Luke Pasqualino was a very strong actor. I mean, I loved him as Freddie, but that role was just kind of broiling emotion iirc. But your description of someone who's angry all the time? Yeah, he could do that, and do it well.

And then there is Rachel Weisz, who needs to be in LOTS more movies. I love when she has that hint of madness too (you STILL have to see The Brothers Bloom omg) and I can see her pulling that, and the underwear, off. Not literally. Wait, I meant yes, literally. IDEK.

You put Richard Armitage and Liz May Brice and James McAvoy in there just to mess with my head, didn't you? I, um, do have some work to do today... or I did... I don't know where it's gone.

Finally, I am proud to note that Nick Hoult is of legal age now so my perving over him is COMPLETELY LEGAL. Obviously this is because he's gotten older and I haven't. Obviously.

Right. This has been a very silly comment for a very pretty cast. Now who do we need to talk to to get this movie made?
This is fascinating, because you are the second person to express scepticism re: Luke Pasqualino (Alsha did too). For the record, I pretty much agree about the lack of strong acting chops, not having seen him in anything but Skins; but it's actually part of why I think he could pull this off. The role calls for someone who's a little stiff and obviously uncomfortable with feelings-you-can-feel. Nick is very emotionally stunted for various reasons, and very dark (though self-proclaimedly fully capable of the amazing power of sarcasm). Dark of course takes acting chops as well. But I do think it could work precisely *because* Luke's limited as an actor.

Now who do we need to talk to to get this movie made?

Hahahah, IDEK. Why don't we have money and our own movie studio??

I will admit I did a TINY evil cackle when I thought of James McAvoy. A tiny tiny one.

Rachel Weisz is not working enough lately! What is she up to? Make the woman earn her cookies! *paws*

Eddie, on the other hand, has seemingly been in Anything, Ever, lol. I did seriously scroll through bunches of other redheads. I almost went with Simon Woods. But it's all useless in the end, because Eddie's the only one who's got that heart-melting smile and that dratted boyish sincerity.

But yes, you must buy the books so Maya can buy pretty things and unicorn-shaped cereal or whatever else she has for breakfast. The girl is entirely too talented *shakes good-natured stick in her general direction*
bleh, html fail. DU HAST NICHTS GESEHEN! *magic-handwaves*
(PS: If he were a few years younger, I'd have seriously considered putting Igor for Nick, lol. His shades of fury are so varied and lovely and fearsome. However, he's getting to be older than dirt, so...)
I'm not sure I'll read the books (too many on my list already), but I'd surely watch that movie!
*repeats all of above comments about the pretty*
I'm not sure I'll read the books (too many on my list already)

Not an excuse! There's no such thing as too many books! *surreptitiously moves a few further down your list, slips these in near the top*

Besides, books are way better than movies. They create movies in your mind. And it may be a while until I have enough power to get the movie made :D
And another three books go on my endlessly - partly virtual, partly real - growing book pile. I need at least a month off from work to keep up with all the shiny recs that I get from you alone, not to mention the other apparently good stuff that friends and colleagues shove at me all the time.

Should a reading vacation not be included in some basic human rights charter? I think our world could be vastly improved by that!

Anyway, I'm going to order the books, and read them asap, and know already how much I'll regret that this movie will probably never be made.

Damn, where is that goldmine/oil spring/pirate's chest when you need one? :CCCC
YAY!!!! \o/

For what it's worth, they're a pretty short read, about the same commitment as the Hunger Games trilogy. And those critics who need to compare everything to something else have been comparing this to Supernatural and Twilight (it really, really isn't like either, lol), so who knows, movies might even happen!

But yeah, I agree with you, we need to get paid for reading all the books and watching all the shows. Work takes up way too much time!
I'M SO IN. *hunts down the books*
Wheeeeeeeeeee!! I'll be sitting on Goodreads, waiting to spazz at people :D
This woman wrote some kickass Harry Potter fic. I meant to start reading this after she took all of it down but never really got around to it. But now you've reminded me! So thank you! I'm definitely going to check it out now.
YAY. DOOOOOOOOOOOOO EEEEEEEEEEEEEET. Her books have her trademark style that made her HP fic so endearing - they're moving and smart and have good plot, but almost most importantly, they are SO FUNNY. I could srsly just read about her characters sitting in a room insulting each other wittily all day long.

November 2016

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