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:: The Demon's Lexicon (on a Kindle!)

Not that it's any different from The Demon's Lexicon as a real book with pages and all. But now I can say I've read an entire book on a Kindle and talk knowledgeably and at great length about how Real Books Are Still Better. Which I think they are, in most cases, though if I were going on holiday I admit I'd rather take one Kindle loaded with sixteen books and my subscriptions to the New York Times and the Economist, rather than lugging 10 lbs of books around with me and having to find a news-stand for the paper every day. Two things struck me about the experience. First, the book seemed to go really fast (though that could just be because it's a YA book therefore a quick read for someone in their forties!). Second, good as the Kindle's technology and interface are, I found it harder to "get lost" in the story. Mainly I kept getting distracted by the little progress bar at the bottom that tells you what percentage done you are. That was weird. That never entered my mind before, in my entire reading life -- I guess you kind of notice as the bulk of the pages slowly moves from the right-hand side to the left-hand side, but only because the weight shifts and you have to hold it differently so it doesn't fall on the cat. It isn't something that stares you in the face, not to mention updates each time you turn a page (will this page get me to 75%? No...maybe the next one?)

I didn't like the percentage bar. I wanted it to go away. I resented it sitting there smugly measuring my progress. I get enough of that in my life. Reading isn't supposed to be measured in percent complete but in the joy and pleasure it gives, and the goal isn't to hit 100% but to enjoy the trip. (Will teachers start making assignments that way? "For tomorrow please read the first 10% of the book" ??)

So, 'nuff said about that. The book itself? Well, it's tough to say; perhaps the most concise summation is that her fanfic roots are still showing. The book suffers from a lot of the problems that fanfic -- even some of the good stuff -- does: logic problems, erratic behavior, thin characters, etc. None of the characters act their ages consistently, shifting from teenage to much more mature seemingly at random (or at authorial necessity?). On the other hand, the world she's created of demons and magicians has real potential, and she drops a couple of big twists -- one about halfway through, which I wasn't expecting, and then another right near the end, at which my eyebrows shot so far up they nearly fell off the top of my head -- which do serve to explain some of the oddities in the earlier part; the problem is when you come at it for the first time, it's a little hard to tell that those oddities are intentional and not just a result of the author not paying attention. I nearly gave it up about a third of the way in (at 39%, according to the Kindle's progress bar -- aha, there's a use for it!) As is too often the case with YA books (and fanfic), the characters are tad underdeveloped and the final confrontation is a bit of a fizzle, though still WAAAAAAY better than the pathetic limping finale that is Breaking Dawn LOL!! There are some wonderful bits that I wish could have been much expanded (the Goblin Market, for instance) and she has moments of really excellent wit and originality, so I have hopes that she'll improve as she goes along.

Oh, and the title doesn't seem to have any relationship to the story. That always bugs me.



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